Reading Notes, Late April

April 27, 2009 @ 8:23 pm | Filed under: Books

Don’t you wish reading and sleeping could be two completely interchangeable activities as far as our bodies’ well-being is concerned? If, instead of sleeping for six or seven hours, you could sleep for three hours and read for four, and be just as refreshed and healthy as if you’d slept all night?

That’d be cool.

Scott brought me home another winner from the library on Saturday, increasing my so-many-books-so-little-time torment. I’m still reading Gilead, ever so slowly, savoring the syllables, the quiet depths. But now I’m also reading—gulping—Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis. This fascinating and rather terrifying work of nonfiction was written by a grad-school classmate of mine, Rowan Jacobsen. I think Jane will want to read it next. I’m loving Rowan’s conversational-but-smart prose. I’m chewing my nails off over the disappearance of the bees. Shortly after I started the book, I told Scott: “I expected this book to alarm me. I didn’t know it would scare the pants off me. By page two.”

Lots of quotes and thoughts to come, I’m sure. This is the kind of book that sticks with you (no honey puns intended).

I also had to squeeze in another Agatha Christie, at Jane’s request. She wanted to discuss something about the book’s conclusion, a plot point which was bugging her. Elephants Can Remember was one of Christie’s later books, I believe—at least, it takes place in the 1970s. A Poirot mystery, but not one of her best. And Jane’s question? Had to do with a massive flaw in the plot, one which I didn’t notice until she pointed it out. That’s my girl.


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Comments

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  1. I am really looking forward to when my Rose and I read the same book independently and discuss it the way you and Jane do. What a great friendship!

    I’ve heard a little about the bee problem, I must see if I can find that book.

    You’re right about the reading/sleeping thing. Way cool. Especially for those of us who can’t get to sleep without reading, no matter what hour we go to bed.

  2. I really want to read this. Did you know that Marianne is raising bees now?

  3. Re: Elephants — I’m on an AC kick right now, and I just reread that a couple months ago – what was Jane’s complaint? Every so often I’ll find clues she left unexplained, or something that doesn’t make sense. Care to share?

  4. Elephants Can Remember has a lot of mistakes, due to Christie’s age and health at the time (she was 82). It is my least favorite of her books, but it is a good look at how she felt about being a writer. Ariadne Oliver was her humorous alter-ego and Christie used her to express some of her complaints (in Mrs. McGinty’s Dead, she uses Oliver to express her displeasure at playwrights who adapt her books). Christie was shy and hated gatherings, especially literary ones. So I enjoy portions of Elephants because it gives us a peek into Christie’s feelings.
    I guess I was about your Jane’s age when I first started reading Christie books and I still reread them a great deal. Jane might enjoy her autobiography. And Sleeping Murder is a VERY good Miss Marple mystery. I just reread The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and am starting Towards Zero. But like you, I have a huge to be read pile!

  5. Yes, that would be AWESOME. Sometimes I feel like reading is a little bit like sleeping. Or like astral projection. I’ve always wanted to do that too. Maybe we need to develop sleep-reading — kind of like directed dreaming. Hmm. Would probably necessitate a nanotech chip or something. I’m up for testing it.

  6. So, you’re going to make us read the book and figure out the fault in the plot?? Do tell, do tell–we love spoilers! 🙂

  7. Oh God yes, that’d be cool. Maybe you could get the Kindle hooked right into your brain while you’re sleeping?

  8. […] library, but I consider my restraint admirable since I wanted at least five more.  Melissa Wiley recently wrote about how nice it would be if we could replace part of a night’s sleep with reading and feel […]

  9. […] you know, I’ve had bees on my mind for weeks. I keep talking about Fruitless Fall, the book about bee colony collapse written by my former grad-school classmate, Rowan […]

  10. […] Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis by Rowan Jacobsen. Posts here and here. […]