Last week I got together with some guys who are book sellers/publishers. In our meeting one of the guys gave me his card — his title was “Baron of Books.” He sheepishly explained that the owner let them choose their own titles. I thought it was great. So, I thought about titling this post “queen of reading,” which would be a title I could savor — until someone came along and did the “off with her head” bit. Abby and I have been talking a lot about the quality/quantity divide — she reads voraciously, almost as much as I did (and still try to when life doesn’t interfere) — but she is slamming into the wall of educational/parental expectations. She needs certain books for accelerated reader, certain titles the librarian thinks that she shouldn’t miss and some that I become “book pusher” about. So, what’s a kid to do? That’s what we’re trying to figure out — I’ve tried to explain my system — which totally baffles her. I have lists of books — non-fiction about the research I’m doing, non-fiction about really interesting things I don’t know about, classics/important books that I missed, and candy books for fun and relaxation. Some I end up hating — some, however, become part of my definitions. For example, I just finished “Atonement.” McEwan is someone that’s been on my list for ages, but I haven’t gotten around to him — so I dipped into “Atonement,” knowing that there would be lots of buzz because of the movie. It was like the first time I read Faulkner, but in an understated British kind of way. None of the characters are particularly likable, yet they inhabit the page so fully that you can’t imagine not knowing them. I followed that with a bracing dose of non-fic “The Black Swan” by Nassim Taleb. Books like these are why I’ve never really needed hallucinogens — OMG, talk about mind-blowing. Taleb, a professor — looks at logic from the perspective of the improbable. The basic premise is that for eons we talked of a black swan in the same vein as the pink elephant — an impossibility of epic proportions. But, logic had to be re-examined when “black swans” were discovered in Australia. In other words, the parameters of our certainties can’t be so well-defined. History can only be defined with some over-weening progression from the view of hindsight. It doesn’t really happen that way. Both books were from my local library — and both will eventually inhabit my shelves. Then, of course, I read a candy book in the bodice-ripper vein — in my defense, it was Christmas-y. Abby has trouble with my differing genres. She also can’t imagine reading a book that you have to push through to the end.  I don’t have the heart to mention that not all books she’s assigned will be a joy and delight. For now, I’ve asked that she give a book 50 pages or at least 3 good chapters to see if it strikes her interest.  I sometimes get annoyed at myself for pushing her towards the test books — because ultimately you find something to learn in everything you read — even if it’s how NEVER, EVER to write that particular way. She (and I) will find our way through because ultimately there are plenty of books out there to choose from and we will dip into as many as we can! Music to read with: Rilo Kiley, REM, and Rachmaninoff A book is a version of the world. If you do not like it, ignore it; or offer your own version in return.  –> Salman Rushdie Take care,Aly 

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