words on a page

November 13, 2009

remedial reading
i love to read. i pretty much always have: when i was little, i remember lying in my bed with a carolyn haywood book from the school library, devouring the words and comforted by the fact that i had a stack of 4 or 5 others on the floor by the bed to move onto when the current one was over.

i hate when people brag about how early they learned to read, but — well, whatever. i was definitely one of those kids. i actually don’t remember learning at all, just being very annoyed to be going through phonics in the first grade when i was already immersing myself in ms. haywood and her friends on a nightly basis.

by the second grade i moved onto babysitters club books [okay, just lost 10 minutes of my life reading that wikipedia entry — AMAZING how that BSC trivia sticks in your mind! i know it way better than any metabolic pathway i’ve ever studied . . .]. stacey, my favorite character, was a type 1 diabetic (i don’t think kids HAD type 2 back then!).

in this gem of a tome, stacey eats a bunch of candy and winds up in DKA. or something like that. and now i’m going to be a pediatric endocrinologist. coincidence?? hmm . . .

ANYWAY. i wish i could say that i quickly left the trashy tween paperbacks behind, moving onto tolstoy and dostoyevsky, but that would be a big fat lie. no, i remained an avid fan of the baby-sitter’s club/sweet valley high/gymnasts series books (AHH! anyone else read those?) for QUITE some time. sure, i appreciated the occasional judy blume or paula danziger novel, but what i really loved was the repetitive trash of a nice, juicy series.

by the time high school hit, my zest for reading kind of petered out. of course, i read what was required of me, even liking a lot of it. catcher in the rye, the great gatsby, and (!) zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance were probably my 3 high school favorites. the only non-school book of any sort of quality that i remember really loving was the bell jar, which fit with the ‘ohhhh i’m so edgy’ teenage angst of the 90s quite nicely. but with music/cheerleading/the latest nail color shades/boys to worry about, reading wasn’t at the top of my activity list.

even in college, i was pretty much the same way. i read for class (and even took several english courses voluntarily), but didn’t really pick up books to read for fun. it wasn’t until recently that i discovered that my old hobby of picking up a book and disappearing under the covers into the words could be a wonderful, rejuvenating break from the bright and fast-paced world we all otherwise occupy.

i’m still not a prolific reader by any means. this chick is reading 100 books in 2009. i will be lucky if i finish 6! so far this year, my reading list has consisted of:

galic and sapphires, by ruch reichl. this was a gift from siobhan and i loved reading about this cheeky food critic’s experiences working for the new york times.

after dark by haruki murakami. this is one of his newer novels, and i found it sexy and interesting but a little too minimal for my taste.

kafka on the shore, by haruki murakami. OH i loved this! this and a wind-up bird chronicle vie for the title of my-favorite-murakami-book-EVER. i love his characters, his bizarre story lines filled with totally mundane — but beautiful — imagery, and his opportunistic sense of fantasy. definitely my favorite book of the year.

the geography of bliss: one grump’s search for the happiest places in the world by NPR correspondent eric wiener. i enjoyed reading this book because i’m interested in learning about the different lifestyles and mindsets in other countries, particularly as they relate to big life choices and attitudes about happiness. i also loved getting to hear more about one of my obsessions which is ICELAND (don’t ask why, because i don’t know). i didn’t feel like this book had any big statement or fascinating conclusion, and the author annoyed me at times, but i still had fun reading for the above reasons.

a wild sheep chase by (yes again) haruki murakami. that’s 60% murakami for the year thus far, and i think that ratio is about right for me! i liked this novel more than after dark, but not QUITE as much as kafka — it was almost too weird/confusing, especially by the end. but it did have the essential murakami elements of a ‘normal’ main character, delicious japanese imagery, and a deserted cabin adventure.

i’m in the process of selecting my next (and likely last!) tome for 2009. will it be more murakami, or something totally different? even though i usually like to get AWAY from work with what i’m reading, i’m actually considering a nonfiction book about the ER life called something for the pain because it’s been recommended to me multiple times (first by martinidad, who worked with the author back in the day). i think i might find it comforting/interesting as i finish up my rotation!

anyone else have any recommendations? also, do you buy your books or get them from the library? i tend to buy. there is something super-enticing about a smooth, untouched paperback that i just love! plus, it often takes me way more than the alloted 3 (or 6, with renewal) weeks to get through a book and i don’t like the pressure. i know this isn’t the most eco-friendly, but i enjoy passing books onto friends AND collecting those that i love (ie, expanding my home murakami collection).

operation break
my house is a mess and i didn’t cook again yesterday! i suppose these can be considered successes in my quest for a bit of a respite from life’s normal demands. i did manage to eke out a (terrible) 5 miles on the treadmill. i really hope my runs start to feel normal again soon, or this whole marathon thing might not work out so well.



workout: 5 miles @ 9:13/mi, 0.5% incline on the treadmill. felt much faster and much harder than it should have. but runner’s world was a good distraction.

doin’ time: nope — i got to eat for free at an applicant dinner! we went to city beverage in durham. it was really fun, but food-wise i think that place is meh. i told our applicants not to judge us by the cuisine because there are many much better options in the area! hopefully it didn’t come off as horribly food-snobbish. unfortunately, no pictures — i definitely wasn’t about to start talking about the blog to everyone. although it’s probably the most honest picture of what our residency program is like that you can get . . .

reading: nada. my brain is resting.


  • Reply haya March 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    oh man. i loved all those series as a kid. especially the babysitter&#39s club and gymnasts. (and sweet valley and nancy drew too i guess)
    my mom was a teacher and her class was part of the scholastic book club, so ordering these books was pretty cheap.

  • Reply Anonymous March 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    whoa! blast from the past! i&#39ve always loved reading too. to the point where i&#39d rather have skipped recess in elementary school so i could read!

    my favorite books at the moment are those by michael kortya, michael crichton, lee childs another fast paced thriller books

  • Reply Susan March 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    My parents still aren&#39t sure if I read my first book, or if I just memorized all the words and page turns, therefore giving the illusion that I could read. 🙂

    I was a crazy avid reader until about junior high…I would read ANYTHING I could find in the library, which says a lot since we had a huge library. I somehow never got into the BSC, however. I feel like I missed out, haha.

    I&#39m wayyyy too cheap and usually only get books through the library, but worked well when I lived in Chicago. My local library was ranked like the top ten in the country for libraries (what an odd ranking!), and they had pretty much any book/magazine/etc you could imagine. Now my puny local library leaves much to be desired. I may have to start buying books again. Or borrowing them! That&#39s the best way to get good books…from other people who have recommendations.

  • Reply cara March 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    Sarah – I totally loved BSC AND The Gymnasts!!! I remember being about 11 and having to tell my grandmother, "Um, I don&#39t read these BSC books anymore. They&#39re not hard enough…"

  • Reply Chelsea March 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    I read all the Babysitters Club books when I was a kid. Great stuff. My two favorite books of late were The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I definitely check books out from the library. Our library has a great selection, and it&#39s so so so much cheaper.

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