Tag Archives: literature

Literary Diet: How Do You Measure Up?

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Recently, I’ve had ample opportunity to consider my reading habits because my laptop committed hari kari and our desktop caught the swine flu or some such virus.

I was feeling a bit Amish without internet or television–all that was missing was a barn-raising, a horse and buggy in the driveway, and some pastel dresses and bonnets in my closet.

With so much time on my hands, I started thinking about the genres of literature I read.  My literary diet is varied, but does it measure up to the USDA’s ubiquitous Food Pyramid (in MY day is was a circle!)?

Behold,  The Food Pyramid!


Now, the fun part–assigning literary genres to correspond to the pyramid levels.  This is just for fun so please don’t get your knickers in a twist at my genre placement.

  • Bread and Grains = classic literature, poetry, drama, contemporary prose
  • Veggies = nonfiction, non-celebrity bios and memoirs
  • Fruits = Sci-Fi, Fantasy, graphic novels, et al
  • Meat = historical fiction, detective fiction, women’s fiction
  • Dairy = chick-lit, YA, romance
  • Sweets = celebrity bios/tell-alls, trashy novels

During the school year, a good chunk of my reading time is spent on Bread and Grains–teaching the classics.  On weekends, I venture into Veggies and Dairy.  I do enjoy some of the genres in the Meat category but am sorry to say that I have little to no experience in the Fruits.  As for Sweets?  Well, summertime is the PERFECT time for some light and fluffy reads!

So, why don’t you weigh in and tell me all about your literary diet.  Are you a vegetarian, vegan, or carnivore?  Did I miss your favorite genre?

Blinded By the (Reading) Light

Recently, my husband was flipping through a catalog and came across a clever gadget for the bookworm in the family: a “Book Torch”.  The torch, a reading light that clips onto a book cover, was touted as a lamp that provides ample wattage for nighttime reading without disturbing anyone in the vicinity.  All this for the bargain price of $29.98, plus shipping and handling.


Based on the image that accompanied the copy, I thought the book light could, in a pinch, double as a beacon for ships trying to pilot into a foggy harbor from rough waters.

If only Captain Smith would have had this handy book light on the Titanic’s maiden voyage, disaster could have been averted and countless lives saved.  To my untrained eye, the book torch looks like it’s part of the position lights on a taxiing 747. 

Can these book lights really be so effective?  I thought the whole point of them is to allow your bed partner to slumber on without interruption while you do your nighttime reading.  If I fired this sucker up after crawling into bed, I’d not only singe my husband’s retinas, but most probably blind any and all neighbors in a 2-mile radius.

They say it’s your birthday…

shakesbdayToday, April 23rd,  is  recognized as William Shakespeare’s birthday.  Baptismal records at Holy Trinity parish church in Stratford show an entry on April 26, 1564 and it is generally accepted that he was born three days prior.

In honor of William’s 445th birthday, I’d like to know how many of his 37 plays and/or 154 sonnets you’ve actually read.  While in college, I had an opportunity to study his works for three semesters with a terrific professor.  As a result, I navigated about one-third of the first folio.  

Despite what my students think, I don’t often curl up in a leather club chair near the hearth with a dusty tome of Shakespeare’s works–nor does my husband join me, donning a smoking jacket, deerstalker cap, and pipe.  The plays were written to be performed and as much as I enjoy reading them, they really come alive on the stage. 

So, what Shakespeare have you read?  Did you leave him safely behind you after school or do you check in with him every once in a while?  Have you seen any of the plays performed live?  I’ve seen a few performances at Shakespeare in the Park–free summer performances in Central Park–and a few of the plays at other theaters.

Turtle or Hare: How does your reading speed compare?

Over the weekend, I bounced from book blog to book blog, cheering on participants in the read-a-thon.  As I went along, I was struck by how fast people were chewing up the pages. 

To be honest, I thought I was a quick reader.  My parents always commented on my reading habits and  I can polish off a book in a day or two and still remember it a few weeks down the road.  After reading some of the updates from read-a-thon participants, I began to have my doubts.  Some bloggers were finishing two or three books in a 24-hour period.

During a normal week (including a weekend), I can get through two or three books. 

Do people who read five and six books a week ever sleep?  Are their laundry hampers spewing forth dirty clothes that threaten to overrun the house?  Do they serve frozen pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?  How can they manage to get everything done and still have time to zip through War and Peace and five other tomes in seven days? 

How many books do you read in a typical week? 

Share the trade secret, friend;  I want to be a reading savant too!