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Pickle Me This

April 19, 2010

100 Books

Today I finished reading Brown Dwarf by K.D. Miller (glowing review to follow!), which was the 100th book I’ve read since Harriet was born last May 26. The last book I read before she was born was The Children’s Book by AS Byatt, and the first one I read after was A Big Storm Knocked It Over by Laurie Colwin (which was the best, best, best book ever to read after having a baby). Also, because my computer died last year in June on my birthday, I lost my cherished list of Books Read Since 2006, so the new list starts with the Laurie Colwin, and it seems like these are the only books I’ve read ever.

Naps are my precious, precious reading time, curled up in my slanket with a cup of tea. The naps tend to be forty minutes exactly, twice a day, but I make the most of them, and for those forty minutes twice a day, my entire life feels pretty indulgent. Back when Harriet napped exclusively on my chest (and when did this end? I can’t remember. The last 100 books have been a blur), I got a lot more reading done because I was immobile and she slept for up to two hours, but the freedom of her crib naps is definitely preferable.

I’ve been surprised to find that hardcovers are easier to read than paperbacks– mainly because I have to hold the paperbacks, and this annoys Harriet when she’s breastfeeding, but hardcovers can be laid down on the couch beside me and stay open, and Harriet is none the wiser. The problem with hardcovers occurs, however, when I’m breastfeeding lying down and I drop one on her head. Though I don’t really breastfeed all that much these days (and when did this happen? How can one thing fade into another so subtly?) so soon this will cease to matter. Though paperbacks will continue to be easier to stuff into the diaper bag…

I’ve been much harder on the books that I’ve read, perhaps because my time is more limited, or because I’m in a surly mood more often than I used to be. Or else, there has just been a proliferation of really shitty books published since May 26, but I’m not convinced that’s the case.

I miss reading in bed. Some Saturdays, you’d find me there until noon. I still read in bed in the evenings, but never for very long because I go to bed too late, trying to stuff an impossible number of things into my evenings. The odd time I get a good chunk of reading-in-bed in, however, I am really profoundly grateful.

Anyway, this is just a post to reassure my former self that everything is really going to be fine. A day can be stretched wide enough to accommodate many things, and books are as portable as babies are. Also, that the books discovered through and with babies open one’s eyes exponentially to the magic of reading, and how amazing it is when you start to see the baby falling in love with reading too.

2 thoughts on “100 Books”

  1. Jess Flynn says:

    Kerry
    I stumbled upon your blog through searching for Laurie Colwin references. Haven’t read A Big Storm Knocked It Over, but will, on your recommendation. I love her novel Family Happiness & re-read it every year. I think you are amazing to have retained reading while Harriett is so new – found that a struggle, so well done. Have you read the French writer Anna Gavalda? She has a great book of short stories called ‘I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere’ – she has a distinctive voice. When Harriett is 3 & you are well out of the woods & fuzz of new motherhood that is a fantastic book called ‘a life’s work – on becoming a mother’ by an amazing English writer called Rachel Cusk.
    Thank you for your blogg – I love the door imagery. Best luck with all you do. Jess

    1. Kerry says:

      Thanks for that, Jess. Will check out Anna Gavalda– I’ve never heard of her. I do love everything Laurie Colwin has ever written– her stories are complex but seem so simple. And I have read A Life’s Work– Rachel Cusk is amazing. And I’ve just used a lot of m-dashes…

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