What spare time?

Words are more demanding than photographs
but they carry the possibility of propotionally greater rewards.

David Praill, Return to the Desert

I really don’t have very much time to myself. But I do take some time for myself. Which is why so many things don’t get done around here. But that’s another day’s rant.

When I take time for myself, it’s mostly for reading, or sometimes to catch up on my self-professed obsession interest in a certain daytime soap opera. Which I only watch every few days, and then usually during nursing, or while in a semi-conscious state of autopilot that comes with tending to babies and preschoolers.

What I really love to do is read. And read I do. I just can’t help myself. Right now, I have a major interest in all things Israel for some reason. And Africa. I recently finished reading Laurens Van Der Post’s book Venture to the Interior, and could hardly get enough. In beautiful prose, a master storyteller if you ask me, he talks of his time walking through parts of colonial Africa.  It made me want to turn back the time and go there to witness some of what he recounted. But that Africa no longer exists. The Africa we see in the news today is not a place that pulls me toward it.

Although, I have to say that Alexander McCall Smith manages to get some of that pull back in his books The Nr. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. He is pure pleasure to read, and makes me want to immediately book a trip to Botswana.

But back to Israel. The guy I’m currently reading is David Praill, and he talks about his Return to the Desert in similar context as Van der Post. Praill documented his journey from Mount Hermon to Mount Sinai, which he walked (!), which I find very, very interesting. I mean, what does one see when one walks instead of drives, or flies? So much more. Walking lets one reflect, to really see things, how nature behaves and interacts. Praill is an English clergyman who makes a pilgrimage across the Holy Land in the not too distant past. Actually, rather recently. (The book was published in 1995) And just reading his thoughts answers so many questions I have about all things Israel, from the jewish to the christian to the cultural and political, even geographical questions I’ve asked and never truly found satisfying answers to. And I’ve only just begun the book!

But this isn’t a post about book reviews. This post is a reminder to myself about all the other books I want to read. Things I have come across reading bits of newspaper, magazine, or other books. I got into the habit of making notes when I read, but I’m always afraid that I’ll lose my notebook. Or sticky note, or whatever other fragment of paper I found to write things on. So without further ado, here is one non-comprehensive list from my notes:

The last days of Pompeii, by Lord Lytton (can’t remember where I saw this)
Sisters in the Wilderness, by Charlotte Gray (this one is about Canadian pioneers)
The White Guy: a field guide, by Stephen Hunt (saw this in the National Post which did a book exerpt, and laughed out loud.)
Another thing to fall, by Laura Lippman (mystery, by an author I like, with a female PI I like, so what the heck)

So. Even though I have some taped soap opera waiting for me to watch, and both kids are asleep, and the dishes and laundry are mostly done, I cannot wait to head to bed where I can continue my book. Who knows what else I’ll learn tonight.

Happy reading! 

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