I’ve come to notice that I’m never just reading one book–in fact, there are usually about three I’m reading at once. I don’t know if it’s a terrible habit or just another way of doing things, but I’m here today to share with you the three books that are currently in my book bag.
- The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant
- Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
- The Holden Age of Hollywood by Phil Brody
Now, I’m not here to give these books a review, but I think it’s only fair if I share what keeps me reading them. First up, The Golden Spruce. Okay, now listen carefully: this book is amazing. It takes you on a journey, weaving together pieces of history so compelling it’s hard to believe it isn’t fiction. My favorite element about it, though, is the writing. Vaillant describes nature, which this book definitely focuses on, in a way which gives every tree, rock, and animal an incredible amount of agency. It brings nature to life, and this very thing is what brings out my own passion in writing. Few things compare to the magnitude of nature, and the finally finding a writer who manages to convey this very fact about life leaves me very, very excited. I’m almost done with this one, and don’t want it to end.
I have to admit, this isn’t my first, second, or even third time reading Siddhartha. The melodic movement of Hesse’s prose soothes me whenever I open it up, particularly on my more tiring days. There is just something about the context of Buddhism, which I actually studied in school, that brings me peace. This book also brings out the strength of nature, and how we’re all just a part of it. Clearly an old time favorite.
Now The Holden Age of Hollywood, I have some mixed feelings about. The subject of the novel, writing in Hollywood (not to mention the tongue in cheek mention of Holden–Caulfield, I presumed) is what enticed me to grab it off the shelf. As I started it, I got the feeling it was Brody’s first novel, and after flipping to the bio, knew I was right. Some of the tropes just felt a little obvious to me. But on the flip side of that, about three lines in, I was captured. The writing is transportive, and the language so descriptive that it really only takes a sentence or two for you to be right back in the thick of it. I’ll let y’all know what I think when I’m done, but if it’s the writing that keeps me going, I’m going to remain optimistic.
What are you folks reading today? Anything good? Anything great?