Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Benefit of Broken Furniture

So, I'm back on my favorite topic: reading.

A couple of weeks ago, my eight year old futon came apart. The end result has been a de- and reconstruction project involving a hand saw, a cordless drill, wood glue, trips to Home Depot, and the semi-permanent repose of the futon bolster on the floor in my dining room/kitchen space.

In lieu of having my futon to recline on as I channel surf, I've dragged my rocking chair and a Chinese birthing chair into the t.v./laundry/storage room. Neither of these chairs are designed for lounging, so my time in front of the t.v. has been drastically curtailed and I find myself relaxing on my super comfy couch with a book.

This has been a good thing. I've watched less t.v. and managed to finish more books within a shorter time period than I have in quite a while. Now I'm torn: should I finish fixing the futon or should I trash it? If I fix it, my t.v. enabling furniture will be back and beckoning. If I don't fix it, I'll spend more time reading but will have even less seating to offer to friends and visitors.

But back to the reading. Here's what I've read and what I have in my reading pile:
  • The Devil's Disciples: Hitler's Inner Circle (Anthony Read, 2003.) A look at the players surrounding Hitler during the Nazi Regime and their slavish devotion to Hitler, as well as their infighting, territorialism, and posturing to be chosen as Hitler's right hand and eventual successor. A good compendium to William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
  • My Sister's Keeper (Jodi Picoult, 2004.) A story about two sisters--one diagnosed with cancer, the other born to provide the first with life saving blood, cells, and organs. As the dust jacket says, "a provacative novel that raises some important ethical issues...[about the] struggle for survival at all human costs...[with] a stunning moral parable for all time."
  • The Historian (Elizabeth Kostova, 2005.) This is the hot book of the summer. It's been compared to The DaVinci Code in terms of thrills and excitement. I'm almost done with this one and all I have to say is, the ending better be pretty spectacular or I'm going to be bitter. It's a bit lengthy and academic with spartan moments of melodrama, otherwise, I'm not quite sure what the point is.
  • The 9/11 Commission Report (9/11 Commission, 2003.) I've been plowing through this book since last summer and haven't been able to finish it; not because it's boring, but because it's so loaded.
  • How to Hug a Porcupine: Dealing with Toxic and Difficult to Love Personalities (John Lewis Lund, 1999.) I bought this book by accident thinking the author was the same guy who wrote You Don't Have to Make Everything All Better (Gary & Joy Lundberg, 1995.) Lund, Lundberg... So I was off by four letters in the last name. Either way, it's been an enlightening read into toxic personalities and how there are some people in the world who--no matter what you do--will never be pleased or happy. I'm reading this one as part of my own personal journey to self understanding and awareness, but also to try to figure out how to relate better to my own father.
  • Why Do We Recycle? Markets, Values, and Public Policy (Frank Ackerman, 1997.) I just started reading this one for work. I'll get back to you on it.

That's what I'm currently reading. I'm also getting ready to start Truman (David McCullough, 1992); Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the U.S. Miltary (Gary Shilts, 1993); Until I Find You (John Irving, 2005); and Losing Battles (Eudora Welty, 1970.) We'll see how far I get. If I don't fix my futon, I should be done by the end of September, I would think...

Happy reading!

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