Saturday, May 21, 2011

Some reading should be sipped slowly.

Mornings on the lake. Cool, cloudy.
Geese and ducks glide slowly.
 I stand at my deck and sip my third cup.
 It's a fine morning.
Soon, I will wrap myself with a warm blanket and sit down to read:

Home, by Marilynne Robinson.

The book traps you in its tiny spaces. I'm straining  to hear and see the three people in this house.  The conversations are slow, measured. Nobody wants to make a mistake. Nobody wants to hurt anyone.  The three of them are together under one roof perhaps for the last time.  Dark rooms and hesitant movements  prevail.

I fear what will happen.
I read four, six pages and I stop.
I decide tamilies are hard to know. And it all feels confusing and oppressive. It digs into our conscience, our sense of right and wrong.

I confessed to another blogger that I couldn't get through this book. It was not the book's fault. I forgot that some things are too cold to handle with bare hands. This is one of them.

Redemption takes time, I tell myself. It is measured in small sips, small apologies, simple acknowledgements.

Yes, some reading should be sipped slowly.


  1. I'm halfway through the book. And, I'm in awe at the artistry. I know this is one book that won't become a film right away.
    What have you read slowly?

  2. What a wonderful gift this morning - the image of you sipping coffee on the deck! I have not read 'Home' ... I am just beginning 'Hotel At The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet' ... it's cool and damp in Bend this morning.

  3. It took me forever to get through the Informant. But I did like it.

  4. I love the way you describe the book, Rosaria. Digging into our conscience is exactly what Marylynne Robinson does best (I haven't read this one--yet--but I loved Gilead and count Housekeeping among my all-time faves). Sip as slowly as you wish...
    I envy your ritual.

  5. wonderful, rosaria. somehow i feel like i'm in your home with you - the stream of consciousness of this i suppose. and i love this photo of you. this was a photo you used previously as a profile pic?

    i read Light Years by James Salter slowly, but then i read everything slowly, but there was a bruise about it that i was unsure i wanted to push on. and his language was just downright divine, i wanted to hold it in my mouth like an old prune - something someone older and wiser might say, erin, taste, even though i might be fearful. it was worth it. the light (and lack of light) of the book stays with me still.


  6. Thanks, ds and Erin.
    I have not heard of James Salter, and I am glad for this suggestion, Erin.
    Yes, this was my original profile picture for sixtyfivewhatnow, my official picture at that age, though I don't think I changed much.
    If you are not familiar with the blog of a cuban in london, you would like the way he presents books every Sunday and relates them to his life in such intimate ways that only a blogger can.

    Funny how we affect each other.

  7. Rosaria, I am very taken with your metaphor for reading - and the imagery of your surroundings. It's a delight to come across a writer who, in a few spare words, creates such depth.
    I haven't read Home, but I did read Gilead, which I ultimately grew impatient with. It was beautifully written and exquisitely observed, but static, somehow.
    I'll be back here. Thank you so much for commenting on my little piece of nonsense, which was really just a way to tell people I hadn't disappeared.

  8. And I meant to say also that your picture is wonderful. Lovely face - open, kind and wise.

  9. I admire you and how you are reading this book, and what a description, that it is too cold to hold with bare hands! When a book is this good, and worthy of a slow read, slow is the only way to read it for me. I am not much of a reader of novels, and what I read is always slow. I am reading War and Peace (finally) and loving it slow. It is such beautiful writing. Savoring it slowly it is staying with me, and it comes back to me when I encounter certain things in conversation. Like when my friend Inge told me about visiting her dad in Germany last week, and his description in a journal she and her sister found of his, describing when he lost his arm in WWII, and everything he said in his journal reminded me of some of the war scenes in W & P.

    The problem with reading as slowly as I do is that I don't get much read. But I guess I'm OK with it.

    You are beautiful, and I love how you wrote this.

  10. It's is still dark here, just before four a.m., the best time to be reading; yet, the sky is beckoning too, clear and full of heavenly bodies. I stared out for a while and thanked my lucky stars for all of you out there who are kind and thoughtful and generous. Yes, I sent a little prayer out to the universe, thanking blog friends, people who share their hearts and souls, and ask for very little in return.

    Until I became obsessed with writing my memoir, I had never realized how difficult writing is. First of all, it takes courage and dedication to the task, regardless of how it will turn out in the end. Imagine years of solitude, creating a universe where people live, love, bleed, and have to make a living (the characters in a book). There is only you the writer to do this. You have no assistant, no employees, no confidante either. Just you, the writer.

    Ruth, Tolstoy, I understand, did have his wife to thank for editing, and supporting his pursuit. What if he didn't. Would he still have written?

    I'm in total awe of the artists, the musicians, the poets, the novelists.

    When someone writes in this vein, with such conviction and control, with such care and love and perfection, with tiny jewel strokes, each important and essential, we owe him/her our deep appreciation and careful attention.

    Thanks for the visit, everyone.

  11. Deborah, thanks for stopping by.

  12. I need to pick another book. I just finished Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Fictional but based on her real life descent into deep depression. I recommend it as she spends the time with issues young, exceptionally bright woman do.

    I have so little time but reading books in small windows of time over however long it takes works well for me at this time. Your description of Home is heavy and delicious.

  13. Amy, if you don't mind a slow and cautious pace, about a family deep in Calvinism and Bible references, a story about two adult children who have made mistakes and have returned home to care for their dying father, in a world of early America, then, this will please you.

  14. Oh boy I want to go and read this one...but I'm trying to write my own story (and thank you for commenting) and I've just begun to read Helen's book..Hotel at The corner of bitter and sweet...yikes
    I think I might just love this book
    and would benefit from its slow storytelling pace
    surely I will get to it this summer sometime
    and may I add...your writing is superb