ShareReads appears on the DCPLive blog on Fridays. Each week, a different person will share a little about what they’re currently reading, and why they like or don’t like it. The heart of ShareReads will be responses from blog readers, and the window of opportunity here is wide. Feel free to respond and discuss the book or author being mentioned, ask or answer a question, or even take the conversation in a different direction: mention what you are currently reading, and how you feel about it. The point of ShareReads is to have an ongoing discussion about books and reading. Remember: posting a response also counts as an activity for the Summer Reading for Adults program.
The classics never fail to challenge and satisfy my maturing reading habits. I used to think teaching high school and college English classes had ruined me as a reader. I started looking at books for what they offered for class discussion and as examples of various fiction devices. I critiqued structure and character development as well as use of setting while I read. There were some years when I shifted to non-fiction because I could escape these distractions. But I never stopped returning to some of the classics.
Like some people I know who read Pride and Prejudice every year, I return to William Faulkner as my iconic Southern writer who captured aspects of the South, and the world universal, for those willing to bring the tolerance for ambiguity needed to read him. My favorite of his books is As I Lay Dying, which I read every few years as it is both short and layered (something I like because it reflects life as I see it). Over the years of my own life, I find reading it changes. The book is the same, but I am different. At least I see relationships, and understanding of duty, and the society which plants that “darn” road by our doors as different with each reading.
If you haven’t read much of Faulkner, I recommend this as a good first step. Each chapter is told from a different character’s perspective as indicated by the chapter’s heading. The story starts with the mother dying in bed where she can hear one of her sons building her casket. After she dies, the family sets out to bury her some distance away with “her folks”. They travel by horse and mule, pulling a wagon with her casket. They cross rivers, stay at friend’s and stranger’s homes, make important stops in town, and return, most of them, completely changed.
Are you reading books with shifts in perspective, with dynamically changing characters, that address the end of life? If so, please share your responses and insights.
Thanks, and remember you can avoid the heat by reading more….