I would consider myself an avid reader, but I can go for pretty long periods of time without ever picking up a book (for pleasure reading, that is…I try to read the Bible everyday). Some people always seem to be reading something. I actually got asked at a job interview one time what I was currently reading. (Good thing I WAS reading something at the time so I didn’t have to rack my brains trying to remember the last book I read.) I realize that instead of just reading consistently, I tend to go through reading binges. There are times when my soul just craves a good juicy story and demands to be satisfied. So during those times, I usually end up trotting down to the library and loading up on books like a hungry person loading her plate at the buffet. Sometimes my picks are good; sometimes they’re not so good. A good pick will keep me entertained and make me feel like I actually learned something at the end. A bad pick is like eating at a mediocre restaurant – you finish it for the sake of finishing, and all you’re left with at the end is regret for wasting your time and money.
I think the reason I have reading binges is because once I start a book, I have the compelling need to finish it as soon as possible. During my single days, that usually meant reading non-stop all day or staying up late into the night. I can’t quite do that now, with a husband and baby to take care of, but I still have this insatiable need to get to the end of the story. Hence the reason for why I can go through long periods of not reading. It usually takes me awhile to recover from my literary gorges; really long if the books were particularly bad.
With that said, I have recently just finished a book and am currently reading another one. The first one was okay — an American historical fiction with Christian undertones. It started out alright, but the story was pretty cheesy and in the end, not so memorable. In fact, I don’t even remember the title anymore. I am, however, enjoying my second pick tremendously – Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper, A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China, by Fuchsia Dunlop. It chronicles the story of a British girl who goes to China, determines to eat everything, and then eventually attends a culinary school in Sichuan and ends up writing a Chinese cookbook. Some of the chapters leave me drooling (like her description of dan dan noodles), while other chapters make me want to vomit (like when she describes the slaughtering practices at the Chinese street markets) and vow never to eat Chinese food again. She provides the historical background for her personal experiences, as well as recipes for some of the food she describes. History, food, and humor – three things I love in a good book.
I’m not sure how long this particular binge will last. If it lasts awhile, I will need some good recommendations (I’m a sucker for historical fiction and good non-fiction). Please let me know if you have any!