Porch Reads No. 1

Summer Reading

In an effort to make time for one of my favorite activities, I’ve challenged myself to read 50 books in 2016. I’m keeping track of my progress on Goodreads, and sneakily picking up recommendations from my friends’ shelves, too. Before the start of my summer break, I had read 37 books. Thanks to a few languid afternoons with a porch cocktail in hand, I’m now at 40. I hope to meet my goal by the end of the summer, and maybe even increase my goal for the rest of the year. I have no idea what my first semester in vet school will do to my free time, though, so maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

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Embracing the Morning

A thought-provoking ocean view
Morning on Moraca Playa, Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea
Why do we bother with the rest of the day,
the swale of the afternoon,
the sudden dip into evening…

excerpt from “Morning” by Billy Collins

Morning is my favorite time of day. I like to be up bright and early, but, if I can help it, I don’t like to leave the house first thing in the morning. That way, I can start my day in the most unhurried way possible. If I have the luxury of waking up slowly, I feel calm and focused, and then I’m ready to start my work. Like the speaker in Billy Collins’ poem, I feel potent and alive in the morning. A little caffeine coursing through my veins doesn’t hurt, either. Read more

Everything we’ve ever imagined

We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep—it’s as simple and ordinary as that. A few jump out of windows or drown themselves or take pills; more die by accident; and most of us, the vast majority, are slowly devoured by some disease or, if we’re very fortunate, by time itself. There’s just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we’ve ever imagined, though everyone but children (and perhaps even they) knows these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more.Michael Cunningham, The Hours

It’s 9 pm on Thursday evening, and I’ve just done something I haven’t done for a very long time. I read an entire book today. I woke up, having finished reading Call the Midwife last night, and sat down at the foot of my bed to pick another book. I reached for The Hours, opened it, and looked up 30 pages later like I had just awoken from a dream. My own surroundings seemed strange, because I had been so completely invested in what this book laid out before me that the story seemed, momentarily, more real than my own existence.

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“By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.”
Virginia Woolf