Writing about reading

Well, there was a hiatus. I won’t talk about why it occurred—for one thing, I’m not exactly sure why!

In part there are too many things to talk about, and it’s hard to choose among them. I have been writing answers to questions over at Quora.com, which is easier, since it’s simpler to answer a question than to come up with content on my own. For example, yesterday I wrote an answer to the question, “What television shows from the 1980s do not hold up well today?

The world is in a mess right now with Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in its 44th day, and things are not likely to get better soon, either, in my view. But my own life in Vancouver, B.C., carries on much the same. I spend time each day reading, and my thought is that I can write about that, for I care about it deeply.

Where the inaction is.

I read every day for about two and a half hours. But I can’t read any single book for that long; my limit is about 45 minutes. So I read from 4 or 5 different books each day. One of those—the first—will be a book of dharma, that is, of the Buddhist teachings. Another—the next—will be a work of fiction. The rest will be nonfiction of one kind or another. My interests range over a wide area, and I like to follow my passions of the moment. Indeed, I am so committed to that approach that I often do not finish the books that I start, not in a single run. I read fairly slowly, and often the wind of my interest will have shifted before I get to the end of a book. The stack of unfinished books grows ever taller on the table by my reading chair, until one day I admit to myself that I am no longer reading some of them and I cull the stack, restoring the left-behind volumes to their places in my library.

So what am I reading right now? Again, I have several books on the go, so I’ll list the ones that I read yesterday afternoon:

  • A Feast of the Nectar of the Supreme Vehicle: An Explanation of the Ornament of the Mahayana Sutras by Jamgön Mipham and Asanga
  • Anna Karenin by Leo Tolstoy
  • Anatomy and Physiology, volume 2: Urinary, Respiratory, and Nervous Systems; Sensations and Sense Organs; Endocrine and Reproductive Systems by Edwin B. Steen and Ashley Montagu
  • Vistas of Infinity: How to Enjoy Life When You Are Dead by Jurgen Ziewe

That last book I bought in February and just started yesterday. I hope to talk about it and all the others in this space.

My reading period each day usually starts at around 3:30 p.m. It might start as early as 3:15, and seldom later that 4:00. I have taken to lighting a stick of incense before I do my dharma reading. I have a good-sized collection of different kinds of incense, which I have come to really appreciate even though my sense of smell is not very acute. Every day I burn a different scent; today it was saffron, acquired from a delightful lady at Etsy.com. I read my dharma, then I make tea and read my fiction selection.

After that I take a break. I come down to my office and perhaps do some administration, or some writing for Quora, or, as today, for my own website. I don’t like to run past 6:00 on my break, for that leaves too little time for the rest of my reading block. I return to my chair (pictured) to read from 2 or 3 more books before Kimmie and I have dinner at 7:00.

That’s it in overview: the part of my day and of my life that I probably enjoy the most. Certainly I do it the most regularly and unfailingly.

And now it’s time to get back to it. I hope—and intend—to see you again soon.

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