Between the Bookends

Time it was and what a time it was it was,
A time of innocence a time of confidences.
Long ago it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you

– Bookends, Simon and Garfunkle

During pockets of spare time found amongst the Holidays, one of the things I’ve enjoyed most is catching up on reading

I tend to force myself to sit in some form of stretch when I’m reading. it’s such a good test of how compelling a book is; if I can forget that my tendons feel like they’re being ripped apart then you know it’s good. And I don’t just do this at home. That’s right, I’m that awkward girl sprawled out on the floor in the back of a nearby Barnes and Noble that gives YOU the stink eye if you do a double take. What? I’m reading aaaand stretching here. My two favorite leisure activites.

I do try to change my oh-so-relaxed pose every ten to twenty minutes. Any more than that can be dangerous. I once fell asleep in what is called the ‘frog pose’ (I do not think this is a certified term, perhaps just what I learned) which entails: lying on your back with your legs on the ground, bent so that the soles of your feet press together and hopefully, your knees fall close to the ground on each side. It’s a good one for turn out because the natural gravity of your legs eases more rotation in the hip socket gradually. When I awoke the next morning, the muscles in my hip flexors were so strained that I could not stand up straight with my legs in parallel. Therefore, walking, I looked more like an awkward marionette all bent-at-the-waist and spastic, being puppeteered by a drunk epileptic.

Library date with Ron and Draco- photo courtesy of the Half-Blood Prince (actually I don't remember where I found this. Sorry!)

I recently finished:

1. The Tao of pooh- by Benjamin Hoff -an explanation of Eastern religion Taoism through the whimsy of Winnie the Pooh- a short good read if you enjoy simple, heartfelt books such as The Little Prince or The Alchemist, which I do

2. The Visible Man– by Chuck Klosterman– I have only read his non-fiction before (Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs/ Eating the Dinosaur/ etc) but I quite enjoyed this piece of fiction, and fiction it definitely is. This book is the literary form of eavesdropping and people watching and the male protagonist has the same  highly intelligent, dry delivery with a touch of a-hole tone that I associate with Mr. Klosterman.

3. Just started- The Elegance of the Hedgehogby Muriel Barbery– I am only 80 pages in, but I feel confident in saying this is the best book I have read this year. The language is incredibly beautiful and rich with words, words, words. It would be like reading a thesaurus if it weren’t for the perfect architecture of language that just sort of rolls over you like a sunrise, somehow both natural and awe-inspiring at once. It was translated from french so I can only imagine what a chore that was. The protagonist is a rather snobbish female claiming superior smarts and a cultural hunger for things like books and music and  also has a tendency to both hate and observe people and animals. Sound like anyone we know? I know, me either,sadly. I think we’d be friends.

I have a tendency to remember periods in my life from the cd’s that I was listening to in my car and the books I was reading. I’ll think, “hmm..November of 2011, oh that’s when I read Ethan Frome” (this is true). It’s easier than remembering that at this time exactly a year ago, my family discovered that my Dad had cancer, had a massive surgery and began chemo.  It seems only appropriate to remember my Dad through The Tao of Pooh, which is the last book that I gave him. It’s funny how for me, the actual books are the bookends and bookmarks that I place in the library catalogue of memory.

I’ve also had a re-look at: TRIBUTES- Celebrating 50 Years of New York City Ballet– which I got for xmas a few years ago. This is a stunning coffee table sort of book filled with history, gorgeous dance photography, anecdotes, sketches of set designs, costumes, and poems.

overture Backdrop for 'The Concert' painted on muslim by Saul Steinberg commissioned by Jerome Robbins

Set design for Balanchine's 'Night Shadows' by Esteban Frances

In honor of: gorgeous language and dancing and to further slap dance criticism in its already pulverized face (read ‘a critic’s best friend‘ for further explanation) I leave you with this:

Poet to Ballerina

My verses cannot comment

on your immortal moment

or tell you what you mean

only Balanchine

has the razor edge,

and knows that art of language.

-1961, composed by Robert Lowell during a visit to NYCB while on a Ford Fellowship to write poetry about the opera

School of American Ballet- 1935

5 thoughts on “Between the Bookends

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