David Rhodes is one of my favorite fiction writers because he writes about my world, literally and figuratively. When he describes Highway 151 near Dubuque in Jewelweed, it resonates because I’ve been there. That kind of literary experience occurred in the three of his five books I’ve read.
It’s hardly a way of making a reading list, but when I seek respite in words, Rhodes is the go-to author. He’s only written five books, so I dole them out slowly, with only two more to go.
Reading any book-length work is a bigger commitment than it was when I vowed to read every book in the Iowa City Public Library. At that time, the library was located in the Carnegie building, and used the Dewey Decimal System. I started with zero and worked my way through a pittance of the collection before abandoning the project. I learned a lot about religion.
Last year I read twelve books and it is not enough. Nonetheless, even if I make it to two dozen books, each one makes a bigger impact. One has to choose carefully and that’s where I am today.
Among the choices are one of a dozen books given to me by friends. I owe it to each of them to read the volume sent, but am stalled.
I recently bought the Robert Gates and Leon Panetta memoirs, but that purchase was more for reference than actual reading. They gather dust and are not even on a shelf yet.
Most likely on my list is 1381: The Year of the Peasants’ Revolt by Juliet Barker. One of our more questionable ancestry links takes my family back to England and this seminal event. As I recall, the rebellion was squashed. If I seek to use the peasants’ revolt as a metaphor, I should know more about it, and reading 1381 is the plan.
Then there is the collection of books about Iowa, books written in Iowa and books written by residents of the area past and present. Too many for this lifetime, but I should begin chipping away at them.
Not sure which book will be next opened, I’ll relish today’s process of selecting one. Let’s hope I choose well.