May 25, Sunday morning -- Reading Hermann Hesse

One block from the Mission District's annual Carnaval

Waiting for a friend and reading Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse. It was given to her about three weeks ago (by a different friend), but she had been afraid to read it. She was worried it wouldn't meet the expectations she had of the author. The first book she read by Hesse was The Glass Bead Game. Then she read Demian, her favorite book of all time.

Recently she read The Scar, by China Miéville and she'd been reading Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, which she realized she needed a break from. Hence the Hesse.

If she were to write her own book, it'd be an illustrated picture book about plants, for children. People don't appreciate plants enough, she said. The book would talk about all the wonderful things that plants do, as well as things that are interesting, like how they communicate with each other through hormones, chemicals, pheromones.

When she was a child she, like every girl in her generation, loved the Baby-sitters Club books by Ann Martin AND, the favorite--she was always a plant nerd--Miss Rumphius, a picture book which follows the life of a little girl named Alice from childhood to adulthood. From childhood to old age she has many marvelous adventures, but is never completely fulfilled. She thinks back on the advice her grandfather gave her, that, in order to live a good life, you must make the world more beautiful, so she starts planting lupine seeds everywhere she goes.

While we were talking her friend showed up and told us about a plant book she would recommend, which she actually had in her bag--Seeds of Change. ....I wish I'd asked her to take it out because now I'm searching for it on line to find the author I'm confused. There are several books with the same or similar title.

How do you pace yourself when reading an author whose books you've just discovered you love?

10 Comments:

ROBERTA said...

if i really really like a book i tend to read very slowly - savoring it - not wanting it to end!

and i read Siddhartha in high school over 35 years ago and never forgot it -

Andrew said...

For me, (and I didn't realize this until now) it depends on whether or not the author has died yet. David James Duncan, for example, I devour. His books are great, and I'm always left with the anticipation of another one. Steinbeck, on the other hand, I have to read sparingly. Unless I'm wildly mistaken, he's not coming out with anything new anytime soon.

On a side note, The Scar was an awesome book. Great monsters. And whether China intended it or not, the double allegory of the Brucolac as a sort of demonic Jesus figure and a Krsna figure was brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Your post was great, and you did an amazing job of remembering all those details without writing anything down. My friend's book is Seeds of Change by Henry Hobhouse, and of the 10 pages I read while we were together, I can highly recommend it. I'm looking forward to checking in with your blog and seeing what else the public is reading!
-Siddhartha reader

Bill said...

I tend to devour books, more non-fiction than fiction. Though at particularly poignant passages, I will linger a while. If the book hits the notes right, I'll reread.

Though poetry collections, I read very differently, usually in bursts of 2 to 10 poems at a time--how many depends upon the depth of the work and my attention span.

Lydia said...

When I discover an author I love I tend to read at least one more of his/her books immediately after finishing the first. When I read an author's praise of another author/book I often will follow with the suggestion as my next read. I get so crazy for some books that I buy the audio version for my husband hoping to ignite an interest that he could share in his daily commute. It worked only once so far, and my collection of audio books is now at a stage of needing to find new homes via eBay!

Ronnica said...

When I read an author I like, I'm already starting to collect some of their other works. I just try to make sure I grab something new (preferably something recommended) in order to have more favorite authors. I have a feeling Henry James will be my latest favorite. =)

Ms. B. said...

I loved the children's book you wrote of! I gave it to my sister the gardener. Thanks for mentioning it. I was just telling someone about it and couldn't remember the title.

I still have yet to read the last Harry Potter book. I know when I finish, that'll be it.

Ms. B. said...

I loved the children's book you wrote of! I gave it to my sister the gardener. Thanks for mentioning it. I was just telling someone about it and couldn't remember the title.

I still have yet to read the last Harry Potter book. I know when I finish, that'll be it.

Lori said...

I don't! I'm an "immediate gratification" kind of girl, and I just gobble them up!
www.fermentedfur.com

joe pettis said...

I could not put Siddhartha down the first time I read it. Great read.