Wednesday, May 28, 2014

How to Stop Overeating and Start Over-Reading

A friend, who says her husband can eat and eat and never gain weight, found a trick to solve her own overeating. When she finishes her lunch, she begins reading aloud to him while he continues munching away.

These late-spring afternoons, we're doing the same. On the sun porch, ceiling fan whirring, a stack of books beside my plate. When I finish my one tomato sandwich (no chips), I read aloud to my husband.

Here's our recent fare:
Elizabeth Spencer's new award-winning collection of stories, "Starting Over" (Norton, $24.95), available at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library. The collection, by the way, is dedicated to Hillsborough novelist Allan Gurganus.

I like Spencer's stories and her way with the short, muscular sentence. The first story, "Return Trip," is set in the North Carolina mountains, near Asheville, and it involves, as many of her stories do, a family mystery, this one about the parentage of the college-age son of Patricia and Boyd. Is Boyd the father of this child? Or is the father a distant Mississippi cousin of Patricia's, who has driven over from Asheville for the day? I think I know, but Spencer is wickedly sly.

I've been on a Jill Bialosky kick since a friend pointed out a poem of hers, "The Lucky Ones," in a recent Kenyon Review. She lives in New York and is an essayist and memoirist as well. Again, in the CMPL, I found her "History of a Suicide: My Sister's Unfinished Life" (Simon & Schuster, $24).  
I've pondered the whys of suicide since 1985, when a 40-year-old male cousin killed himself in Atlanta. This book helped enormously.

When I mentioned the book to a friend, she loaned me a copy of the anthology Bialosky edited with Helen Schulman, "Wanting a Child: Twenty-two Writers on Their Difficult but Mostly Successful Quests for Parenthood in a High-Tech Age" (Farrar Straus, $13 paper). These essays (including one each by Bialosky and Schulman) are not light reading. Our hearts have staggered through three now, and I must say that Philip Lopate's "Lake of Sorrow" is probably one of the most poignant and wrenchingly beautiful essays I've ever read.

Next on the stack: Just out in a Norton paperback, "Dirty Love," a collection of stories by Andrew Dubus III, author of the bestselling "House of Sand and Fog." About a year ago, I listened to his memoir "Townie" on audio book and would probably follow his hot trail of words up and over any mountain.


Anonymous said...

He probably gets sick and throws up.

Anonymous said...

Jeez ... No offense but that pic is the worst ever ... didnt you retire ages ago ? yikes !!!

This is how Joan Rivers would have looked had she never has plastic surgery.

Try using a pic taken back in 1950 or photo shop it.

former CO writer

Anonymous said...

Wow, you say "No offense" and then go on to be offensive.

People age, deal with it.

Hokiegirl said...

Anonymous, what was the point of that ugliness? You, who won't even give a name, should be ashamed of yourself. I would be willing to bet that a picture of you would scare the bats outta the fruit trees. A glimpse of your soul scared me.

Piedmont Middle School 77-79 said...

If we are all so lucky we will be mature(reach old age) one day. I know Ms. Romine Powell from my school days with one of her sons. She is a fine lady and deserves a little better treatment from some "anonymous" writer. A comment about the content in the article is appropriate, not a jab about what a real person looks like in their older age.

Anonymous said...

Wow! An article written by death warmed over!

Anonymous said...

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