I am an enthusiastic but disorganized reader. I have books all over the house and frequently read parts of several during the same day. I read at night in bed, daytime lounging in a big brown chair that I share with the dog in the living room, mornings with my feet up on my desk in the dismally untidy study, weekends surrounded by little kids in the crowded back room. Long ago, I perfected the art of reading while bombarded by noise.
As I have gotten older, I have less patience about reaching the end of every book. Sometimes, I abandon them for weeks, even a year, only to rediscover them later and take up where I left off. I am halfway into Colm Toibin's The Empty Family and almost finished Kate Pullinger's The Mistress of Nothing.
The process of rediscovery also holds for books I read years ago and now reread to discover that they are still wonderful. For example, Margaret Laurence's A Jest of God. I defy anyone not to keep reading after that first brilliant sentence. Or Farley Mowat's And No Birds Sang. Or Tony Judt's Postwar. Or any collection of Al Purdy's poems.
Books I have been reading during the past few days include Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands, a must-read for anyone interested in the history of Eastern Europe; David Grossman's To the End of the Land, a novel I am determined not to finish too quickly, and Kate Atkinson's One Good Turn.
I usually have at least two or three mysteries close at hand. I have a new Ruth Rendell next to my desk, and in the dog's favourite chair there is a copy of Andrew Pyper's The Guardians.
Anna Porter's The Ghosts of Europe has just won the Shaughnessy Cohen prize for political writing.