I used to be more monogamous in my reading, but I’m afraid I’m rather polyamorous now…I usually have a main read going with three or more sidelines. Right now I’m reading and enjoying two books, both nonfiction: David K. Randall’s Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep and Philip Nel’s Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature. Dreamland is a fascinating look at sleep and dreaming (two of my favorite activities). Randall shows us how neglected the study of sleep is as well as how important it is to our health and high-functioning. Two chapters cover dreaming (I’d have loved more) while others show how lack of sleep has affected the army, athletes, and how, prior to the Industrial Age, we used to have what was called a First Sleep and Second Sleep… Crockett Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon) and Ruth Krauss (A Hole is to Dig) are two of my favorite childhood authors and Nel’s biography covers both of their lives and careers (I had no idea they were a couple!). I’m also reading The War Works Hard by Iraqi poet Dunya Mikhail (the title poem is devastating), and I just finished The Parasites, by the underappreciated Daphne Du Maurier. A wonderful exploration of siblings and artists’ lives, The Parasites is incredibly inventive, multi-layered, at turns beautiful, poignant, and sharply funny. Du Maurier skillfully handles multiple points of view and weaves past and present seamlessly in this 1949 novel.
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