I just added the little widget on the right to keep track of the books that I'm currently reading. The website also keeps a log of what I've read and want to read. Pretty useful. And it will link up with your other social networking tools, like myspace and facebook.
I had a very strange experience today. Often, when I'm reading, I begin to take on the attitude or mode of the book. With good stories, I begin to put myself in the place of the characters, and feel what they feel. And sometimes it affects other parts of my life, when I'm not reading.
So, I'm borrowing a copy of Indian Nocturne, a novella by Italian author Antonio Tabucchi. It's super port-modern. The subtitle is It's "A New Directions Book" (Edit: the English translation is published by New Directions) and is basically the story of a young man traveling around India trying to find a friend of his, and in the process find himself. As you might imagine, the story carries the sense of a dream: surreal, we'll call it. Strange and otherwise unexplained things happen routinely. The chapters are somewhat disjointed, and in some scenes it's unclear whether he is living or dreaming them.
Today I was reading and baking chocolate chip cookies without baking soda (which turned out surprisingly well, I might add). In the chapter I was reading the protagonist meets a fortune teller at a bus stop in the middle of both the night and nowhere. The fortune teller becomes troubled, and explains that his fortune cannot be told, because he is not himself. His soul is somewhere else. There's some strange things about karma ("the sum of our actions, of what we have been and what we shall be") and atma (soul) and maya (body).
I had just finished that chapter and was cleaning up the kitchen, doing some dishes and wiping the counter, when I suddenly felt that I was not inside myself. I was a passive observer to this young man diligently cleaning, unable to act in any way to change his course. This lasted for several seconds. Writing about it now, it should have been frightening to have no control of my own body, to simply watch it perform -- but I felt no fear, only curiosity.
I've decided that in the case where there is no scheduled time pressures, I much prefer to make and eat cookies than to simply eat them.