Yesterday, I retrieved a book from our shelves and found the corners of some pages lightly stained with red. Oops. I know what happened. It’s beef. When I make a batch of meatballs, I prop a book on a stand in front of me so I can read while my hands perform the tedious task of shaping the meat. I turn the pages with careful but meaty fingers. Red stains can result.
I do try. To delay the page‑turnings, I read slowly while my fingers squeeze and roll.
Digression: This enforced contemplative reading suggests a whole new literary category: Books to Shape Meatballs By. Essays and poetry would be the best. Slow reading gives their compressed thoughts time to expand in the mind.
I hope the author wouldn’t be insulted by my activities while reading. I wouldn’t. If a book I’d written so engrossed a reader that she had to keep on reading while she cooked dinner, I’d be flattered.
Digression: Reading while eating is another way to get food spots on books, and worth the risk. It’s a delightful way to spend a solitary mealtime. What’s better on a day alone than the newspaper with breakfast, a mystery with lunch, and Dickens with dinner?
But as I cleaned those guilty pages, I thought, Okay, here’s a New Year’s Resolution: always and only to listen to recorded books while fixing dinner. IPods forever! No more meat-stained books!