What the Heck is a Polylego?

Birchbark Books and Native Arts

by Angela Noel

December 29, 2016

I am a Polylego. What, you’ve never heard the term? Of course not, I just made it up. I needed a word to describe my habit of reading multiple books at the same time. Poly, means “many”–which of course you know. Lego, also the name of a very successful toy brand beloved by my son, boyfriend, and legions of others, means, “I read” in Latin. Thus, we are henceforth dubbed, polylegos. You’re welcome.

Polylego defintion
There’s only one wrong way to read books: Not reading books.

When I was nineteen I tattooed the Japanese character for “to seek” on my ankle. It looks like this: . Later, I read a different definition, one I thought had much more poetic heft: To crawl out of a dark hole. I like the idea that my quest for insight, ideas, and beauty is a quest to emerge from an unenlightened darkness.  My writing professor in college wrote a recommendation letter for me in 2001, when I was considering graduate school. He wrote, “Her mind is catholic, she is not dogmatic, she is curious and committed to possibilities.” I’ve remembered his words all these years because he saw in me what I wasn’t yet able to articulate about myself. A catholic mind is wide-ranging in tastes or interests. I’m a polylego in order to obey my natural inclination to seek new information, bringing ideas from disparate sources together, and finding connections that bring light to my darkness. You’ve seen the results of this collection in my blog posts this year. (I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride.)

Picking which book I want to spend my reading time with depends on the mood of the day. I feel drawn to one or the other and follow my inclination without question. A mix of fiction and nonfiction balances my love of story with my craving for knowledge. The variety of writing styles, topics, and storylines means I always have some gorgeous world to tuck into that fits the moment.

My current reading selection includes:

  • Alaska by James A. Michener
  • It’s a Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota edited by Sun Yung Shin
  • Phantom at Honolulu Harbor by Pamela Asbury Smith
  • Julia’s Violinist by Anneli Purchase
  • In the Garden of Beasts by Eric Larson

I just finished, The Devil All the Time, by Donald Ray Pollock and Charmed Particles, by Chrissy Kolaya. I loved Ms. Kolaya’s book so much, I wrote a review on Goodreads.
Angela Dvorak (Minneapolis, MN)’s review of Charmed Particles: A Novel

Whether you’re a Monolego (yep, just made that one up, too) or a polylego, I’m certain you have books or TED Talks, podcasts, or blogs that you love. Would you share a few of your favorites with me?

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Seeker and promoter of awesome people and ideas.

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