Friday, April 3, 2009

ISO a good book date


I consider my time spent with books to be dates.  I get so wrapped up in the book, learning everything about it, taking it all in... maybe I that's why I didn't date a ton in high school.  I think I just had an epiphany... I was the scary intense girl when on a date, wasn't I?  The one who stares at you too much?  Yeah, I think that was me.

Have you been on a good book date lately?  Sometimes it's easy to get into a reading/dating slump.  That's where I am right now.  I was with friends the other day and everyone was talking about these great new books they had found.  Why don't those books ever introduce themselves to me at the bookstore?  Lately I feel like the jilted wallflower at the high school dance.

I think I'm a little gun shy because two out of the last three books that I picked up were duds.  Most recently, after going through a closet at the Dr. and Mrs.'s house, I found a copy of The Reader and brought it home.  I was practically expecting soft porn after seeing the previews of the movie, but it was actually a fantastic (and fairly nonpornographic) read that shed some light on why modern Germans behave the way they do.  I've always found it slightly unsettling the way German offspring seem to have been encouraged to rebel and act out.  Maybe it's been obvious to most people that it is a direct result of the previous generation's horror at the way their predecessors simply fell in line during the Third Reich.  But, this book explains it further and with poignancy.

The book I picked up before that was The Emporer's Children from 2006.  It was on sale at Books-A-Million and was listed as a New York Times Book Review Best Book of the Year, so I thought I was getting a win-win.  I settled in with a cup of tea one afternoon when the sky was a light slate color.  Mr. M had taken Jr. to the park and the house was quiet.  I opened the book, trudged through the short first chapter and thought, "Maybe the momentum just hasn't picked up yet."

A few chapters later, I still couldn't figure out the point of the book and gave up.  It was the most narcissistic, aimless piece of crap I had picked up in a couple of years.  I know my share of single 30-somethings, and even the ones who have made a living of not working have more to do and say in their little finger than in this book.  I couldn't figure out the purpose of most of the characters.  And when I went online to look up customer reviews, I realized that I wasn't in the minority here.  The good think about book dates is you can leave before the date is over without faking a major catastrophe.

The other book date was thirteen moons, which I had been holding onto since Jr. was born and hadn't come back to yet. The book was riveting.  The imagery sticks with you throughout the rest of the day.  The prose is hypnotic.  The ending fell flat on it's face!  I won't ruin the ending if you haven't read it, but for me it was a big 'WTF?'  If there was some deeper symbolism there I completely missed it.  And I'm no dummy when it comes to symbolism.  Please, PLEASE someone send an email to explain it to me!  

So, my point is, I'm overdue for a good book date.  I want to spend some time completely wrapped up in a story that slowly paints a masterpiece in my mind.  Something with great prose and a strong finish.  Maybe I want a wine to go with it.  Hmmm.... have you ever heard of a good reading wine?  Add that to this weekend's search list, too.  Throw me some suggestions for both!

1 comment:

  1. vanya eftimova bellingerApril 5, 2009 at 12:52 AM

    I love The Reader. Actually in my days in Berlin I met once the writer Bernhard Schlink - he is a law professor at the Humbold University. Quite shy and friendly. His all time favorite question is "How much of the story is real? Did you have an affair with older woman when you were 16?" Schlink says no, everything is fiction, but who knows...:)

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