Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Truth & Beauty

A strange thing happened to me this weekend – I became completely obsessed about reading a book. I've noticed that the last few books I picked up I have read with a certain bit of ferocity. I don't want to put them down. I read them standing up in the kitchen. I read until the last possible moment before beginning to do the other things I have to do. I dream about reading them.

I used to read books like this, with this kind of passion, but I haven't in a good long while. I don't know when I stopped but I think it may have coincided with The Kid and his happy arrival. And don't get me wrong, I have never stopped reading. I always have a book or two, or three going. It's just been a long time since I felt that craving, the urge to get to the end of the chapter and the pasta be damned.

I picked up Ann Patchett's Truth and Beauty on a recent trip to the library. It had been floating around on my radar for a few years and was on an old "to read" list I had found at the back of a journal. The book really knocked me for a loop and I'm trying to figure out why. I literally could NOT STOP READING it, even though I knew how it would end. It was well written, I think, but not drop dead gorgeously written. I don't know why it captivated me so – I only know that it did and that hasn't happened to me in a long time.

I firmly believe that a reader's reaction to a book is completely subjective and has a lot to do with when and how they come to the book. I have read books, been completely unimpressed, and have come back to them later in life and found them to be brilliant. I don't know what it is that I'm bringing to my reading experience right now, but I like it.


  1. I LOVE it when I get in these kinds of moods! It's been a while for me, too (hmmm...I had my own kid almost five years ago, and the fire has dimmed about that long...maybe you're right? a connection?). I can remember weeping over books while riding on the subway, and then staying in the station to finish it (work punctuality be damned). Or being so intent in a book that I don't hear people talking to me. Not being interested in absolutely anything else...conversation, eating, sex--it was all about the book.

    So what are you doing? How can I get me some of that passion?

  2. I'm enjoying the mood, though the intensity and the sudden onset were a bit startling.

    I'm writing a lot - that may have something to do with it...

    and I'm really worried about money...?! Could it be as simple as avoidance?

  3. I loved this book. I REALLY loved Lucy Grealy's book Autobiography of a Face.

  4. I am almost afraid to read it after reading Ann's. I'm a little bit of a coward - knowing what I know of Lucy's fate, I think it would be painful.

  5. It's me again--I've given you a "You Make My Day" award over on my blog. Thanks for the great writing!

  6. What kind of writer are you? I think I will pick up that book next time I am at the library! I love reading.

  7. I know what you mean! I will recommend a book that I connected to or related with in a passionate way, but it may not be the other person's cup of tea at that moment.

    The thing you said about "how they come to the book" is right on.

    Suddenly, I want to recommend a book right now... :)

  8. Oh! Recommend away... I'm always looking for good books to read.