Sunday, July 23, 2006

'Water for Elephants' ...

My cousin Patty is a director of marketing for a publisher in New York. She reads a lot of books. It's part of her job. She might mention, in passing, from time to time, the title of a book she's reading and liking, but she very, very rarely raves about a book.

And even more rarely does she insist that I read a particular title. Like immediately.

So it was with some persistent prodding that I got my butt to the bookstore last weekend to pick up "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen.

I was immediately enchanted.

My reading habits wax and wane. Sometimes, I polish off a book in two days. Other times, a month goes by and the bookmark doesn't budge. Dust jackets collect more than their fair share of dust.

I know I'm experiencing a great book when I want to cancel other plans so I can stay home and read.

I didn't. I went out Friday night, and I'm glad I did, but I was happy to wake up Saturday morning and be able to lie in bed and read for an hour. And happy to sit out on the deck in the late afternoon and read some more. And happy to move inside to the big comfy chair and keep reading, but sad to turn the last page.

I'm always a little sad to finish a good book. I become so invested in the characters and come to really care about their fictional lives that it's hard to say goodbye. But I also love the feeling of getting to pick a new book, to literally start a new chapter.

Writers of fiction - good fiction - inspire awe in me. I can't imagine being able to weave such a story.

There are very few heavy hitters in the literary world, but there are so many writers who deserve my time and attention. I'm always happy to find another.

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