Saturday, September 27, 2014

Reading For Reading's Sake ...

One of the perils of spending so much of my time editing is this: It becomes damn near impossible to not edit. It's involuntary at this point. I see mistakes everywhere.

Ev-ry-where.

Billboards. Menus. Road signs. Books.

So reading for pleasure is often not at all pleasurable.

Which is a shame. Because I love it. I really do.

So I'm delighted – delighted! – to happen upon books that suck me in and keep me turning the pages until the very end with nary an instance of "Well, I wouldn't have said that that way" or "She should have flipped the order of those words."

Yes, sometimes that part of my brain shuts the hell up and instead, I enjoy a well-turned phrase and a compelling story.

I'm a non-fiction gal for the most part. I read novels from time to time, but non-fiction's my thing.

And Doreen has been on a purging jag of late, so she offered me two titles she had bought and had read and felt no need to keep.

Last Saturday, I picked up one of the books and was prepared to read the first page or so to decide if I wanted to read more.

Sunday, midday-ish, I turned the last page. It helped that I couldn't really sleep during the night in between so I turned on my bedside lamp and read. In bed. Which is normally a thing that puts me to sleep, not a thing that I do while I'm quite awake. But I read. And then I did turn off the lamp and sleep for a while. But when I woke up again, I kept on reading.

That book was Frances Kuffel's Love Sick.

As I wrote on Pinterest:

I rarely finish a book in less than a day. But Frances is a fine, fine writer. "That seems often to be my job: giving people words" made me nod in agreement. And "He loved parts of me the way mammals love salt" is an outstanding sentence. This is 260 pages of generosity, of wading into the online world of looking for love so you don't have to, voyeurism without the guilt.

And when I finished Frances's book, I got up, refilled my water bottled, returned to the love seat in my living room, and picked up Kristen Johnston's Guts.

As I wrote on Pinterest:

And for my second book this weekend … . (Not sure where this compulsive reading jag has come from, but I dig it.) The book starts out a bit glib, as if she's nervous to introduce her story (I totally relate to that), but it only gets more interesting and compelling so stick with it. I was proud of her by the end. A brave story, well told.

I remember that story being in the news when she went through her awful health episode and I remember seeing the book floating through my feed on Facebook, but then I forgot about it. Until Doreen shared it. And pointed out that the type is on the big side, as are the margins, and that it's a one-day book.

Indeed. I was done with it that evening. But it's an interesting story, and I have a soft spot in my heart for Kristen because when I worked for Thomson after I quit the Tribune, Jen, the queen of the editors, kept a running list of who would play each of the staffers if Hollywood ever made a movie about our life in that office, and when she asked me who would play me, I said Kristen Johnston, because someone I knew at a radio station in town had told me that one day when I visited the morning show (and said about five words on the air). We're both tall. I could be blonde again. And we have similar voices.

I'm glad Kristen's OK. And I hope Frances finds who she's looking for, be that a new man or no one at all.

I have many more books on my to-read shelf. And I put in a request at the library for Charles Blow's Fire Shut Up In My Bones. It's being ordered, according to the library's site. I hope it arrives soon.

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