Friday, October 30, 2009

not a reader?! what?!

on fridays, i have a ritual.

i take the boys to school, walk around the river, go to weight watchers and then go to great harvest for my cinnamon-chip scone and tea. yes, i do see the irony.

but more importantly; as i was enjoying my scone, i was reading madhur jaffery’s climbing the mango trees. this is a beautiful memoir about this woman growing up in india, and the food memories she has. it’s a universal theme—this idea of food invoking memories. everyone has these memories from their childhood or travels…

{ring ring}

and i’m pulled out the of the heat and sepia images of picnics in india, to the wet, dreary morning in idaho falls by the guy next to me. he’s sitting alone, making calls and answering them in the effort (i surmise) to not be alone. and so i go back to india and the picnics.

"you in school?"

my eyes slide across the page to the guy, who then again asks me, “are you in school?”

“um… yeah… kinda…”

“is that why you’re reading that book?”

“um… no…”

“you’re reading for fun?”


“that’s crazy. i can’t imagine reading for fun…”

“hmmm…” and then i though that was the saddest thing. if you’re reading this silly little blog, you read for fun… and you can understand what i’m talking about. can you imagine your life devoid of the joy you have from reading? so as the librarian i am, i say, “you haven’t met the right book.”

“what?!” now he’s startled.

“people need to meet the right book to help them enjoy reading… and i don’t think you’ve read the right book.”

“i never liked reading…”

“maybe you didn’t have anyone to show you that reading can be fun"

“i’ve never been married, either… you think i haven’t met the right woman either?”

“that’s not my area of expertise, but maybe…” and in light of other weirdness in my life, i stuck my nose back into my book, deeply.

and i was again transported back to new dehli, to family-joint homes full of aunts and uncles and cousins, the smells of cardamom, cumin, and cinnamon, the lush gardens blowing cooling breezes thru the house… and then came thoughts of what if no one had ever given me the gift of reading.
where would i be today?

i’d be sitting alone in great harvest on a dreary, wet october morning. luckily for me, i was in india this morning...

happy reading

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

when I was in college getting my minor in creative writing—yes, i fancied myself as a writer—i began to write this murder mystery set in denver, more specifically in the area of cherry creek. i plugged in all kinds of things i loved about the area and tried to give it a feeling of the times with clothes and music and pop-culture references… and then this girl, (yes, petty me remembers her name—jenny ashby) critiqued my progress with, “no one cares about what brand name of clothes the characters are wearing, or what restaurants they went to. using these references will date your book.”

date my book? did she think i was writing silas marner? um… have i read silas marner? i was doing what the professor asked us to do: write about what you know. i know about girls, purses, shoes, music and local denver restaurants. but i was easily detoured, and kinda let that fiction writer in me die… except when every now and then, when i read a book full of pop-culture, and that snarky little writer in me comes hissing back to life to mutter not-so-nice things about miss ashby’s comments—which is probably why i can remember her name—on a story that i started to write in 1993!

so that leads me to robert rave’s book SPIN, which i just read… and lauren weisberger’s everyone worth knowing (EWK) that i read about 3 years ago. the two books are about the “beautiful” life of being seen, about two fairly nice people who fall into the world of PR firms and get caught up in the glamour, the parties, the celebs, the gossip and the complete loss of morals to get ahead of the rest of the pack… and these books are chock full of references to current celebrities, haute-est fashion, cutting edge music and pop-culture.

SPIN is told from a man’s point of view, and is more about taylor regaining the balance of power with a “nasty” boss… when she {pretty much} neuters him. EWK is told from with a feminine protagonist. bette’s story is softer in they way that she just wants her life (and privacy) back after the tables are turned. EWK is not too far from the devil wears prada nor chasing harry winston--look! the references are right there in the title. weisenberger gives us a taste of the life that looks so much better on the surface, and then a smack of reality to put all of the bling back into proportion…

and to my fellow-student’s credit, my college efforts may not have been anywhere good enough to carry a string of pop-culture references, so i don't fault her for those comments. and these other books probably aren’t high literature now and probably never will be. but then again, look at the valley of the dolls or sidney sheldon’s novels—pure pleasure reading and saturated in references from the time they were written, but does that make them any less fun to read? no, and SPIN and EWK were just that—fun reads. i was sucked in and enjoyed being there.

by the way, both books mentioned bungalow 8. i thought it was part of weisberger’s creative license for her book, but it appears it’s to be a real nyc place, a real place to be seen. and it seems it’s as hot of a spot in 2009 as it was in 2006—maybe some cultural references are a good thing… although, i don’t think i could still get in!

happy reading!

ps: jenny ashby, a very sincere thank you for giving me something to write about!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

some peoples' mothers...

you may have read my previous posting about not being able to see a certain author in denver when she was visiting the tattered cover bookstore. i was disappointed, to say the least.

so, a few weeks after that post, i'm chatting my mom up on a saturday morning...

me: so what are your plans today
she: well, i have to go do somethings at church
me: all day?
she: nooo...
me: well, what else are you doing?
she: daddy's going to a car show
me: and you...
she: i don't know if i want to tell you
me: why? {my eyes narrow in that way that only children can do so well when they are being left out of something...}
she: i'm going to tucson with daddy...
me: but you're not going to the car show
she: no... i'm going to barnes and nobel...
me: {seething silence}
she: i need to be there at two
me: {more seething silence}
she: jen?
me: is she there?
she: {holding back her sardonic giggles} yes!!

needless to say, "she" would be diana gabaldon.

i know there's at least one person out there saying something like, a year ago i couldn't get you to read the books. and now you're a groupie?

no, that's not quite how it is. my new BFF, jamie larue (librarian-extraordinaire) nailed it on the head when he said something like this: when you are in the real-life space of an author, you create a personal connection to the work. because you get a glimpse in their head... and like i've already said--i want to meet/see/ listen to the woman behind these books. i'm facinated with how she spins these tales...

my mom summed it up in the text i received that saturday afternoon:

as if there were any doubt!

happy reading...