Monday, September 14, 2009

Reading and More Reading.

I've become like a fat cat this summer, lying around in my special chair, sun streaming in the window, air conditioning blowing gently through my and reading romance books. The only thing missing has been the mistress of the house bringing me my vittles in a cut glass dish, but I can dream.

One morning last week I got out of bed and jumped on the bathroom scale. Oh dear. In exactly two months (I know this because I know what I had to weigh to fit into my clothes for RWA National) I had gained five whole pounds and a few ounces. I was disgusted with myself and fumed through my low calorie breakfast. I did an extra mile walk with the dog, arrived home sopping wet, and after a shower fell back on the bed exhausted. But not too exhausted to be unable to read. Oh no. Reading is my new passion.

After an hour to finish one of Nora Roberts earlier books, Opposites Attract, a story about a female and a male tennis pro, which by the way had great action scenes, I called Curves. It's a great little gym with world wide establishments. A neighbor and friend works at my local place. She'd been trying to get me to join for a year. I was worried about my knee, so resisted. (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.) : ) Anyway, I love it. Making this move, having the courage to admit I was turning into a sloth, was good for me. I've cut back on calories just a little, nothing dramatic. Already I've lost a pound and a half and it isn't even a full week. I feel better too. Yay, me!

Favorite reads this month:
The Prince of Tides, Pat Conroy. I'd never read it back in the mid eighties when it was first published. Guess I was too busy then with husband, kids, work, etc. Besides that, it wouldn't have appealed to me. It would have scared the beejezuz out of me. This story is so powerful, it deals with truly unforgettable characters, set in the US south, traversing three generations, a family with a horrific past and a desire to overcome their tragic legacy. It is honest to a fault. The prose is beyond eloquent. It made me stop sometimes, hug the book to my chest and cry just from its pure depth and beauty. I'll never, ever forget it but doubt I'd have the strength to read it again. I couldn't read anything for days after I finished this story and it still rattles around in my mind. When I regain my courage I might go out and buy South of Broad, which is Conroy's latest novel after a long hiatus.
To summarize: mind blowing.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery. This was written in French then translated into English by Alison Anderson. I loved this story, once I reached the end. It was then one of those stories where you sit back and say, "Aha. Now I get it." All the pieces fall into place and it becomes extraordinary.

BUT, and I must say this, at first I didn't like it. It took me over 100 pages to get a feel for the two protagonists. One middle aged, the other a pre-teen, both had similar philosophies on life, both seemed cold, aloof, and in some ways patronizing. Both characters wished to hide from the world their true nature and their above average intelligence, because they thought the world would not understand or accept them. Both were extremely well read and knowledgeable. I felt I was taking a class in philosophy from a professor who looked down his nose with disdain at the dumb students. It irritated me. Then I forced myself to stay open, to listen to what the heroine had to say, and ended up being enthralled.

To summarize: exquisite.

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