Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Crisis in my mind

I love to read. I always have. I don't remember learning to read - I remember sitting on my mother's lap while she read to me, and ours was the kind of house with books everywhere (just as mine is today). "They" said I learned to read on my own at 3 1/2. I do know that I was the only kindergartner at our small school who read fluently the first day, and was allowed to check out far more library books than the other children. By the end of third grade, the school decided they'd taught me all they could about reading and literature, and I got to tutor the younger kids each day during literature class, right through sixth grade.

I didn't just read - I absorbed books. Especially after my mother died when I was 10 - there was no one to tell me that something might not be appropriate. I read "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" when I was 11. I still have nightmares about it.

Some books stand out more than others. When I was 11 or 12 (that part of my life is awfully fuzzy) my step-father's sister (step-aunt? Is there such a thing?) gave me a book on....ahem.... reproduction. All that I remember is that the man lies above the woman. This confounded me - did they have to do it on stairs? Was there a special structure designed for this? Now, if the book would have said lies on top of, or next to, or knelt behind and slammed her like a greyhound, I might have gotten a clue.

So the point of today's missive (if there is one) is this: I read. I read a lot. Unless a particular book is spectacularly riveting, I'll generally have two going at a time. There was a brief period in my life when my kids were under the age of about 2 that I couldn't read - I'd fall asleep if I sat down and tried to read....but thank God, I got through that.

I read when I'm cooking, I read while blow-drying my hair. I read while I'm brushing my teeth. Not flossing, unless it's a large, hard-cover book that stays open by itself. I read to my kids. I read while my dogs are taking a dump in the back yard.

And, of course, some books are better than others. I never read any books about any type of sport. Or those mechanical technical engineery thingies. Some I will read and re-read forever, I love them so (The Handmaid's Tale comes to mind). Some disappoint, though I will almost always finish a book I've started, just to find out the end. These people are real, damn it, even if just in the author's mind, and I have to know what happens to them!

I just read a book that pissed me off. I don't think I've ever said or written those words before. I was so angry when I finished it that I couldn't go to sleep until 3 a.m. I wanted to find the author and throttle him.

It started with great promise. I've read Robin Cook's novels before, and have found them interesting. Granted, it's been some years since Coma, but I remembered it well. A medical mystery - something I can really wrap my mind around and try to unravel myself.

The end of the first chapter had me worried. Too many exclamation points. If your damn story doesn't tell me on it's own when something is supposed to be exciting, do you really think that a punctuation mark is going to help? A chapter or two in and I found the one thing I look for in paperbacks. A typo. A major typo. This was not a good sign. Affect for effect. This is third grade stuff, folks.

Anyway, I won't spoil it for you. I hate spoilers, even though I'm telling you now - don't waste your money on this piece of garbage!!!!! The denouement left me feeling just like I did when I found out my ex-husband was cheating on me with a 21-year old.

Oh, but I can't forget the epilogue, where the good author rails about the downfall of the practice of medicine in the 21st century. Actually, I agree with him, but I didn't need this ridiculous piece of crap to support his thesis.

Ok, maybe I was a bit cranky to start with. The King had invited his oldest friend to stay the night. I know, I know. Never let kids spend the night on a school night. But her mom had let him (ok, so his name is Jake) spend the night at her house once so that he could experience the life-altering attainment of his greatest goal - to walk to school. The short, five-minute walk that gave him such a sense of accomplishment, such joy, and a near-life-threatening exposure to poison oak.

So, now it was my turn. Jake's friend wanted to be driven to school - why, it would be almost like riding the bus!

A word to the wise - set your clocks back one hour. That way, you can lie to the children and tell them it really is 8:00 and time for bed, and they might just be asleep by 10:00.

So, it was in this frame of mind (or loss of same) that I approached the last few chapters of "Crisis." And was reminded why it's a good thing I sleep alone.

I threw it across the room.

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