I have always considered myself a reader and for a very long time I have known that I am a literary snob. As a young child in school I loved to sign out the Richard Scarry anthology because I loved how big it was. I adored the Little House on the Prairie series and I refused to watch the t.v. show as I knew that it could not live up to the books. To this day there are very few movies that I will see if they are based on a book that I like. When we were house hunting I could not help but check out what was on the bookshelves. When I was in university I would surreptitiously glance around me on the subway to see what my fellow commuters were reading. If I spotted a Daniel Steele novel I had an icky feeling the rest of the day. My minor in French exposed me to one of my favourite authors, Balzac and to the most beautiful book ever written, Les Miserables. I adore George Elliot for Daniel Deronda alone. As much as I like Dickens I read him holding my breath waiting for the anti-semitic slur that seems to appear in each of his novels. I loved A Suitable Boy so much that I read it in order and out of order and then I wrote a letter to the author and he answered me. Great literature moves me. My husband can always tell when I’m reading a novel by Timothy Findley as he always puts me in a funk. I’ve sworn off Timothy Findley. Nobody does weird and sensitive like John Irving. I think that Nicole Krauss may have written one of the most beautiful novels ever when she wrote A History of Love. I don’t think I could read another book for a month after I finished that one. I seem to be rambling here, that’s what books do to me.
My first date with my husband was almost our only date as at the time I was reading Solzhenitsyn and I think Papa Bear may have found me pretentious not to mention that I think he was somewhat aghast that I was unaware of Solzhenitsyn’s anti-semitic views. Although this entry is not about our date let me just add that the fact that we went to see Fatal Attraction and I said that Glenn Close had a point (I meant regarding culpability) did nothing to light any sparks between us.
After we had our first child I did not read for a year, I was barely able to focus on t.v. commercials. Of course this did not last but that wasted year still makes me a little sad. So many books, so little time. I have developed a strong love of Canadian fiction. I find that Canadian authors write very succinctly. My days of Proust are long gone. I don’t want any detail that is not relevant to the story. Tell me a great or a witty or a beautiful tale but don’t bother telling me about the sunlight glistening off the dew on the green spring buds. I don’t care. I want a great story.
Here comes the confession (believe it or not my book snobbery is not the confession). I’ve been reading trash lately. A lot of trash. I blame my i-Pad. Papa Bear lovingly got me one for my birthday thinking that the Kindle app would be just the thing for me. Books in Canada are very expensive although the price has come down somewhat recently and our bookshelves are overflowing. Many Amazon e-books are not available in Canada. What the hey? Trashy books are cheap, plenty available, sometimes the dialogue is very witty and believe me there’s no extraneous detail.
I need a literary intervention. I have headed down a dark and scary road that may well lead to my ruin.