Monday, April 19, 2010

eat some potato peel pie.

i don't usually go all evangelical about books--i am a book nerd, i know that i am a book nerd, and i also know that most of the things that i like are looked down upon by the general reading public or by the high falutin' reading elite as either "too hard" or "too boring" or "pure fluff" with "no meaningful political or revolutionary tendencies."

that ends today.

because of one book, the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society. 

the reason i don't usually get all googly-eyed and fervent about YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK is because, honestly, i don't like it when people do it to me. i like the more sedate "hey. you will like this." my roommate did that to me a couple of times and every time she was right but she wasn't all rabid about it.

so i'll try not to be rabid here.  let me tell you a couple of things about me, books, and this novel, and it will probably tell you everything you need to know.

despite being able to cry easily at movies, tv shows, and the pathos-laden publix commercials (you know, the one where the kids bakes his mom the heart-shaped cake? every.single.time), i do not cry when reading. i don't know if the visuals normally get me, or if being intellectually engaged in the act of reading requires me to maintain some distance, or if authors don't normally have the power to do it, but i don't cry.  i might have cried when i read grapes of wrath. that was 11th grade. i can't remember the last one that did.

i cried three times during this book.  i was surprised each time.

i normally dislike reading letters.  they bore me.  i like the narrative voice better, and i have a long dislike of epistolary novels because i had to study them.

i don't think i've ever read a clearer narrative voice than the one that comes through these letters. they are brilliant.

being the literary critic that i am, i can almost always find some sort of fault with a book i read--the narrative wasn't tight enough, the author spent too long getting to the end, the characters weren't fully dimensional, etc.

i can't find a thing wrong with this book except that it was entirely too short and i desperately want to read more.

i love these characters--genuinely, 100% love them.  since it's a book about a writer getting to love the people she begins to correspond with, i feel like that's just a mark of the brilliance of these writers--they made me feel what the characters felt.  i'm a tough audience.

they did it. it's a brilliant book. you will be better off for having read it, which i can't always say for my frivolous reading.  this book is far from frivolous.

and now that i feel like i'm on a really advanced episode of reading rainbow, i will stop. except to say this: i began going to the library and stealing hours of time in my week (often putting off what needed to be done but still getting it done) to read at the beginning of april.

i don't think it's a coincidence that the claustrophobic, panicky stress that i had been feeling for eight months, since i really stopped taking any time for myself at all other than the gym (which evokes a whole other kind of stress), has almost entirely disappeared. at the time in the semester that i should be the most petrified, freaked out, and catatonic with stress, i am managing. i read, i do my work, i cook, i clean, i just do what needs to be done.

sometimes, you need to find your bliss and make time for it. mine is books.  why did i forget that for so long? why did i think it was so bad to do something for myself?

no more.  you'll now find in the sidebar a list of books that i've read since beginning my furtive little library trips.  i think i will keep track of just how many books i can read between now and my summer class beginning.  we'll see if i can beat my childhood record of 10-12 a week. 

i think i can. 

in the meantime, read this book. seriously. 


  1. That book is amazing. So many people raved about it that I was slightly skeptical but I felt the same way you did--in that I was hoping the book wouldn't end. Such a freaking good book.

    Can't wait to see what else you start to read. :)

  2. I'm glad I wasn't rabid. I know I can be.

    Book added to the list.