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Don’t read too much into it.

August 26, 2012

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It’s there in my purse, in my car, on the counter. In the bed, by the tub, on the porch. I can’t seem to shake this book, not that I’m trying, because I’m not, but, still, shouldn’t it just be near my chair or by the good light, someplace book-stable? Some place. Not every place. But this book. This book that follows me everywhere. The pages purr under my thumb when I’m on the phone; I suppose the ritualized pop of the sateen cover is now unheard as it is pushed in and pulled out of my bag. The flyaway pages are turned at the corners, edges marred with smudges from the fat kindergarten pencil tucked inside, found in the seat pocket when I was waiting in a drive-thru line at a bank or some drug store.

I don’t even know if the book is any good and after whispering a recommendation, I decided to see if anyone else thought it was worth reading and, well, good ‘ole Annie, I started with ‘one star’ and worked my way back. Not really, though, because I only worked back to halfway through the ‘two stars’ because I hate book reviews because, in short, I really don’t care what other people think about the books they read. But in this instance, after saying “you should read this book”, I felt a spasm of guilt and a moral obligation to cover my ass.

I know I’m not a mainstream reader. I like my books like I like my people, big on character development and short on plot. I want to get to know story-people, not ride the safety-tested, Honors English approved Story Structure Roller Coaster with them. I want to float the Lazy River under an evening sun, dip my tired hands in the cool water. I want the House of Mirrors, maladies of proportion and beauty, not my feet on hot coals while I’m tweaking on meth and/or Pop-Tarts.

Dear Beautiful Writer Person,

Give me a slow jam. A jolt of poetry. Make me want to listen to Burn by Ray LaMontagne. All. Night. Long. Let me cry with your creation, curse his enemies, drink their wine, and develop a stalker-ish crush on her boyfriend/husband/lover. Wrap it all up with an unsatisfying bow and I’ll be yours forever.

Love, your fan,

Annie

As I was saying, I don’t even know if this book is any “good”. One would think it is because it has the precious New York Times Bestseller label on the front, but I’m not on terms with the New York Times Bestseller list, and in fact I’m not on terms with Kindle Bestsellers or B&N Bestsellers or anyone’s most purchased, fan pick, or county fair winner. It’s also adorned with about three pages of stunning remarks from some well-known authors and some not-so-well-known-to-me folks, but none of that matters either. I just flat-out like it.

And God knows I’m certainly not known for my ability to judge greatness, or even mediocrity for that matter, but I do know what I like, what sounds good in my head and to my ear, what makes me want to write inside the margin or fold the pages back or snap a photograph of a passage. These pages are well-folded and filled with wispy arrows and wavy lines and tall curling brackets. And I find myself re-reading those lines and grafs that have already kissed me rather than venturing farther into the party.

What if the rest doesn’t leave me breathless or heartbroken or drooling exclamation points and loopty-loops along the outside of those uniform lines of prose? What if those One-starrers are right? I already know that on page one I felt the chemistry and that on page two I was searching for any writing utensil at my disposal and that on page four, six, eleven, twenty-three through twenty-eight, I was in love, and blah, blah, blah. One hundred thirty-two and I’m still here, still glowing, still excited by the words and their order or their meaning, imagined or otherwise, and so I’ve kept it tucked inside my arm or within reach.

Tonight, I’m giving it a sideways look and checking my Facebook (political joke, political hack, political cartoon, fucking cat) and poking around in the kitchen cabinets (Fluff, some stale Kashi something-or-other that has been open for weeks, a roll of athletic tape), but it’s always here, the shiny black and white cover waving me over, lifting and falling on swirling air from above (or from the swinging cabinet doors). Come here, Annie, let me hook you up, girl. These hateful reading glasses that are way too strong and pinch my head remain atop it for an emergency session—like this one—for me to read these pages down off the sill, attend away their relentless lighthouse beckoning. For us both to be tucked in between the sheets.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. imagineannie permalink
    August 26, 2012 10:58 pm

    Well I’m reading it at 12:56 AM and I can’t stop, and nothing iny actual life seems as real as the characters in the book…so, you know, I’m reading a lot into it. It’s no “one star” book, that’s for damned sure.

    • August 26, 2012 11:09 pm

      I KNOW! Tonight I’m trying not to start reading because I know I will still be up at 3:00, but I think I’m just swimming against the current. I may as well give in and roll with the tide, huh?

  2. August 26, 2012 11:01 pm

    what are you doing up so late, crazy annie?

    • August 26, 2012 11:13 pm

      Isn’t it hilarious that I’m still up at 1 a.m. writing instead of reading when what I really want to do is read? Or is that irony? Or just stupid?

  3. August 26, 2012 11:08 pm

    all right. now i need to know what book it is that you’re both reading. give it up.

    • August 26, 2012 11:09 pm

      Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. I’m totally smitten.

  4. August 26, 2012 11:20 pm

    thank you. i’d love it just for the names – book *and* author. taking my corner-dog-eared iPad to the nest. xoxo

  5. August 27, 2012 12:04 am

    Return my diary you sneaky bitch.

    • August 27, 2012 5:19 am

      I adored that book. And this essay-poem. And don’t struggle when caught in the waves. Go with the flow.

    • August 27, 2012 8:31 am

      I saw your name pop up on goodreads when I searched it. I figured that if you approved it, I wasn’t too far off track. We’ve come in pretty close on a lot of the same books. Good company!

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