Today I biked to Barnes & Noble in the rain. Big raindrops. But yesterday was a day of intensive housework, which I always think a waste of time, and I had to get out of the house.
It might be said I am sated with books. There are thousands of books in my house. Many of them call as I walk by: “Read me, read me!” And eventually I do.
If a storm temporarily shut down the city, as happened last January, I wouldn’t need to leave the bedroom. There are 100 books in the bedroom alone. I could read Doris Lessing’s Martha Quest or The Collected Stories of William Trevor. I could read through the storm, padding out to the kitchen occasionally to make sandwiches for my family.
But today I had to buy a gift, and, due to the internet’s influence, I had a long list of books to scrutinize. The reviews said, Good! Good! Good! Reviewers just aren’t always truthful, though. I was contented at the prospect of browsing.
Now this wasn’t just for me, you understand, though I wanted to read it. I thought of it as a gift for The Relative. She has no books in her nursing home room. None.
And she likes Daphne du Maurier. So I thought: AHA! This “homage” is the book for her.
Only I sat and read a few pages and it didn’t seem very well-written. I was disappointed. Somehow I couldn’t see fobbing this off on the Relative. It really seemed a better idea to buy her a book by Daphne du Maurier. So I found a copy of My Cousin Rachel and threw it in my basket.
Naturally I couldn’t leave without buying at least ONE book for myself. Austin Wright’s Tony and Susan, a 1993 thriller being promoted as a neglected classic, seems readable and has an intriguing opening paragraph:
“This goes back to the letter Susan Morrow’s first husband Edward sent her last September. He had written a book, a novel, and would she like to read it? Susan was shocked because, except for Christmas cards from his second wife signed ‘Love,’ she hadn’t heard from Edward in twenty years.”
Of course I am gullible about “lost masterpieces,” but I hope it will be entertaining, and I can definitely pass this on to the Relative when I’m done.
The other book I bought? Lev Grossman’s The Magician King. I love fantasy novels, and since everyone is raving about this, and some reviewers even compared it to the Narnia books, I decided to give it a shot. I CAN’T read George R. R. Martin, the novel of the summer, but I need to keep up with SOME pop novels.
I am definitely stuck with this one. The Relative thinks fantasy novels are “weird.”