It’s a good sign in my mind when random people around me comment on the book I carry with me. I brought She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb) to work last week. It sat on my desk while I charted, filed paperwork, and went about my day. There’s a bathroom in my office that my coworkers use, as well as a copier. Not one, not two, but three different ladies I work with paused as they walked by my desk to inform me that that, “Is a really great book.” One of them went so far as to go home that night, find another of his works, and bring it to me the next day. “Spring cleaning. Don’t mind the highlighted parts, this one spoke to me.” I Know this Much is True (Wally Lamb). My book recommendation guru Lady Lynsey loves this one, and has never offered a recommendation I didn’t enjoy. It’s now planted firmly on my TBR pile.
Lamb did a fantastic job writing as a young female. I identified with Dolores in some (thankfully not all) aspects of her life. Her rage, her self identity, her life, it all spills on the page. Despite it feeling draggy through some of the middle, I read on. I cried a few times, I felt rage (mostly during the D. days. Hate him!) , and laughed out loud as I read.Whether I like a book or not, I consider it powerful if it evokes strong emotions in me.
This piece was one that ended up being appropriate for me to read at this time in my life. Right now my sister is having some health concerns. I’ve moved so I’m far enough away that I can’t just be there in an instant. I’m alone in a semi unfamiliar city. And life feels overwhelming sometimes. This book helped me release some of the pent up anger and sadness I’ve been ignoring, like the elephant in the room.
It was a random library selection too. Chosen on a day I went to the RPL to walk the stacks and calm my racing heart, burning eyes, and soothe the lump that was forming in my throat. Books soothe me.
I haven’t mentioned that my other passion in life is snailmail…or rather, connecting with people from all walks in life, in places I may or may not dream of going too. There is a therapeutic feel to writing my pen friends letters. There is a feeling of certain bliss when I find letters or postcards in my mailbox.
One of my newest pen friends is from Vienna Austria. Will we write each other a handful of times and then stop or spend years sending letters back and forth? Some penpals fade and others last a life time. What I’m excited about with her letters is, she is not only from Vienna, a place I would love to travel too and am excited to hear about,but she works in the national library in Vienna. She sent me a postcard in the letter of the beautiful Book Space, which had my fingers typing as fast as they could in google. I needed to see more.
Their library is in a palace! It’s more of a work of art than library. I imagine my heels clicking across that beautiful floor, tilting my head up to see the beauty around me, and getting lost in the stacks, marveling at all of the beautiful books. Slow, deep even breathes. In a word, paradise.
I’m the type of girl who wants to see the local library any time I travel to a new space. I’m also the type of girl who would travel somewhere just to experience a Book Space. Someday, I’ll spin in a circle in this library and feel a thrill at crossing one more item off of my bucket list.
With the BBC’s War & Peace adaptation, one of my Lady Loves who isn’t much of a reader mentioned she’d like to pick the novel up. We were at my kitchen table, the sunshine spilling through the patio door. “My Dad says they’re staying true to the characters and story. I watched part of one of the episodes and I’m interested.”
“In War & Peace?” I asked, double checking. This massive tome of a book with over 1300 pages?
“Yeah. Why not?” Her face was straight and I couldn’t tell if she was serious or ready to laugh. I went with it & offered her the copy I inherited from my Grandpa. She accepted. I pulled it out from the stack of books it was in, a picture frame resting on top of it…More decoration than reading material really.
My Lady Love left that weekend (she was visiting from my previous city) started it, and snapchatted me that I should read it with her. She having my copy could have been an excuse. But strength in numbers right? If I’m going to tackle this massive tome I may as well do it with a Lady Love or two (I contacted a second Lady Love and suggested she read it with us, especially since she primarily goes for classics). I checked it out from RPL and am wondering how this will turn out.
Which brings me here. What do you say Dear Reader, have you read it or bypassed?