I've been running around quite a bit these days, cobbling together new client work in the wake of losing a big one, and I've found myself with twenty minute stretches of time on my hands. Rather than continue reading the novel I've started, I prefer to swipe at my bookshelves and grab whatever seems appropriate at the moment. As my bookshelves are flush against the wall the also holds my front door, I'm able to do this each time I leave. Grab a book, go. Grab and go.
Two recent grab & go reads have me floored. Wow-ed. In awe and ah.
- Roy Kesey's short story collection All Over is delicious. Delicious. I read the first achingly beautiful story, "Invunche y voladora", yesterday and I'm...so impressed and jealous and thrilled. His writing feels familiar, yet fresh. The beats are different, the rhythms slightly off and they work on your (at least my) mind in a peculiar way. Kesey's brand of the familiar turned upside down is particularly good, so that as you read you feel you know the situation, you might even know people like those people, and this pays off in the big realization: this could happen to you. I've been unsuccessfully trying to do this for years and it was exhilarating to see it on the page. With every sentence, every paragraph, I thought "Yes! Yes! This is what I've been trying to do! This is so good!" Not brilliant for me, of course, but oh so brilliant for Kesey. Really good stuff. So good. Treat yourself. Read it. Today.
- The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion - I've been on a Didion kick recently. Sometimes I find I need to revisit her stylings to clear my head. To see how much can be said with so little. I have everything she's ever written and she's one of the only authors I ever re-read. And so I grabbed Magical Thinking the other day, thinking I'd just dip in again. Slight problem: I forgot that I've not yet read this book. Bizarre. I've had whole dinner conversations with people about this book and I've not read it, but somehow thought I had. How do I know for sure I've only read it for the first time this week? The first three pages absolutely gutted me. Gutted. I would have remembered such gutting, I'm quite sure. I sat in the car waiting for Mr. Counterbalance to run an errand and I wept. Tears rolling down my face as I sat in the passenger seat of the car in the parking lot of Union Station. Three pages of Didion = weeping in public. I haven't read any further. Not sure that I'm up to it yet. But damn can that woman write. Damn.
With this kind of luck on my first two grab & gos of the week, who knows what else I'll find. Perhaps this will become a regular mode of reading for me, dipping in here, checking in there. All while the "big" read waits for me back at home. We'll see. More on both of these books as soon as I've finished them.