Reading Railroad

i have officially given up on The Historian. Five-hundred pages in, I got stuck. I would just look at it sitting on my little table and not want to pick it up. That meant that I didn’t read anything (by any ‘thing’ i mean ‘book,’ for i read loads of other things: blogs and ads and emails and page proofs and food packages…) for two weeks. I’ll try again in a few years. So I’ve walked it out to the my main bookshelf and put it away. The question is: will I read all the book club posts on it and potentially come across plot spoilers? I think I will.

I made an excellent choice for my post-Historian read: Housekeeping vs. The Dirt by Nick Hornby. I got this book for chrimbo from my aunt & uncle (well, technically for the winter solstice, cause that’s what they celebrate). It’s a collection of Nick’s essays on what he’s reading and his thoughts on reading/writing. A perfectly bookish present for your niece who works in publishing. When I opened it (not in their presence) I must have made a face cause my da said, oh good, I hate Nick Hornby too. The only thing he had read and I had subsequently read was How to Be Good. (I mistakenly plucked my da’s copy out of a box on its way to Goodwill, along with The Alchemist.) I only vaguely remember the plot of it now but I do know I thought it was dreadfully useless, not funny, and trying very hard to be clever. Off to Goodwill it went with the half-read copy of The Alchemist.

So I wasn’t too jazzed about more Hornby. But since I am SO open-minded, I gave him a shot. I decided my litmus test with Housekeeping v. Dirt would be his reaction to The Dirt — the Motley Crue memoir — cause I had a very strong one. Two years ago, I started reading it and had this to report after 50 pages: i abhor them [motley crue]. they are vile and nasty and have done and then reported to the world plainly & simply terrible things. I literally threw the book across the room in disgust.

The Dirt didn’t pop up til late in this very slim book (such a nice change post-historian) and by the time it did, Nick and I were getting along quite well. I quite enjoyed reading about what he was reading about. He does try to be clever but I found him charming and most of the time, well, clever. It had the same appeal to me as Kerry’s blog: how books come to you, how you read them, and what you think of them (among other bits & bobs about life) from a writer’s perspective.

Reading the essay about The Dirt made me laugh out loud on the streetcar. He reprints one particularly awful sentence from the book in teeny tiny print so you must participate in your own corruption.

And weirdly, The Dirt isn’t a bad book. For a start, it’s definitive, if you’re looking for the definitive book on vile, abusive, misogynistic behavior: if there are any worse stories than this in rock and roll, they aren’t worth telling, because the human mind would not be capable of comprehending them without the aid of expert gynecological and pharmaceutical assistance.
….
Oh, but what do any of these things matter? Is it really possible that Motley Crue have destroyed all the literature in the world, everything that came before them, and everything written since? I rather fear it is.

So there you have it. I (of course) had a more rageful, less funny response to the book but Nick and I agreed. I’d read his essays again. (I’ll still give his fiction a pass though and wait to rent the film adaptations.)

Next up: Lullabies for Little Criminals. Super Club Member Barbie B gave me a copy over Chrimbo and it’s been waiting to be read. I picked it up off the shelf yesterday and do quite love it (about 100 pgs in). Excellent time to start it: yesterday it won Canada Reads.

On the way to meet Erin after work yesterday, I was reading it on the 501 streetcar and the woman beside me was spying on it, trying to read the odd sentence here and there. When I put it away just before my stop, she asked me what I thought of it so far and we had a very brief bookish conversation, which included us saying in unison, “Canada Reads!” What could be better than that?

After a very romantic candlelit dinner, Erin and I made our way over to Tasha’s via the Eaton Centre. We stopped in Sephora (a make-up emporium) to smell some super-sweet perfumes (Brit’s perfume totally won the smell test). And in addition to lip plumper & bronzer, they were selling a Sephora edition of Monopoly. Who the frak would buy that? That is absurd, right?

My mum just called. Tomorrow we are going on a wee road trip out to the Lake Huron hood (with da in the car and maybe a sibling or cousin too) to look at a house where my mum might happily live when she retires. Guess where the house is? CooCoo Valley. Perfect.

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2 thoughts on “Reading Railroad

  1. that would be a perfect retirement town!! i mis syou lady – soz work it so crazy and i am rubbish on the emails.xx

  2. I have things to say: 1) I like why you like my blog. 2) How To Be Good was the most disappointing book ever. It didn’t deserve to be a book, I felt. 3) Lullabies for Little Crims is upcoming for me. And 4) I think Britney looks really pretty with a shaved head. I just hope she starts feeling pretty soon.

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