Friday, September 7, 2012

At Weddings and Wakes

A  few weeks back I was out to dinner with some friends and the conversation rolled around to book club books.

And suddenly I was a fish out of water.

Not quite in the same way, mind you, as I am when others are discussing sports, politics, current events, television shows or movies. . . but a flapping fish none-the-less.  And let me just share a secret with you:  The reason for my evasiveness when speaking of things current is that I AM TOTALLY OBLIVIOUS TO THE HAPPENINGS OF THE WORLD BECAUSE I SPEND ALL OF MY AVAILABLE TIME-AND-BRAIN POWER HOLED UP ON MY COUCH READING!!!

Well now it's become painfully clear that I can't take part in literary discussions either.  BECAUSE I READ THE MOST BORING STUFF ON EARTH!!!

Who the hell is going to discuss the merits of American Ex-pats in France in the 19th century?  Who cares about the Russian Revolution?   Hadrian's Wall?  Catherine the Great's Lovers?

Who else is blown away by the fact that Tudor and Plantagenet kings had a Groom of the Stool???  Who even knows what a Plantagenet is? Was?  Eliminated?

Can you show me another idiot who has read an entire tome on the building of The Brooklyn Bridge and another on The Panama Canal?

And tell me. . . Is there another lunatic out there who has to restrict their reading to classics and non-fiction because - if she didn't - she would find herself overly-engrossed in any novel she gets her hands on and not come up for air until it is finished?

Fish out of water, I told you.

The beached whale of book clubs. 

But see that little book at the tippy-top of this post?   I read it on Monday.   Squeezed it right between perusing the biographical notes on Tolstoy first thing in the morning and a re-reading of Pride and Prejudice after dinner.

And what a beauty she was. . .

Now I chose it - knowingly departing from my self-imposed ban on novel consumption - because it fit in with my first and foremost love which everyone knows is ALL THINGS IRISH.   And it did not disappoint.  That 163-page novel coaxed childhhod memories out of me like a turkish taffy of Irish-Catholicism.  For how else would I ever have remembered my disappointment on first biting a jordan almond?  My wonder at the floating-bakery-string-dispenser? My envy of my older brothers all-so-important altar server duties?

What a beautiful and descriptive little story this was!  And how it helped to be reminded once again that minutia matters. . .

Thank you, Alice McDermott. Thank you for helping to resurrect MY history.

And thank you for giving me something to rave about for a change.

Oh what?
Now you think I'm a RAVING lunatic???

and, guess what?

Turns out our little Alice has penned a number of books so my ALL THINGS BROOKLYN can easily morph into ALL THINGS ALICE. . . after I finish my little detour to Austenland, that is. . .