Friday, June 16, 2006

In Praise of Light Reading

A publicist of whom I'm very fond sent me a get-well package containing a beautiful bottle of white wine and a copy of a novel she's representing. Her lovely note begins, "Curl up with your cat and this book."

How sweet and considerate! How...FRUSTRATING!

Why? Here, let me count the ways:

1) First and worst of all, given that this is my third concussion--or is it the fourth? my memory's a bit hazy for some reason--I was forbidden any alcohol for six months. (I am much obliged to Miss Snark for her generous offer to have an extra pail of gin in my honor. Check out the especially terrific posts and comments on her blog today.)

2) No curling up for me, thanks to a broken right arm and two bottom ribs.

3) I have to keep my right arm--and myself with it--horizontal as much as possible. Sitting-up time is saved for the computer and meals. So I do almost all my reading lying flat on my back in bed or on the rented electric-powered La-Z-Boy recliner (assuming I can pry Boy Wonder off the latter).

4) Max (see About Me at top) "curls up" by draping his 13-lb self on my chest and nestling his head under my chin, making reading--and sometimes breathing--impossible. Then I usually also have to reach down with my good hand to pet jealous Jenny the dog, who isn't allowed on the furniture.

5) My right hand isn't functioning, so when Max is draped elsewhere, I have to hold up and keep a book open with my left hand alone.

6) The novel the publicist sent is in hardcover, 747 pages, and weighs 2-1/2 POUNDS. I could hardly hold it up closed for a few seconds; forget holding it up open for many hours. Whereas The Great Gatsby is in paperback, 180 pages, and weighs 5-7/8 OUNCES. Guess which book I read yesterday? (More about that in another post.)

I really wanted to read Them by Francine du Plessix Gray, but at almost 2 lbs in hardcover, with 530 pp set in fussy, hard-to-read Centaur MT, I gave up in exhaustion on page 26.

Today I'm reading a year-old ARC of Rattled by Debra Galant, 243 pp, 10-5/8 oz. (Love that new kitchen scale!) The blurb by Tom Perrotta reads: "Debra Galant does for the McMansions of New Jersey what Carl Hiaasen did for the swamps of Florida." I'm only on page 15 and loving it already. And damn if Galant isn't a ringer for Carrie Fisher.

More Lightweight Books to Take to Bed, or Anywhere:
  • The Vanishing Point by Mary Sharratt. Trade paper historical fiction that absolutely won't put you to sleep.
  • When All Is Said and Done by Robert Hill. Hardcover, 220 pp, only 12 oz, and absolutely brilliant! More later.
  • Coupon Girl by Becky Motew. Super-light mass market & a total hoot. Don't be fooled by chick-y cover; Darling Husband, who favors Hiaasen & Mob capers, thought it was a gas too.
  • Around The Next Corner by Elizabeth Wrenn. Trade paper "women's fiction." Don't gag: It's funny, profound & poignant--with an adorable puppy too!
  • I'd Hate Myself in the Morning by Ring Lardner Jr. Hardcover, 224 pp; also in even lighter pb. Memoir of the blacklisted, Academy Award-winning screenwriter, with many creepy parallels to today's political situation

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