Saturday, November 28, 2009


I'm last on the list. Number 262 out of 262 at the library holding for my December book club book, The Help. I'll never make it in time. I usually don't have any trouble getting my way, sitting at my computer with my new selection of books ready to get typed in, then a day or two later I'll get an email telling me to head over to the drive-thru down the street and pick up. It's great. See, I don't buy books anymore. It started way back when I realized that it would make a lot of sense to put all of my book budget toward my student loans and these days it's for other reasons - I don't have room, I rarely read a book twice (there are too many other ones out there) and while I've heard that it grosses some people out to read a book so many others have touched, taken to bed, taken to the bathroom, carried around in purses, I like it. It's used, it's shared. Germs can't live that long anyways. Right? So I mentioned my dilemma to a friend who just so happened to have a brand new copy, fresh from the Amazon box that there's no way she could read this week anyway. So I borrowed it. It was pristine. I was the first one ever to open it. It made me nervous. I tried to be careful (the last book I borrowed got left on a plane, sorry Laurel). But the very first night I noticed a little tear in the book cover on the back. Did I do that? I took the thing off and put a small piece of tape on the inside, then carefully put the jacket away in a cupboard, safe from any more harm while I read some more. I read fast, wanting to get it back to my friend ASAP, plus it was just a really good, hard-to-put-down book. It's about a town in Mississippi, race, prejudice, friendship, history, great language and accents. I kept going, speed-reading, but thinking about the fact that I don't own this book, putting it down gently, consciously taking care of it, focusing. Then came the soy sauce. I must have let my guard down hurrying through the last half, because on page 363, it happened. A splash of soy. I tried to clean it up, but it just made it worse. I quit reading and left it open so it could dry. The next day I finished the book, dropped it off at Nancy's and picked up the other book I had been reading, Lit.

Totally different book. A memoir - growing up in the dusty slums of Texas with alcoholics, desperate to be a writer, a poet. Marrying into a wealthy, cold family and moving to Boston, where the alcoholism catches up to her. Incredible, jaw-dropping writing. Where does she find those words? She's just now coming out of her darkest part and I can't wait to finish it. It's a new book, so I can't renew it. Since it sat alone while I raced through The Help, I'm behind. The thing is due today. God, the pressure.

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