I’ve had a little itsy bitsy teeny snafu with my holiday reading plans. One week traveling to visit family in the Midwest and, alas, almost no reading was done. It seems I have cataracts. Yes. I said “cataracts.” Those things our great-grandparents get, though I have apparently hit the jackpot and acquired them at the ripe old age of 45. I’ve managed fine for the last year or so, but last week the clouds came in both eyes and the reading brakes went on. I could have cried. But I was too f-ing mad to cry. I was half-way through Catcher in the Rye and about 20 pages into Michelle Moran’s Cleopatra’s Daughter and then … nothing.
So now that I’m finished feeling sorry for myself, I’ll get on with it. I am not getting the whole Catcher-In-The-Rye-Thing. Halfway in and, honestly, I could care less. Is it because it’s a boy book? And a teenage boy book at that? The narrator’s voice was getting on my nerves and I just kept reading and reading and thinking, “Why do I care what happens to this kid?” And I just didn’t care. For all of you Catcher-Fans out there, my apologies, but I’ve officially given up on this book. God I hate that, but there it is.
As I suspected, Cleopatra’s Daughter is absolutely engaging and interesting and it books right along. Even though I could barely make out the words with my old-lady-eyes, I made myself squint and struggle through about 10 pages a night and was plenty mad when I had to finally give up and put the book down.
The highlight of the week, reading-wise, was our visit to Black Swan Books in Lexington, Kentucky. It’s set up in a Victorian house downtown, and the owner is (as you may or may not imagine) a character. I’ve never seen a used book store that beautiful, that clean and well-organized. What a pleasure! He had an entire wall, glass enclosed, of first editions and author-signed books. He offered Rex a a first edition of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for several hundred dollars, but we had to pass. And then he told us the story of Ralph Steadman, who did all the artwork in that book, and how he and his wife came through the store. He had an excellent copy of Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo which I would love to have, but it was also out of my price range, as well as a near perfect copy of Push. He claims to have an entire collection of William Styron — in his mother’s basement — that I’m very, very, crazily interested in. (If you read this blog regularly, you know I worship at two altars: William Styron and Margaret Atwood.) So he said to call him 2 weeks in advance the next time we come to town and he’ll dig them up out of the basement for us. Wow. Just imagining those great books, down in the dark basement, all alone, makes me sad. I need to see those books! I guess I should be thankful he didn’t have them in the store because, (a) someone ELSE might buy them!, and (b) I might have had to write a big fat check, right there on the spot.
I’m back home in CA — where it is NOT 15 degrees outside! — and will see the eye doctor tomorrow to see if he can fix me. I spent 6 hours on an airplane today playing Scrabble on the iPad because I could see, kinda-sorta, those big letters, but I missed reading so, so much. Hopefully, I can be up and on the books again in no time. Fingers crossed.