Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rapt, Rapturous, Enraptured

If you read this blog at all you know that I read a lot. More than a lot, actually. I read like alcoholics drink. Wildly, with abandon, never satiated. I always have one, two, even three books going simultaneously. I never have less than four books waiting in the wings, ready to be picked up the moment they are needed.

But every once in a while, and generally by surprise, my wild run through the literature section is pulled up short, and I am completely arrested by a book. When this happens I want to hang on to that book. Hang on to it's feeling, bask in it, and not let it slip away by starting something new.

I finished reading Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos late Monday night, and here it is two days later, and still, still. It is consuming me.

You can read the synopsis to learn what it's about (don't worry it's not mindless chic lit) but the plot, while good, wasn't the main attraction for me. What I really loved about this book was the language. I wanted to snuggle up in its similes and curl up with its adjectives. I found myself marveling at her sentence structure, spontaneously saying outloud, "Look at that! Can you do that? That's just ... wow." This is a woman who savors language, and knows it is a living fluid thing. I like that in a woman, and in a writer.

When I wasn't going gaa-gaa over her vocabulary and spectacular skill with a comma, I was falling in love and identifying (to an alarming degree) with her main character, Cornelia. I read these sentences,
If I were to ever have a full-fledged vocation, as opposed to a half-assed avocation, I needed to love it and, in my experience, it isn't always easy to figure out what you love. You'd think it would be, but it isn't.
and I felt compelled to ask Ms. de los Santos to keep her little mitts out of my soul. Because there in two lovely little sentences she summed up what I spend hours agonizing over. How did she do that? Alarming? Yes, but also comforting and exhilarating. And terribly, terribly engaging.

If you're a reader, you understand. It's bittersweet finding a book that has this kind of pull over you. The kind of pull that makes you want to buy a crate of them and wallpaper your living room with the pages. Just so you can be surrounded by the words and pause when putting down the mail, or dusting a side table to read a few lines and remember. You love it for so many reasons. But you also hate it. You race toward the end -- oh how you race! -- but with each passing page you get a little bit sadder. Soon it will end. You will have experienced it all. And you will never be able to discover it again for the very first time. It is the happiest tragedy that I know of.

But, alas. I, we, all of us, can take comfort in the fact that there is surely another such book out there. Our only choice is to read like the dickens (but don't limit yourself to only Dickens) and find it. Best of luck to you! I'll be here resting happily with Love Walked In, for just a few moments longer, before I rush back in to join the pursuit.


Mandee said...

I just bought that book- I'm so glad to hear that it's a good one!

Ruth & Ryan said...

You just summed up this feeling so well. I both love and hate that feeling of finishing an amazingly satisfying book. "It is the happiest tragedy I know." Brilliant!

Ruth & Ryan said...

Hey, I hope you don't mind but I'm quoting you on my blog!

Thad said...

So I see all the "Google" ads on your blog and I admit, at first I am a bit concerned, you know being the "stuffed-shirt Utah boy" that I am, about all the coffee ads. Is the east coast rubbing off or are your "flaming" beanhouse experiences just catching advertisers eyes? Either way, your blog is still the best- I find myself a bit questioning if all these mishaps can really happen to one individual. Maybe I should open my eyes a bit and see what jems I unearth here in the slums of Provo.

nckuhn said...

it seems to me that all these mishaps have one common denominator... g, are you doing something that you need to be talking to the authorities about? arson, murder, you know, that kind of stuff?

Camie said...

I support all of these mishaps, they are the makings of some fabulous posts.