Wednesday, November 7, 2012

BoOOOk! (Say it Like a Sanderson Sister)

On the suggestion of a friend, I started reading a new book. It's called Divergent, and it's the first in a trilogy by Veronica Roth. It has kind of a Hunger Games feel to it, and I like it so far. The only problem is that I've been sucked into an incomplete book series. I'm a pretty patient person, but I hate waiting for the next book. This is somewhat reminiscent of the Harry Potter waits and I just don't know if I can go through that again.

The thing is that it really is a risk getting into a book series. It's an emotional investment! You fall in love with characters! You laugh, you cry, you scream, you throw the book against the wall in a fit of rage! (Don't laugh, a friend of mine actually did this while reading The Help.)

I once read every single book in "The Cat Who..." series by Lillian Jackson Braun. That was over a TEN-YEAR LONG commitment for me. I discovered her books when I was 11 and then somehow got away from them. Then I picked them up again sometime last year and continued my journey with James Qwilleran, Koko, and Yum-Yum through many a murder mystery adventure. I was completely re-invested. Then I got to the last book and Braun started ruining my life.

She was killing off favorite characters and ruining relationships and sending people to Paris! I was angry. But there was a glimmer of hope. There was one more book from 2008 that wasn't published for some reason. Ah, sweet redemption! Here was Lillian's chance to make things up to me, to set things right, to let me know that Qwill and the cats and all the residents of Moose County were going to be okay. Maybe there was a chance that it would still be released.

But it wasn't. She died in 2011, and I was annoyed. I ranted and raged! I complained to anyone who would listen! Then I decided to do something about it. I started researching, looking for any information about the plot that would give me peace of mind. Instead I found out that Braun had died in hospice of a lung infection at the age of 97 filled with regret over not finishing the last book.

Great. So know I have an unhappy ending AND I feel like a jerk for being mad at this woman.

I don't think I deserve that kind of guilt.

But as risky as books sometimes are, you can't stop reading. Because books are wonderful things. I learned a long time ago that they're "word windows" and  that "every time you open one, a new adventure has begun." Now isn't that nice? I think so.

So with that in mind I keep on going. And what do you know, this latest book actually taught me something about myself. I wish I could say it was a lesson about courage or strength or my ability to persevere and stand by my convictions in the face of adversity, or any one of those big ticket items that you want to tell your grandkids about someday, but it wasn't.

No, my lesson is this: I act out book imagery.  

Yep. I act out book imagery as if it were stage directions. 

I realized it in the middle of reading this book. 

“I drag the heel of my hand over my cheeks.” So I drag the heel of my hand over my cheeks. 

“She taps her chin.” I tap my chin.

“She has a light laugh, half air and half sound.” I try a bunch of different laughs until I know what the author is talking about.

It’s a tool for understanding. Or I’m crazy. But really it’s a tool for understanding.

It’s also a testament to my particular learning style. I’m more of a tactile, touchy-feely, hands-on learner.

Do you see how I'm rationalizing the oddity? Is it working? Thought so. Nailed it.

See, books are wonderful things. They can teach us about ourselves without even trying. Maybe this time it wasn't one of the big things, but I'm pretty okay with that. It was one more thing I didn't know before, so I'll take it.

P.S. I guess technically, I could still tell my grandkids about this. If they're anything like me, it'll be at least somewhat entertaining.

P.P.S. I also totally decided once that someday when I’m old, I’m going to pretend to be senile and tell stories about my life that are really plot lines from 90’s shows. Like that time I was afraid to leave my stoop until my friend with the weird shaped head helped me overcome my fears. Then I’ll recall my stint as a newscaster providing vital information for everyday life. And I’ll talk about learning how to R-E-C-Y-C-L-E recycle and how garbage day is a very dangerous day.

I am going to be an awesome old person. Count on it.

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