Many years ago when I was in my twenties, I quit a job I hated, left a life that wasn't making me happy, and moved home to New Brunswick to get myself back on track. I was determined to try to recapture all those things that had somehow fallen out of my life after years of living in the big city. And to focus on a career in teaching. Oh yeah... and I swore off men. Especially the kind of men I'd been meeting: good-looking, but unreliable, and overall too smooth by half. After a year down east, sufficiently refreshed, and retooled, so to speak, I moved back to the city. And in the first few weeks of teaching, I met Hubby.
I didn't intend to meet anyone. I didn't, in fact, want anything to distract me from achieving my goals. But, after numerous lunches in the school staff room, and conversations over coffee, we had our first date in mid-December. Then a movie or two, a few dinners, several cross-country skiing dates and, by late January, the writing was on the wall. He was much more emphatic, more sure about things than me. I was more hesitant, less trusting. I guess I was a bit gun shy, slightly commitment phobic. We spent more and more time together. Talked on the phone for hours at night. I remember thinking that things were moving too swiftly. I wrote in my journal that the situation felt as if I was negotiating a steep set of stairs in high heels, one tentative step, then another, then catching my heel on something, and tumbling all the way to the bottom. I was tumbling all right. Unable to catch myself. And not sure anymore that I wanted to catch myself. Sometimes love is like falling downstairs... except less painful. Ha.
And now, here is my point... sometimes reading is like falling in love. Really. Let me explain.
You pick a book off the shelf on a casual visit to the library. You start reading, and suddenly you can't put it down. You don't intend to read until the wee hours, but you are so captivated by the characters, so desirous of finding out what happens next that you are... well... infatuated. The hours simply fly by; time has no meaning when you're reading a book like this. You can't spend enough time with your book. You think about it even when you're apart.
See what I mean? Just like falling in love.
|Lippman's third Tess Monaghan novel|
That's what it's been like for me lately. I've been caught up in a vortex of reading. Tumbling into one fictional world after another, unable to put my book down. Or turn out the light at night. Stuffing my book into my purse when I'm off to a doctor's appointment, pulling it out in the waiting room, annoyed when my name is finally called because my reading has been interrupted. Stopping for a coffee in between errands and pulling out my book for fifteen minutes or so. It seems as if I've spent most of the past few weeks with my nose happily stuck in a book.
I've been catching up on a few older novels by writers I enjoy. Like Laura Lippman. I read my first Lippman book after her work was recommended by a former student, Sarah Weinman, who is now a book critic. Sarah is really smart, and a great writer herself. And she knows crime fiction. When we met for coffee a few years ago she told me that she has a masters degree in forensic science. Sarah's claim, in an article in 2013, that Lippman's stand-alone book And When She Was Good was the best crime novel of the year started me reading Lippman.
|Peter Robinson at a book signing in the UK source|
Hubby and I also like the television series DCI Banks based on Robinson's books. And although I do have a hard time seeing actor Stephen Tomkinson without his Ballykissangel dog collar, we enjoy the show. Maybe as much for the Yorkshire scenery as anything. Critics seem to agree that although it's not anywhere near as good as other TV mystery series, like Poirot or Shetland , it's not bad.
The books, however, are another matter. No damning them with faint praise. I hustled home from the library, put the kettle on, and Sleeping in the Ground had me tumbling down a reading rabbit hole within a few pages. Good thing Hubby was making dinner that night.
|Robinson's newest Banks novel|
|Chris Brookmyre source|
So last week, I was excited to see that the newest Brookmyre was waiting for me at the library. My name had been on the list for months. I rushed to pick it up, and like with the Robinson book, was thereafter glued to the couch, intent on my book. For days. Rising only to attend the Vintage Clothing Show last weekend. Then to spend a day shopping with my sister early in the week. And there was skating and coffee with the girls on another day. Then shopping for new flooring with Hubby on Friday. And while all of those things were fun, I have to admit, a small part of me really wanted to be home with my book.
Brookmyre's latest Jack Parlbane adventure is so much fun to read. There's a lovely engaging young character, named Samantha, who is a hacker extraordinaire. And Parlabane, of course, who is still trying to regain control of his life and his career in journalism. The relationship between the two characters, puts me in mind of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander from Stieg Larsen's novels. Although Brookmyre's characters are much less damaged than Larsen's, and his plots are less violent. Parlabane and Sam also remind me a little of Kate Atkinson's character Jackson Brodie and his friendship with sixteen year old Reggie in When Will There Be Good News. Gosh, I loved that book too.
There you have it. That's what I've been up to for the past while. Galloping through one book after another. Trying to NOT read all the time. Trying to NOT think about the current book I'm reading when I'm doing other things that need to be done. But that's love for you, folks. Keeps you awake at night. Occupies your every waking thought. Well, almost. You know, I may have to take a break from reading for a little while. Things have been getting way too serious between us.
And speaking of serious relationships. When I told Hubby of the analogy I was making in my post, between reading and falling in love. And how I wrote in my journal when we were first dating that it felt like falling downstairs, he quipped: "I guess you could say I swept you off your feet." Ha. Good one.
And then we laughed about the night he called me and sang an Elvis song. You have to know Hubby to understand how funny that was. He's quite reserved, and often serious. And I had no idea that he could sing like Elvis. So when I picked up the phone that night so many years ago, and heard this deep warbling voice sing, "Are you lonesome tonight. Do you miss me tonight?" I almost hung up. And then when I realized it was him, I fell over laughing. Even more so when he said that it was a good thing I recognized his voice after the first two lines because he didn't know the rest of the song.
Have a listen to the real thing, if you want.
I seem to be on a run of reading only mystery and crime novels lately. I do become infatuated with more serious books from time to time. But mystery novels were my first love. Ever since I was eight or nine and read my first Trixie Belden book.
Now, that is definitely a serious long term relationship.
How about you folks? What books are you falling for these days?
This week I'm joining Thursday Favourite Things Link Party and Saturday Share Link-up