Thursday, August 7, 2008

You Had Me at Hello...

Amybow visited me this week and accused me of being a lazy blogger. I told her indeed I am not, I am a busy blogger, just not busy blogging...and I am a sad blogger because during my downtime I have been succumbing to the absence of my maniacal pet who drove me crazy on a daily basis and now leaves my life strangely devoid of presence.

Amybow's further accusatory statements included, "You're just retyping someone else's words." and I am shamefaced to admit it is so. I used a great great grandfather as a crutch. I will continue his story, but will only post one entry per week so that my own voice will ring out again.

The last few days, I have found a friend in a new book on CD - Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Given to me by my fellow commuter - Boss Lady - she warned me that the book opens with a rather glutunous outpouring of self-pity and depression but if I hung on I would get into it.

Um. OK. Sounds like the ideal thing for me to be listening to right now. Especially on a road-rage filled highway as I travel to my insane job or to my stunningly empty house.

But...despite Boss Lady's warning, this book had me at Hello. I think it is the IDEAL time for me to be listening to this book. It is about a brave self-discovery in the face of crippling emotional, chemical, and physical depression. And when I realized it was being read by the author - and is a true portrayal of her life over one year of travels through Italy, India, and Indonesia, I sank even deeper into the story.

I listened to this book this week when I was stuck in 2 hours of rush hour traffic. And loved every minute of the delay. I listened to this book when I stayed much too late at work to get my head above water after several weeks of sticking to my 6:30PM departure deadlines, and I wished that the drive home had taken longer. I have a feeling I may listen to this book more than once...and I will probably want to buy the book and revel in its pages as well.

Have you ever had that kind of immediate and intimate connection with a story? I felt it also with the "Dogs of Babel", which I was stunned to realize was written by a woman, while I felt it captured a man's voice exceptionally well.

If I look way back in my life I think I recall the first time this connection happened, and once again it was an auditory experience, not a visual one. In 5th grade, the three grade-level teachers each selected a book and created a slot for reading to a group and then allowed all 5th graders to select which book they wished to read in a group setting. It was like a several week long extended storytime at a bookstore...hearing these teachers who were trying so hard to teach us long division and basic principles of science and history, snuggle down in a chair with us surrounding them seated "indian" fashion, and enter a world of fantasy or adventure. I participated in three reading groups that year - and to this day I remember each teacher's name and the book they read. Mr. Loun read, The Long Walk by SÅ‚awomir Rawicz. Mr. Ferrington read The Fantastic Voyage by Isaac Asimov, and my favorite - the one that touched my soul - was Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. There is nothing like a boy and his dogs story.

So now, if this book plays out as good as the first few chapters, I can add a new book to my short-list of favorites. Those books that speak to your soul and are the ones you know will be dog-eared and well-worn as you read and re-read them year after year. The books that had you at Hello.


so NOT cool said...

I did enjoy this book. I read it shortly after the author appeared on Oprah. She seemed so gentle, accepting, open-minded, and that really appealed to me.

I think that it's the perfect book to be listening to during rush-hour traffic!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

It is great when a book grabs you. Interestingly enough, I was so-so on EPL and couldn't get into Dogs of Babel at all.

Now the Time Traveler's Wife . . .

Mister-M said...

Eat, Pray, Love is awful (IMO, obviously). I'll spare any formal review until you've finished it... something neither I nor DW could do.

Jenn... I just finished The Time Traveler's Wife. I was absolutely riveted and engrossed. What a wonderful love story... immeasurably creative book. I'd read it again and again.

Others I've read recently and rated very highly:

The Road

White Oleander

All about relationships of one sort or another. A special thanks to DW, who has been my source of book recommendations. 3-for-3 and I can't wait to ask her for her next recommendation.


AmyBow said...

Good lord, I am a horrible person. I didn't mean to make you feel bad. I just really meant that I missed "hearing" your voice.

I enjoyed Eat.Pray.Love too. My "hello" books are the entire Anne of Green Gables stories. I could still read the entire series and cry about Anne Shirley and Gilbert.

Jo said...

Great post! I was always influenced by the stories of W. Somerset Maugham. He understood the human condition better than almost anyone. His stories were about failure, hope and ultimately redemption. I love that philosophy.

P.S. It's me - Josie. I had to delete my other blog. You can reconnect to me through this comment. I hope you will visit me again.

Minnesota Matron said...

The book that had me at hello lately was Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout. Wow. And, THe Road, Cormac McCarthy. Great reads!!!