Sunday, February 01, 2015

That Was the Slump That Was

A couple of weeks ago, I had a reading slump. I still read, but only fitfully, dipping in and out of books.

These were the only two books I could manage. It's an odd pairing:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Marie Kondo. I understand this choice. I'm moving. My life is all about the tidying process right now. My Korean apartment is similar to her Japanese apartment. I see what she's saying. More importantly, I damn well need to see what she's saying and do likewise. Everything is changing and I could use the magic.

The other book was Taylor Caldwell's 1961 novel A Prologue to Love.

This choice is no surprise, either. A Prologue To Love is a perennial comfort read. When I got to Korea, I realized that I didn't have a copy, so I went on Bookcrossing and played my Poor-Bookworm-in-a-foreign-country card with someone who had a copy.

 99% of my collection is sailing towards the USA, even as I write these words, but APTL is still with me. I'm bringing it on the plane, this battered copy with the $1.25 cover price. I paid .95 for my first copy, back in eighth grade.

I don't know why I love this book so much. I've tried Taylor Caldwell's other novels, but they don't interest me. The Captains and The Kings comes close, but it covers some of the same territory as APTL.

This is one of those books I hardly ever read from start to finish anymore. The last complete read-through was in 2011. Before that was 1996. One year in December, I dipped in and read about Caroline's disastrous Christmas shopping expedition.

During this slump, I opened up the book at the part in which Caroline has become the richest woman in the world, and now she's one of the richest people. It's the early 20th century. She's in her fifties and she's struggling to get her interpersonal relationship stuff together and also deal with her emotional baggage about her father. While she's at it, she's going to ruin her unscrupulous cousin Timothy who is all for a war in Europe because he can profit handsomely from it. It's partly a revenge thing.

Good stuff! I wish this book were back in print so everyone would talk about it.

So anyway, I'm out of the slump, but only just. Maybe once I'm moved out of my apartment I'll feel more like my old bookworm self.


jenclair said...

:) I tried The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Never finished it. More anecdotes than I could manage.

Sam said...

I love what you say about the "tattered" old book and how much you love it. What you describe is another argument against ever going exclusively to an e-library. E-books, wonderful as they sometimes are, never give me the feeling of ownership/kinship with a specific copy of a tree-book. Books I've owned for decades are a little bit like time machines; I pick one of them up and I can often flashback to a whole different time in my life. It's based on feel and smell as much as it is on the content of the books...maybe even more.

Teri said...

I feel the same way about my beat up, falling-apart copy of Shadow of the Moon.

Unruly Reader said...

Thank goodness for the tried-and-true comfort book! (Mine: The Spy Wore Red)

And just think of the happiness of unpacking those boxes of books...