Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Gettting High On Great Stories by Karin Gillespie
Novels are my drugs. I slink into the book store (my dealer) and survey the wares. Glossy covers beckon, beguile. With sweaty palms I consider my selection. I go for hard stuff: a brand-new hardcover, damn the cost. My hands quiver as I slide the credit card to pay; it’s been too long since my last fix.
The drive home seems endless; the book seems to pulsate in its plain brown wrapper. I’m tempted to steal a sample at a red light or in heavy traffic.
Home, finally. I disconnect the phone, draw the drapes, slip the dog a hambone. I hold the book, my fingers caressing the slick cover, until I can take it no more and crack it open. I begin to read, waiting for that moment when I become slack-jawed and stoned by the storytelling.
Sometimes it’s page one, other times it’s page fifteen, if it doesn’t happen by page twenty-five, I start to get jittery. Did I get some bad stuff? Should I check Amazon? See what other people think? If I’m still sober by page fifty, I know I’ve been ripped off. The plot’s been cut with crap like backstory, extraneous scenes, navel gazing, or nature descriptions. No matter what I do I can’t get high.
But other times, I’m floating away on pure, high-quality dope. The world crumbles and characters and their troubles work their way deep into my cranium and nothing short of a nuclear cataclysm can kill my buzz. Best of all, the stuff’s so clean there’s no hangover; hard to believe it’s completely legal.
Lately, I found myself in reading rut, buying a lot of goods that don’t deliver. Sure. Sometimes I’d get a little mellow but nothing that made me bombed, swacked, blotto, whacked, pissed or pickled.
When that happens, I usually go for the tried-and-true, and re-read something. This time it was Rachel’s Holiday by Marianne Keyes. It’s been years since I’ve read it so it almost feels brand-new to me.
Here are some other novels that will get you high on the storytelling. (These are so good, I can’t even figure out how they work because they always suck me in.)
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin (The movie is out! I can’t wait to see it.)
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
There are definitely others but I can’t think of them off hand. So what books do it for you? Comment and you’ll have a chance to win “The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O’Connor McKnees. Winner will be announced right here by 9 a.m Wednesday. WINNER! Mary. Email me at kgillespie (at) knology.net and I'll send the book. Thanks for the all the great book suggestions. Here's some info on the book:
Deftly mixing fact and fiction, Kelly O'Connor McNees returns to the summer of 1855, when vivacious Louisa May Alcott is twenty-two and bursting to free herself from family and societal constraints and do what she loves most. Stuck in small-town New Hampshire, she meets Joseph Singer, and as she opens her heart, Louisa finds herself torn between a love that takes her by surprise and her dream of independence as a writer in Boston. The choice she must make comes with a steep price that she will pay for the rest of her life.