Wednesday, October 28, 2009

big rock candy mountain

I’m reading The Kindly Ones, a holocaust novel. I ordered a used hardcover, and wasn’t prepared for how huge it is – just a few pages shy of 1000. Still, despite the time I know it will take, did I scare off? No. Call me a glutton. I love books where you have to make a chart of characters inside the back cover, complete with arrows, nicknames, time lines, maps and family trees. I love referring to glossaries of terms provided by the publisher, especially in a foreign language. Books that can be used as doorstops, books that deflect bullets. Books with which to press my shirts. Balanced on the head, bulging books can improve your posture. I love sprawling, war-torn landscapes littered with wayward morality, shame, death and big questions. Big books are good for toning the arm muscles. A large, stable hardcover in itself makes an excellent bookend, and a handy portable chair. I love long sentences, lengthy paragraphs and chapters seemingly without end. It’s good to know the author didn’t skimp on the adjectives. Keep those novellas for the easily cowed. I like a book that won’t fit in my purse – a book that is its own suitcase. Bring on rich, leisurely and long-winded profusion! Get that editor out of here! Reading a tome like this makes me feel like I’m taking a long night flight with no one in the neighboring seat. The stars are out. Here comes the Japanese stewardess with my scotch, a pillow, and my plush white washcloth, steaming with lemon-scented water. Be prepared for turbulence. After all, we’re orbiting earth.

photo: Abelardo Morell

4 comments:

Lisa Allender said...

Sarah Jane--Lovely post! Thank you for your words her; I love the "long flight" metaphor...

Kasscho said...

"...shame, death and big questions." Just about every other word in your post could be a book title. You are such a naturally gifted writer! I just heard Sherman Alexie speak at our local 'King's English Bookstore.' He lapsed on for about 15 minutes about the seductive smell of books. He stroked the spine, tenderly turned the pages and then went on a rampage about kindle. Do you like Kindle?

SarahJane said...

I also prefer real books. I spend so much time on the computer that looking at words on paper in a portable paper package is a relief. I don't really have any desire to read books off a screen. Then again, I don't have anything against it - just my preference.

lucas said...

There aren't many writers I envy.

But goddamn, Sarah-Jane. You have a way with words that is like the way of a ship in the sea, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a man with a woman.

I dislike very large books, but you nearly convert me.

Related Posts with Thumbnails