Saturday, March 13, 2010

2 R's

that'd be R eading & (w)R iting
(well back in the day they taught the 3 R's, being Reading, wRiting and aRithmatic so I figure I can say the 2 R's)

Reading to me is like breathing, it's an essential to life, the only time I ever don't have a book on the go (I don't do 2 or more at once like some people do, it doesn't feel right, like cheating on the book) is when I've finished one and need to let it settle...some books are so beautiful and have such impact that it is impossible to abandon it when the cover closes for the last time, it seems cruel to kill off those characters who've been so alive for the last 300+ pages.

Simon doesn't get it. He failed his English Lit the first time because he hadn't read the books... managed it the 2nd time by reading the study everytime he sees me reading he thinks I'm bored, you'd think after 20 years of marriage he'd get it...It's not that Simon doesn't read, he just doesn't do fiction, I've managed to find some books he'll read - business books (yawn) and biographies, but he much prefers gadget magazines.

The book I'm reading at the moment is by Markus Zusak, 'I am the Messenger'.
I read his other book 'the Book Thief' and loved it, it was such a clever idea and such a interesting story, a small story really - about how the 'normal' people of Germany live their lives during the 2nd world war and in particular about a girl trying to find enough books to feed her reading habit.
The blurb for this current novel says 'don't start this compulsively readable book without enough time to read it straight through to the final page' - I read that out to Simon and there was an audible rolling of the eyes, if a book grabs my attention then I have to admit to a tendency to block out the rest of the world while I read.
I can see what the reviewer means, it is an absorbing story about a boy/young man who's doing nothing with his life until he stops a bank robber and someone then decides to make more of Ed's caring side, setting him missions around the town. It sounds like a bizarre story and maybe too far fetched, but hey, this is fiction, but it is so beautifully written, there are some passages that make me reread them because the phrasing is so perfect. Flicking through it now, to see if I could give you an example I find lots, this Markus guy has such a way with words, like:

- the feeling reaches a hand through the phone line and shakes me
- I feel like I could carry the world in my arms tonight
- the scattered stars shower down like icicles tonight
- footsteps crease the grass behind me

I'm not one for excesses of description, I have a really bad habit of skipping those paragraphs of prettiness that some writers go for, but this is different, these little pearls are casually thrown onto the pages waiting for you to stumble across them.

I'm glad to see that he's written more than just these 2 books (although the other 2 do look as though they're for 'young adults') and has another in the pipeline, it's just a shame that he doesn't have a larger back catalogue for me to plunder...don't you just love it when you fall in love with a new author and find that they've published 1 book a year for the last 20 years?!

There is however a downside to this beautiful writing, it is humbling, I read it and think to myself, 'I could never write anything that touches that'...ho hum.

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