I started a new book last night. While I’m only a few pages in, it holds promise. I’m already attached. Its about a 1970’s rock star who travels through time to fin de sicle Vienna, because what 1970’s rock star doesn’t dream of doing this?
It’s a thrill to find a delicious book, particularly when my reading time (which is to say, my sanity) is severely squashed by the demands of summer “vacation.”
The last weeks of summer are traditionally the most ragged time of the whole year for my family. It’s an annual endurance test, perhaps not unlike a Ragnar race, but one that I do not recall signing up for. Sadly, mine is an event that does not yield a race shirt or even a Ragnar-type sticker for the back window of my car.
I would rather fancy a Ragnar-type sticker for the back of my car, come to think of it. It would definitely hold street cred with parents in similar situations. Maybe something along the lines of “Summer inferno: 2 special-needs kids, 2 typicals, and 1 mom on the edge.”
Other parents of kids like mine could see it on my car and instantly get it. There would be an immediate kinship, an understanding of the endless days, the exhaustion, the regression in behavior, the ocean of poop. We could pull up next to each other at traffic lights and nod solemnly to each other, our silent gaze an acknowledgement that “I feel your pain” and also “wow, the last days of summertime really suck” and maybe even “my kid is screaming and shredding wrappers and tossing them all around my car too; and he also just wet his pants.”
So anyhoo, this is why it is really terrific to find an engaging book and a few minutes to read before bed. It’s a literary hit for my addiction.
The older and more harried I get, the pickier I am about what types of books I will read. I’m a book snob, not in the sense that I will only go for Pulitzer winners and the classics, but snobbish in that I only read what I wanna read. Deal with it. This condition may be common among English major types; it could be a reaction to spending years being made to read all sorts of stuff. Now we choose. And we are opinionated about it, so very very much.
These are my current criteria for books:
1. A brisk pace that clips nicely along.
2. Some humor, somewhere, even if its not overt. Just a hint of funny will do.
3. A story which sucks me in and pulls me through with the force of Jack’s shop vac.
Fit these conditions, and I will be your reading audience. Happily. Because reading is like breathing: I must do it to live. And as the airlines caution us, if you don’t put the oxygen mask on yourself first, you won’t be able to then pin down your anxiety-ridden screaming five year old to force the mask on him, or something like that.