Saturday, January 20, 2007

Quirks and Books

I didn't get tagged for any of those memes floating around where you list five odd things about yourself, but I'll tell you one of mine anyway.

Every now and then someone says they saw a book, dress, notebook or whatever, and they instantly thought of me: "I knew you would just love it!"

Well, for some reason this creeps me out. I feel like someone is seeing into my soul, and I secretly hope they're wrong and I actually will not love whatever they saw.

You don't need to tell me how dumb this is. I wear a pretty narrow swath of colors and styles, for instance, and naturally anyone around me will get a good idea of what I like. And then I'm constantly writing, talking, and otherwise sharing my soul, so why wouldn't people catch on what I prefer?

But it still makes me feel weird.

Anyway. At our Smucker Christmas gift exchange Paul's sister Lois gave me a book called Tears of the Giraffe, by Alexander McCall Smith, the second in a series of five about The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Botswana. And she said, of course, "I knew you would like this. The rest of the books are at the Harrisburg Library."

Well, of course I half hoped she was wrong so she didn't have some peephole into my soul.

Instead, I was wrong and she was right. I loved the book. I read it in two days and am ready to zip to Harrisburg on Monday for more.

This book combines several elements that I really like in fiction:
--the plot is character-driven (at least I think that's the word) rather than propelled by cloak-and-dagger murders and exploding airplanes. The characters are vivid and fascinating, but utterly believable, and the plot advances on little everyday crises. (Other books of this genre: the Miss Read books and the Mitford books)
--It's based in Africa so it contains that whole mystique, and it also has that more-British-than-the-Brits propriety and decency typical of the transplanted British subculture in Africa.
--It's clean. No graphic scenes or word bombs to ruin a perfectly good story.
--It's just plain well written. Dialogue, showing-not-telling, just-right descriptions. Good stuff.

I'm happy, this once, to have someone look in my soul and know what I'd like.

Quote of the Day:
"Mom, did you realize that Jenny's ratio of 100's to non-100's is seven to four?"
--Ben, at report card time


  1. here I thought I was going to have some new and interesting books to borrow at the library...AND then you went and likened it to the Mitford Series!! I cannot abide the Mitford series..they go on and on about nothing.(of course thats my opinion only :) ) But then again I do love to read stuff about Africa, so maybe that in itself would make these books worth checking out.

  2. I must be somehow related to you, because I also hate the feeling that someone can see into my soul.

  3. well I don't lay ANY blame whatsoever on my teachers, they were wonderful!! lol. It's just that history was definitely not one of my strong points. ;)
    I love your "Daughter" post.

  4. I love those books and have read all I can get my hands on. He has another series set in England that I haven't enjoyed quite as much but he is definitly a great writer. Happy reading!

  5. Yes! I checked my library online and they have awhole slew of his books. Can't wait to try them.

  6. Marvelous! Anything like Miss Read or Mitford has got to be good!Thnaks for the tip! Pauline

  7. If the library doesn't have them all, Margie would be glad to loan hers to you. Want me to tell you the ending? Trish

  8. No, Trish, don't tell me the ending! That would be nice, if you'd borrow the set from Margie for me....she probably doesn't fine me for overdue books like the library does.

  9. I don't mind people saying they saw something and thought of me, I find it an interesting glimpse of how they perceive me. But what I loathe is anyone telling me that I remind them of someone or look like someone...that causes me anxiety because one time I met the person I apparently resembled and did not see myself at all. Somehow that distorted my self-image. Odd, I know.