• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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I Want to Know if it’s You I Don’t Trust ‘Cause I Damn Sure Don’t Trust Myself

Over the years I’ve tried to read Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. I’d never get more than 15 pages in. Some people I deeply respect say it’s their favorite book. Still, it continued to dog me. And I didn’t want to read any subsequent books of hers until I read this one. I’m a little rule maker like that. I started it again last week and boom I was at page fifty. I found the language so fresh and arresting. Something unlocked and the book let me in. I really don’t know why a book lets you in or locks you out. Is it the book itself or your circumstances, your “mood,” or your “readiness.”

Have you ever had that experience with a book?

8 Responses

  1. Woolf’s Orlando. I was afraid of it for years and had to force myself to start it. But then I didn’t want it to end.

  2. Bettyville, started and started. Still, just cant make my way through.

  3. “Have you ever had that experience with a book?”

    Yes, but a reader’s relation with a book is dependent on what the reader brings to the table. The book never changes. The reader is changing all the time.

    I read “Housekeeping” some years back, at the suggestion of someone I respected (he had introduced me to Sebald, and after that, I was his). The book was quite an experience. It had that ability to pull me into its dreamscape that any well-made book has. Another from around that same time (in my life) that did that was “Forgetting Elena.” I am certain that at other times in my life, “Housekeeping,” “Forgetting Elena,” and Sebald’s works would have been nothing to me — but when I met them, I was ready.

  4. I resist anything which smacks of “required reading” or causes another writer’s eyebrows to rise when I admit I haven’t read it. A therapist would probably tell me it’s got something to do with dropping out of high school, that I’m still carrying these childish resentments in my heart and rejecting anything that might be good for my personal development. Whatever the case, I do take it out on the book.

  5. Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God.

    The dialect is so thick, it was like work. I don’t like to feel like I’m having to work as I read. I’ve tried it a few times, and I can’t get past that. And I like “voice” but in this case, re-reading sentences became tedious. I seem to have trouble with most classics. Like Carson McCuller’s <The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter. I read that – but it was a struggle, and some of what was “allowed” back then wouldn’t fly to day. Example, melodramatic scenes.

  6. I have kept a number of started-and-not-finished books on my shelves for this exact reason. I’m hopeful I just didn’t start reading them at the appropriate time in my life and that they will finally strike me when the time is right.

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