Friday Night Book Club: Confessions of a Book Lover
She had me hooked by the third paragraph. As it should be.
A friend of mine taught me the art of judging a book by its very first line. Of course, while that is very telling, we generally give it a little more time ~ at least a full page! Sometimes a lot more than that. But the truth is, I’ve become more discriminating over time. If I’m not adoring a book, I’m less apt to finish it than in years past, when I felt mysteriously honor-bound by some kind of self-imposed commitment to follow through. But no more. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of good books, so all this haughty discernment works in my favor.
And really, there’s nothing that compares to a settling in to a comfy chair (or the floor, which is often where I plop) with a cup of tea and an excellent book. Oh the places you go, the people you meet, the things you feel. The joy! For better or worse, I confess to often preferring a good book to live company. Depends on the company, naturally, and the timing. Sometimes the book outranks all.
But I have another confession. After years of tv drought (I’m really and truly not a tv person. I really and truly don’t know what’s current and cool to watch, and I have so much else to do! Who has time! But …), I discovered Netflix and Downton Abbey. Watched all 4 seasons in about a month. Then I discovered Breaking Bad. (WOW!) Again I watched all 5 years (or however long it was) in about a month’s time. Yes ~ I binged. I loved every minute. And instead of picking up a book, I watched. There, I’ve fessed up.
But here’s the flip side – there just aren’t nearly enough great shows as there are fabulous books, so reading is still king on my hit parade.
(Alright, so maybe this wasn’t such a dramatic confession, as the title lead you to believe. But it was a good title, wasn’t it! Go on, give me that. : ) )
It did get me thinking, though, about what makes any of it worthwhile, whether words on a page or moving pictures on a screen. What draws me in to some and not to others? (keeping in mind that I’m highly fussy) It’s the same for each medium and it’s very simply, purely and only about great storytelling. That means brilliant writing. Personable, intriguing characters. Interesting plots, invisibly rich details/filming. You’re immersed. You’re engaged. You care.
You have to care. Or it’s not worthwhile.
And thankfully there’s a wealth of it out there, because it’d be a terrible thing to be bookless.
For any book lovers out there, we gather on the first Friday of each month, if you want to read along virtually. So far we’ve read the outstanding And the Mountains Echoed (Khaled Hosseini), the fascinating The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Mohsin Hamid), the not-as-compelling The End of Your Life Book Club (Will Schwalbe) ~ and now it’s Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things… which as you probably figured out, had me hooked by the third paragraph.
Peace, love, happy reading.