RecommendationsSeptember 24, 2007
I read the BEST book last week. I can't recommend it enough.
A Three Dog Life, by Abigail Thomas. From the Publisher's Weekly review:
Stephen King's front-cover endorsement of Thomas's memoir as the best he's ever read—and a "punch to the heart"—will surely pique interest in this wrenching, elegiac portrait of her third husband, Rich, who flounders in a miasmic present after a hit-and-run in their Manhattan neighborhood shatters his skull, destroys his short-term memory and consigns him to permanent brain trauma.
I realize that might not grab you -- sounds dark and depressing, and indeed, much of the book deals with dark, depressing things. But it's not a medical memoir, nor is it a book about dogs (although dogs are featured, wonderful dogs), it's just the author, grabbing vignettes in her life and illustrating them so clearly and immediately that I sat stunned in front of phrases, unable to move on, mumbling them to myself in wonder. Seriously. When did you last do that with a book?
It's a quick read, sadly. I tried to make it last, not allowing myself to read it in bed, only at work, lines snatched between phone calls and emergencies and gossiping co-workers. Now that I'm done, I'm considering re-reading it. I never re-read books anymore, but I want to read this one again, to live in her language some more.
Here, from page 30:
Twenty years ago I asked a friend if he felt (as I did) a kind of chronic longing, a longing I wanted to identify. "Of course," he answered. We were having lunch by the pond at 59th Street, watching the ducks. The sun was out, the grass was thick and green, the ducks paddled around in the not very blue pond. I was between lives. "What is it?" I asked. "What is it we are longing for?" He thought for a minute and said, "There isn't any it. There is just the longing for it." This sounded exactly right. Years later and a little wiser, I know what the longing was for: here is where I belong.
"I was between lives." That sentence! Just smacked in there! Completely knocks me out. And I've never read that longing we all have so clearly described.
I'm in love with the book. Plus, she knits. (Buy it from your independent seller, though, obviously. Amazon link is just there for convenience.)
It's autumn here today! Crisp, cool -- the house was chilly when I woke up and I put on wool socks. How I love to have to put on handknit socks. I'm at the cafe, and I'm going to write for a while. Then I'm going home to meet the roofer -- get the leaks fixed before the real rains. And I want to make pumpkin bread. Then, maybe, if I have time, I'd like to go to the movies. I want to see Becoming Jane (oh, looks like I missed that one), 2 Days in Paris, and Death at a Funeral. Perhaps The Jane Austen Book Club (although I couldn't finish the book). We saw 3:10 to Yuma yesterday, and DAMN was that a good western. I'd highly recommend it. Full of recommendations today, aren't I?
I also recommend y'all love on someone today. Yep.