Friday, February 19, 2010

In Which I Complain

I don’t have anything to read.

An idiotic thing to say, I know sort of like announcing “I’ve got nothing to wear,” while staring into a Carrie Bradshaw–size closet. More stupid really, since I’ve got a stack of unread books at arm’s reach and the library is eight blocks away. But, if I may stretch this metaphor a bit more—not unlike “I’m bored of wearing that,” or “I’m really not in a purple mood,” I want a book that fits me right now. I know it shouldn’t be nasty-funny. I know because I read forty pages of the very readable The Ask by Sam Lipsyte. But the book was aggressively clever and the protagonist reminded me of the short, funny, but sort of angry guys who were among the few to be interested in me in college. So I put it down. And I know the imaginary perfect-for-right-now book shouldn’t be solemn and quiet from having read the first beautifully written pages of Atiq Rahimi’s The Patience Stone. I’m far too impatient with everyone and everything right now to be engaged by a woman confessing to her dying husband in an unnamed Middle Eastern country. The problem is I don’t know what I do feel like reading.

Sarah’s Key, by Tatiana De Rosnay, awaits me at the library. But I’m skeptical. From what I know, Sarah’s Key, has two concurrent stories: 1) Paris, 1942, ten-year-old Sarah is arrested during one of the roundups of the Jews, but manages to hide her brother, thinking she will be returning in a few hours; 2) Paris, 2002, an American journalist is asked to do a story on the roundup and discovers Sarah’s story. There are so many good books about the horrors of World War II and I’ve read a lot of them, so I’m not generally drawn to reading another. But let’s see.

In case of dire emergency, I have Gourmet Rhapsody symbolically waiting under glass with fire hammer at hand. I loved The Elegance of the Hedgehog—a book I bought after reading it just so I knew it was in my vicinity. Gourmet Rhapsody is Muriel Barbery’s first novel published in English after Elegance, and I know nothing about it other than it’s slight and sweet. I’m hoping Sarah’s Key, will help shake this mood. I don’t want to waste what sounds like a thin mint of a book when what I really need is big bowl of macaroni and cheese.


  1. Oh, Jenny--I empathize. I'm in need of a good fit, too, having abandoned, at least temporarily, Stieg Larsson's much touted Girl Who Played with Fire as not the pages I want to be turning right now. And this stretch of rainy weather is only going to add to my restlessness and the need to find a book to hunker down in. Let us know how you fare!

  2. Oooh! I tried Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and had to put it down. Good luck! Sometimes it does feel as if you'll never find that perfect-for-right-now book.