I’m re-reading a favorite book of mine: The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (thank you Abi for giving it to me years ago!). A more perfect book for Kelly God-damned Hogaboom can simply not be found. I liked it so much I immediately went out to find her previous work, The Secret History, which was also excellent, but since two awesome things have to have a favored choice (kind of like would I rather make out with Mads Mikkelsen in his viking-beard-and-skirt or as the tortured expatriate relief worker with a tragic secret?), I’ve gotta say The Little Friend wins out.
I’m sorry, I have to take a minute to recover from those Mikkelsen image searches.
So anyhow, I love finding a book I can read over and over and over because it’s kind of rare. I felt this way about A Prayer For Owen Meany before Irving’s sexism became simultaneously too annoying and snore-inducing to weather. I can still read the Lord of the Rings books over and over, yes with the snooty British professorial bit and the weird imperialism and omission of lady-agency and, well, dorkiness I suppose. We only own a handful of books on a tiny corner shelf my father built for me the year before he died. Books are one of the many, many things I don’t own in a long line of things I refuse to own because “stuff” terrifies me and besides, we’ve moved three times in a year and don’t own our home and I’m still (mentally and emotionally) semi-nomadic AND please, we have so many mouths to feed and maybe keeping a home-order is one way I cope with this. My children have more books than I do; mostly we rely on librarying up like no one’s business.
Today I took the kids to see Circus Gatti – the first time we’ve been to a circus in a handful of years. Held at our huge wooden stadium here in HQX it was one of those dissociative moments of thinking how fucked-up our world is but also being stunned at the beauty of it, twisted and all. The finale act two elephants performed and stood on their hind feet to booming Latin/urban hip hop and I felt conflicting and equally strong emotions: sick with myself I was supporting likely unethical animal-husbandry, impressed with the athleticism of the hardworking circus employees, unaccountably embarrassed by the socioeconomic markers of working class we continue to evidence (by being at the circus in the first place and being unable to afford all the trappings my kids wanted), blessed and amazed by my stunned and vivid children who shouted and ran about and bought what confectionary they could afford ($4 bought cotton candy) and performing somersaults on the bright green. Pheonix also knew way more about elephants and the training therein than I’d realized. I sat comfortably on the wooden bleacher and held my son in my arms and felt dizzy from both the height and expanse of the stadium (I am slightly agoraphobic) and the mixture of my emotions and let’s face it, only a small handful of snap peas and a slice of cheese for breakfast.
Afterwards the circus emptied out more quickly than one could have predicted; the children took me to the nearby school playground and frolicked some more. I went back for the car (I only had use of it one half day this week) and when I got back sat patiently as the kids made their way to me (not at all promptly after I called). As a finale the Boy first did an impressive monkey-bar feat and then hopped down; when I clapped he beamed at me and pulled his shoes off the hood then opened the car door and buckled in. The children asked, “Where are we going now?” To the grocery store (where I let them pick out fruit, whatever they wanted). Then home, in the sunshine, together.
My husband started buying me the books after my library fines started to exceed the costs of the literature. 😉 The circus sounds like so much fun, even though I understand (and share) your conflicted response.
Kelly, I totally can’t forgive you (I kid, completely) for liking The Little Friend more than The Secret History. 🙂
“I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.” One day that will be me.
Well, much like my Mads conundrum, it was a super-hard choice.
I can’t believe that library fines would ever exceed the cost of the literature!
I have a similar conflicted response when visiting a zoo. I get so depressed. I feel like I’m touring a prison full of innocent victims. I know that most of the animals have been rescued, but it still sucks. It’s excellent that people get to see the animals up close, but I just can’t enjoy it.
I’m with schoolofmom on the library fines. I think they’re adding a new wing later this year using my fines alone. It’s not even the books. It’s those damned DVD’s. “Sir, you owe $21 in fines. At least half of that was for Pokemon: Adventures of the Poorly Drawn.” Thank you for sharing that with everyone in line. We never even watched it.
…and is it just me, or do librarians lack a sense of humor? I thought my joke about the next patron having a hold placed on Bad Kitty was funny. “Sir, another patron has been waiting an entire week for Bad Kitty.” Seriously, could you let that one go?
Amore (up-thread) is a librarian and I can speak for her stellar sense of humor.
Along the Pokemon lines I think one of my more embarrassing moments ever was a video store where the clerk loudly said, “You owe $7.90 in late fees for Battlefield Earth.” One sentence tarnishing my reputation as a thinking individual.
I read Tartt’s books in the opposite order, and have the opposite preference. Coincidence? Both excellent, however, and I still occasionally try to see if she has anything new. I’ve read TSH twice now, but have yet to re-read TLF.
You’re probably right, it’s more to do with the read-order, which has happened to me before with a gifted author.
When she comes out with her next book (2012 is estimated date) we can have a little book club together!