Friday, November 30, 2007

Book Report of Books Barely Worth Reading

We had dinner downtown the other night with a friend who was visiting from the Western Slope. Dinner downtown is fun, but, of course, we chose the restaurant next door to the Tattered Cover. And it is pretty much impossible to be next door to the Tattered Cover without going into the Tattered Cover.

And once inside… well. I don’t possess much self-restraint. So I spent about three minutes and swiped up two books before I forced myself to the checkout counter and got out the door before further damage could be done. (Poor little libraries. I do still love you. I want to work in you. I just like owning all the pretty books, myself. I think the “sharing” idea is good in theory, though!)

So I got Learning to Drive, because I heard an interview with the author on NPR and she was a nice mix of humble and strong, so. O.K. I’ll give it a go. Also, she's a feminist who had trouble learning to drive and had her husband chauffeur her around for most of her life. And, well, I can relate. (Not to the having issues driving, so much as wanting to be chauffeured around. Which, I'm sure that was the very feminist point she was trying to make.)

Then I got The White Masai. Because the cover intrigued me. White chick from Switzerland goes on holiday to Kenya with her boyfriend, where she sees a dude in a loincloth holding a spear and dumps her boyfriend right there, gives up her successful business in Switzerland, and moves into his cow dung hut in the African bush. It’s not overly well-written. I don’t love the translation. (Originally published in German.) But god, what a fascinating story! Nothing says romance like war paint and cow dung!

It’s an amazing objective autobiography of an obsession. Her perspective is so Western, her ideology is wrapped around a very 1st world upbringing. But somehow she’s totally willing to overlook malaria, goat slaughters, and what basically amounts to rape in the name of love. (Not hygiene, though. The Swiss upbringing is just too powerful. There must be soap and toilet paper, out there in the African bush!)

Anywhos. I’m reading it in the same way that I try not to look at a gruesome accident on the highway. I don’t want to admit that I’m riveted. (But how can you not, when there are even color photographs to illustrate the ridiculousness that is her in a couture 80s white wedding dress, complete with puffy Sleeping Beauty sleeves by a goat skin hut in central Kenya, surrounded by Masai in loincloths and tribal paint?)

Thank goodness it’s Friday. I have so many better things to do than work!


Ryan said...

That does sound like an interesting story. I'm going to walk around in a loin cloth for a few days and see if I can get any ladies obsessed with me.

I saw the movie version of Learning to Drive. It was one of the best movies with the two Coreys.

meno said...

I read but didn't care for The White Masai. I thought she was incredibly self-centered.

I used to love The Tattered Cover, back when we lived in The Springs. But i didn't love The Springs so much.

Christie said...

I think I may have to go buy that book. I like owning them, and having the ability to reread it whenever I want. Plus I don't like germs and who knows what germies other people have.

Should we tell Ryan that he could probably get arrested for indecent exposure? Hmm, a loincloth could be a vast improvement over his jean shorts though.

Erin said...

I have the same problem with buying books...I want to have them all for myself! It doesn't help that my husband manages a book store!

Diane said...

Books are a wonderful thing and should be bought on a regular basis!

Hey, after you wrote about it, I am now listening to Persuasion . . . Greta Scaatchi is the narrator, and does a nice job. The White Masai is giving me a Private Benjamin/Maid to Order vibe but I'll check it out said...

I'm mildly intrigued by your description of The White Masai, but oh, have I struggled with finding a good book to read lately.

Lily said...

I agree, books are never a waste of money, and we should never feel guilty buying a good book.
Sometimes, I buy I book after I borrowed it and fell and love.
But some book, I just buy on an instinct, without knowing anything about it, and they become love at first read.
Some of my favorite treasures I met that way.

Princess in Galoshes said...

Ryan- So. Did you obtain a loincloth?

Meno- You were absolutely right. I finished The White Masai and she remained incredibly self-absorbed through the whole thing.

There are parts of the Springs you can love. But I didn't particularly love living there, either.

Christie- Me, too! I'm a germaphobe, too! So did you get the book?

Erin- Who is your husband and where is your bookstore? Can you hook a sister up?

Diane- I keep meaning to get into books on tape. Especially since someone clued me in to the fact that you can download them onto your Ipod. Hooray, a way to read AND drive at the same time!

Kerrianne- Depends on what you like. It was a compelling story, but the main character annoyed the begeezus out of me, by the end. So far, I think Learning to Drive is much better. (The writing, anyway. The plot has yet to do much.)

Lily- I think we'd be dangerous in a bookstore, together.