Sunday, February 8, 2009


Sometimes reading is an instinctual process. Like a weasel I am driven by my instincts to sink my teeth to the jugular of the book. That might be dramatic, but reading can feel like that. Other times you have to force yourself.

I'm reading an adult book. Torch by Cheryl Strayed. It's lovely. We begin with Teresa, the mother of two nearly adult children. Teresa discovers she has cancer in the very first chapter. She becomes ill, very quickly. The narration begins close to her head but moves around the members of her family as they all struggle to comprehend her illness. I'm about halfway through. Cheryl Strayed has a way with metaphors that thrills me. Listen to this:
She ached. As if her spine were a zipper and someone had come up behind her and unzipped it and pushed his hands into her organs and squeezed, as if they were butter or dough, or grapes to be smashed for wine.
This and other of Strayed's descriptions of the cancer stick with you. And I love the characters. They are beautifully rendered, complicated and interconnected. I really care about them. I have to finish the book by Tuesday. But it doesn't have the pacing of a YA. I'm taking little drinks as if reading were a civilized tea party.

How come some times books enter your bloodstream and course through you, other times you can only sip it digesting little bits at a time? Obviously this has a lot to do with the book, but, as in this case, I think the reader has to be ready to meet the book head on.

As Always(pondering),