Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Does This Ever Happen to You?

2:40 p.m. You arrive at the library to meet a friend who works there. You and she have plans to go out for tea at the nearby tea shop when she gets off work.

2:42 p.m. You have volunteered to write book reviews for the library, so you decide to browse the "new books shelf" (you love your little library, because their "new books" shelf is really a "new-to-us" shelf. Thus, it has more than bestsellers and recently-published stuff on it). The library closes at 3:00 p.m. You probably won't have much time to find anything good.

2:45 p.m. Oh, there's that new E.L. Doctorow that has piqued your curiosity. You'd better grab it now, because next time you come in, it won't be here.

2:47 p.m. What's this? A book called The Mother by Pearl S. Buck? You've never heard of it. It looks like a nice, pretty, new, reprint edition, though. You'd better add it to the pile. After all, you love The Good Earth.

2:50 p.m. An Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life? What could that possibly be? You pull it from the shelf. You like the umbrella on the cover. You flip through the pages. What an interesting idea. It shouldn't take too long to read it. You might as well get it.

2:55 p.m. Hmmm...that looks like a new mystery in a series. You pull the book from the shelf. Yep, it definitely is, and it looks like fun. But you like to read mysteries in chronological order when you can. You go off to the regular stacks to find Rhys Bowen. Oh look: Jacqueline Winspear has endorsed the book you find. You love Jacqueline Winspear. It appears to be the second book in the series, not as good as finding the first, but it will do.

2:59 p.m. Check out all 4 books and begin reading Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life while waiting for your friend to close down the library.

3:15 p.m. You wish you weren't going out to tea with your friend, even though you love going out to tea with her, even though you were the one who suggested you go out for tea today, even though fifteen minutes ago, you couldn't wait for her to close down so you could get over to the tea shop.

5:10 p.m. (or thereabouts) You get home, after deciding to skip that trip to the grocery store to buy a few things you forgot earlier in the week, like cream for your coffee. You can drink your coffee with whole milk tomorrow instead.

5:12 p.m. You make a half-hearted attempt to do some tidying in your extremely messy, dust-infested, badly-needs-vacuuming, so-bad-that-even-you-the-one-of-high-tolerance-for-dust-bunnies-fame-can't-stand-it home. Once you have put in at least an hour, you will reward yourself with some solid time spent curled up with Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life.

5:22 p.m. Who are you kidding? You sit down with the book, ignoring dust bunnies engaging in the Dust Bunny Olympics all around you.

6:30 p.m. You drag yourself away from Amy Krouse Rosenthal's ordinary life, the life that happens to make extraordinarily quirky, funny, and compelling reading. You do so in order to work out (and wouldn't do so if it didn't happen to be the first month of a new year in which you have promised yourself you will work out more).

7:00 - 8:24 You race through all the dinner-time rituals (you know, such tiresome things as having to eat delicious food) in order to get back to the book, barely acknowledging your husband's existence, except as your lovely dishwasher.

8:25 p.m. You sit back down to read.

10:00 p.m. You decide just to read a few more pages and then go to bed.

10:45 p.m. You decide just to read a few more pages and then go to bed. (No, that is not a typo.)

11:30 p.m. You are on page 111. You really must get to bed. Page 115 (you're geeky and like numbers that end in zeroes and fives) would be a good place to stop.

11:40 p.m. You are on page 117. Page 125 would be a good place to stop.

12:00 p.m. You've got to get up for church tomorrow, and it is best that, no matter how accepting members of this church may be, people not think the minister is married to a zombie. Go. To. Bed.

5:00 a.m. You wake up. Something good is going on today. What is it? Oh yeah, you have that fun book to read.

5:30 a.m. You don't have to get up until 6:30, but your husband is up, and you can't sleep, so you get up.

5:30 - 7:20 a.m You do all the things you have to do to get yourself ready for church. You also do all the things you have to do to help your husband get ready for church (like attaching clerical collars. How on earth do Catholic priests and bachelor ministers manage those

7:3o a.m. You decide to go to late (10:30 instead of 8:00) service at church, and you pour yourself a cup of coffee to drink while reading. You discover the only whole milk in the house is goat's milk. You use it anyway, because you hate skim milk in coffee.

7:31 a.m. Sit down with book. (Note: goat's milk in coffee is hideous, even worse than skim milk, a fact that can't be ignored even when you are distracted by a good book.)

8:30 a.m. You decide to skip Sunday school, even though you love the book you've been discussing in class.

10:00 a.m. If you weren't married to the minister, you would skip church today. You head upstairs to put on your church clothes. You discover your hair has dried funny, making you look like one of those troll dolls. You don a nice hat.

10:25 a.m. You walk across the parking lot to church, where you receive quite a few compliments on your hat.

2:44 p.m. After church, after socializing, after lunch, you finally finish the book. It is almost exactly 24 hours after you first discovered it.

So, does this ever happen to you? Because it never happens to me. Seriously. I'm the person who can make even a good graphic novel last for two weeks. It's true: there is a first time for everything.


Heather said...

I called in sick to work once to finish a book I'd stayed up until 5am reading. I get up at 5am. This was three years ago and to be honest I can't remember the book and I still feel guilty. So to answer your question, yes this certainly does happen to me.

Tai said...

Ah yes, I recognize some of these dire symptoms.

Q: Why is that one always finds oneself in the wee pages of a book just when it's bedtime? It's impossible to put a book down when there are only 10 or 15 pages left, even if one's eyelids feel like lead, because the prospect of facing the next day with so few pages left to read is intolerable. Must. Finish. Book!

litlove said...

Yes, it does sometimes happen, but it's a reasonably rare occurrence. I shall look out for the book, in any case! And what is your hat like?

ZoesMom said...

That has only happened to me once in a blue moon. Love it when it does though. And now I am definitely getting the Encyclopedia of Ordinary Life.

Stefanie said...

What fun! This has happened to me before too. It doesn't happen often but whne it does it is a heavenly, though exhausting, experience. So it's probably a good thing it doesn't happen often.

Melwyk said...

Troll doll! Ha ha, that's the sign of being truly engrossed. And I agree, that is a fabulous book, worthy of engrossment :) Hope you kept your eyes open during the church service.

Courtney said...

Oh, it happens sometimes! And I LOVE/HATE it when it happens, because for all of his wonderful qualities, S. is not that indulgent of skipping chores in order to read. But you have certainly piqued my interest in this book - although, since we are supposed to tear down walls this weekend, it might not be good to run out and get it immediately...

Becky said...

Oh yes, I skip chores in order to read all the time. I sometimes arrive at work and finish the book before I turn on my computer; I run out of the office at lunchtime and settle down in cafes to fit in a few more chapters; I resent the plans I have made with people I very much want to see because there are only 100 pages left. I thought that was normal.

Nigel Patel said...

You are a much, much faster reader than I am.
That's nearly half a year's worth for me right there.

Emily Barton said...

Heather, I'm pretty sure I would have stayed up till 5:00 a.m. reading this one if the timing had been right. I hope you had a luxurious sleep, at least, after calling in sick.

Tai, I know. 15 pages at 11:00 p.m. is just awful, isn't it?

Litlove, it's a lovely, navy, wool, 1940's-style-hat with a slightly bent rim and a flat blue ribbon and bow tied around the base. I feel like I belong in a movie about a war bride or something when I wear it.

ZM, you won't be disappointed. You'll love it.

Stef, yes, very good thing it doesn't happen often to most of us. No one would have to make zombie movies then, with all of us readers walking around, would they?

Court, if you have work to do, you most DEFINITELY don't want to run out and get it yet. It would be a great one to have on hand if you're sick in bed at some point this winter (and S. can't make you do anything else), though.

Becky, and now we know how you manage to get through 189 books in one year...

Nigel, see above. I am nowhere NEAR as fast or prolific a reader as some are.