Rediscovering The Pool


Yesterday afternoon, following an optometrist's appointment (of which much more anon) I was wandering the mall and feeling a bit low, so I decided to buy myself a little something to cheer myself up. I looked at some DVDs and clothes, but nothing really tickled me. Then as I was walking past the book shop I saw Lisey's Story, the new novel from Stephen King, on display. I hadn't even heard of it and certainly hadn't intended to buy it, but next thing I knew I'd handed over the money and was heading home with a carrier bag in my hand.

As I've mentioned here before, I don't really read novels. I do have several fiction works which I re-read and enjoy very much; 1984, Pride and Prejudice, The House Of The Spirits...but when it comes to how long it's been since I sat down with a new novel to read, we're counting in years, not months.

Anyway, I settled in with my new purchase. I was a little apprehensive reading the plot summary - it sounded, to be honest, like another Bag of Bones but with the genders reversed. (It also sounds worryingly like King was "writing for women" - and I'll only assume that he isn't, because a writer with his sales must know the market better than that).

Then once I got a few pages in, I was hooked. It may have had something to do with the fact that in the opening scenes of the book, it's extremely hot and muggy - and so it was here, yesterday afternoon. Nonetheless, something took over me - the gotta of a good novel. It's different from reading non-fiction. I read non-fiction because I love it, I want to know more of the world and how it and people work - but let's face it, you always know how it ends, no matter how well it's written or how avidly you turn the pages. And there's more to it than that - not only do I want to find out how it ends, I'm enjoying the journey it's taking me on to get there. I read and read last night, barely glancing at the TV (I always have it on at night, if quietly - it's too creepy in my house otherwise), until I started nodding off as "Up-Late" came on. Then this morning, I even got up early to read some more, cursing when I came time to leave for work (sadly, the book is too large to fit in my laptop bag). I can't wait till I get home tonight and can pick up where I left off.

How did I ever let this go? I must confess, I've actually held novels, and the people who read them, in a sort of low-level contempt - what good are they? What can you learn from them? Now I see it's not always about what you learn, that reading can be the simple pleasure of a journey somewhere magical, to the pool of words. And that can be a lesson in itself.
One thing's for sure: I'm definitley going to do this more often from now on.

Comments

  1. Sounds like an interesting book :)
    I might check it out myself! I haven't read a good book in a long, long time.

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  2. Well, for some reason (they don't normally discount new books) it's at Angus&Robertson for $25 - $15 less than RRP.

    (Still, I hate that there's only one bookstore at that mall now - you know the one I mean)

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  3. This coming from someone who used continually read "V C Andrews" or something. Geez.

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  4. BSE - because in those days, conversation with you was all the intellectual stimulation I could handle :P

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  5. Haha, nice try.

    Before you slam the novel as an idle or unproductive form of literature, look at the role the novel has played historically. Nobody will argue that Candide is merely a diversion.

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  6. I didn't slam it...that was the point of the post.

    Which has had more effect on civilized culture, after all: Crime and Punishment, or Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps?

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