Crazy Love

November 7, 2008 at 7:08 pm | Posted in Book Blather | 3 Comments

Every now and then I mention a book on my Crazy Love list.  I realized that I’d never actually sat down and thought about every book that I really, really loved all at once.  What could be more pleasant than that, especially on a chilly, foggy autumn day?

I first felt Crazy Love for a children’s book, Molly Brett’s The Party That Grew, at age 4.  Not only did I insist on hearing it night after night, I once made my mom read it to me four times in a row.  (She was brilliant in that she would drop anything and read to me whenever I wanted).  I mentioned it to her as an adult, and she instantly said, “I hated that book!”

The first chapter book I read by myself was Alice in Wonderland.  This is the book that made me want to learn to read two books simultaneously.  Words can hardly express the aura of almost holiness this book had for me.  I have no idea how many times I’ve read it.

Next I became interested in a lone Nancy Drew mystery my mom had on her bookshelf.  (#7, The Clue in the Diary, which I thought meant ‘dairy’).  I was so pleased she let me read it!  Then it turned out my babysitter had almost a complete collection, so that was what I read from age 7 to 12 – at least three times over.

When I was 8 or 9, my grandma showed up with a copy of The Slug Book by David Greenberg.  My brothers and I read that thing dozens of times until we had it memorized:

Slick a slug with super glue/Stick it on your sister Sue/Place another, maybe two/In her favorite high heeled shoe.

At age 10 I discovered a beat-up copy of The Hobbit under a bush.  I brought it home for my dad, who said I was at the perfect age and I’d probably enjoy it.  He was right, of course.

In high school it was a science fiction novel, Emergence, by David R. Palmer.  It was about a girl who had evolved to a higher level of humanity, read shorthand, and kept a macaw.  I read it twice.  In college I once dated a guy because he had a copy of it on his shelf.

Sadly, it seems that feeling of rapture that accompanies childhood reading is harder to come by for adults.  Why is that?  Possibly because we no longer have the leisure to come home at 3 PM or take three months off in the summer.  Maybe it’s harder for us to get our butts up into a tree with a sandwich in one hand and a book under our arm.  Regardless, I’m lucky enough to have encountered a few books as an adult that gave me that Crazy Love feeling.

Little, Big – John Crowley

A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

Accordion Crimes – Annie Proulx

Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas – Tom Robbins

Girlfriend in a Coma – Douglas Coupland

Digging to America – Anne Tyler

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime – Mark Haddon

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke

The Brothers K – David James Duncan

An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England – Brock Clarke

Darkmans – Nicola Barker

Nobody’s Fool – Richard Russo

Practical Magic – Alice Hoffman

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

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