Thursday, September 29, 2011
I kissed a book.
I'm reading The Art of Fielding and I am in love. I'm not in love with the author, although I pause in my reading occasionally to bless, if not kiss, him. I'm in love with Henry, with Schwartz, with Owen, with Affenlight, with Pella. Even just a little bit with Herman Melville -- who woulda thunk it? I'm bedazzled. Bewildered. Entranced. My heart is busted right open and filled with the light that pours out of this book.
Which I guess accounts for why, having read the end of Chapter 15, I was so touched and exhilarated by the beautiful delineation of the human soul contained therein, that I planted a big smackeroo right on the screen of my iPad. Which I never kissed before. I swear.
[I know. I know. Let's set aside for a moment the issue of did I really kiss a book if I had to kiss it through a glass screen. Isn't that more of a prison visit, after all? I actually do share your passion for the smell of libraries and the deliciously tactile experience of a "real book." I do. But I also subscribe to the heresy that a book is a dance between two fully participating humans--writer/reader--and that dance can be danced on just about any medium which displays or purveys words that can be deciphered. (If you've ever read a book on an iPhone, you know what I mean.) And in my present state of mind, I can say with confidence that if Chad Harbach had written The Art of Fielding on &$#@*^% gum wrappers, I'd still be his girl.]
Have I read all the way to the end? Can I guarantee anything about even my own satisfaction when all's said and done? No. I'm a rampaging reader and I think it's indicative of how much I'm loving this book that I keep stopping. And waiting. Actually savoring. I'm studiously not reading reviews. And this isn't actually one of those either. This is a blog. It's about me, me, me. There are lots of reviews of this book out there in the world. I'm entirely happy to keep it that way. This is love, after all, and it doesn't bear a lot of poking and prodding. It just is.
I have a cherished memory of my penchant for crazy kissing that comes from the exhausting, exuberant days when our son was a baby. I kissed him of course, on his darling pink toes, on his downy head, on his angelic belly button. He was infinitely kissable. One late afternoon I was coming up the basement stairs with a load of freshly dried laundry -- baby shirts, baby pants, baby diapers (yeah, those were the days) -- and they smelled so incredibly baby and I was freaking tired out of my mind, of course, and not accountable for any of my actions. So I planted a big old kiss right on the laundry. I kissed a load of laundry. With all my heart.
I read all sorts of books. I love all sorts of books. I love books that serious bookers turn their serious noses up at. I mean it. I have adored some bona fide trash. The New York Times and I are often not of one mind. But I almost never pick up a book that from the first handful of words is as incandescent as this book is for me.
Over the top? Well, duh. Do I care? Not a whit. Am I in love with The Art of Fielding? A book about baseball, for goodness sake? Yup.