Sydney looked around our house and complained about the lack of good reading material for sick days. When I started to protest, he made it quite clear that I would be a fool to suggest my Woolf and Faulkner novels as good reading material. I’ve tried not to buy good novels since we got here, since I should be reading for work right now and waiting until the baby arrives to indulge in anything else. But after he offered a few helpful hints about wanting something that will distract him, something with a compelling story, I set off for the bookstore. I bypassed two “classy” bookstores on my way out and went straight to WH Smith, which had lots of popular books grouped in helpful categories like “Bestsellers,” “Thrillers,” and “Fantasy.” They made it hard to find anything that wasn’t a page-turner; simple “Fiction” was drowned out by saucier categories.
But I had a problem: I couldn’t bring myself to spend money on junk we wouldn’t want to read when not sick, and I didn’t want to buy a book I’d already read (and thus knew to be a sure-fire page-turner), since it would kill me to buy a duplicate of a book I had stored away in the States. I’m not terribly up on “true crime” novels, but I worried that Sydney wouldn’t be enamored with chick lit or biographies of celebrities, which were things I had at least come across reviews of recently. Oh, and I wasn’t allowed to buy anything terribly fat, so good histories, biographies, and Victorian novels (not that the store would deign to carry old books) were out. So I bought some pretty good fiction and slunk home.
Sydney looked at my selections and broke the news: I am apparently just not a good person to pick books that have a good, compelling plot, and that run along in a gripping manner. The kinds of current fiction I like are ones that are slow, or that jump around in time, or that imply a lot more than they move. As in, I like books to be a little too close to my work for other people’s comfort.
So Sydney’s stuck reading decent novels and has to make do with being less distracted than he’d like.