You know that feeling of despair that comes over you when you think you'll never find a really good book to read, ever again? That you've probably read all the good ones? You try a few that have been suggested but nothing seems to cut it, no good fits. For months, there's been a stack of books sitting on my bedside table I've been meaning to read. Now and then I tried a few and always just put them down, unfinished. Read a few that were just okay. Went to the library for a few more, but ended up not reading more than a few pages of each one. Nothing grabbed me or moved me. So I stopped reading fiction for awhile and then went into literary withdrawal.
I can't go without reading for very long. If quilting is my life, then reading is my Other Life. I'm picky about my books and choosing which ones I want to spend time reading is very personal. Knowing this, I hardly ever suggest books to others and rarely enjoy books that others recommend. I usually feel terrible when someone suggests a book and I try it but don't really like it and can't finish it. Even if it's a best seller that everyone else loves, I'm probably not going to like it. In order to truly love a book, I have to fall in love with the characters and be open to the story, you know? Recently, I fell in love with what some have called a totally unlikable character. And I needed to tell someone. Hey, I know. I have a blog!
I don't know what I was doing in 2008 when Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout was published, or in 2009 when the author was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for literature, but I somehow missed it. Late to the party again. The other day I was feeling too lazy to drive over to the bookstore so I borrowed Olive Kitteridge as a digital e-book from the library simply because it was available. What a wonderful surprise. I loved it so much that now I have to go out and buy it for my bookshelf. This book just blew me away with it's beautiful, subtle prose and wonderfully human characters. You know that feeling of excitement you get when you've finally found a book that you love and now you get to go back and read everything else the author has written? Elizabeth Strout, my new favorite author. After I finished it, I stayed awake for hours, savoring the fictional town of Crosby, Maine, and its inhabitants. The characters wouldn't leave me. HBO is filming a mini-series on Olive, which will be released later this year, starring Frances McDormand.
Late last night, after I finished the book, on a whim, I checked the library again and was happy to see that her newest book - The Burgess Boys - was available. Oh, my goodness. I know what I'll be doing for the next few days . . . . No time to quilt. I'll be in Crosby, Maine. And then I'll probably have to go out and buy that one too.