A Novel to be Savored Like a Gourmet MealBy Steffen • Feb 17th, 2010 • Category: 26th Story
I’ve been wanting to write something about Martha McPhee’s upcoming book, Dear Money, but I’ve been having trouble articulating what I want to say.
It’s a gorgeous book — delicate, elegant, subtle and lyrical — and yet it took me an embarrassing amount of time to read, and I think the point I want to make is somewhere in that; It’s to be savored like a gourmet meal — and that’s not a bad thing — but this type of reading doesn’t seem to have a place in my everyday life in the way that Swedish massage doesn’t either, and yet I love that too. The world I’m immersed in (for better or worse) is whiplash fast; it’s a world made for skimming idea books in big gulps on an iPhone and then summing it up in 140 characters.
Am I alone with this dilemma? It’s not that I don’t value a luxurious read – in fact I aspire to have a life where it fits in on a daily basis and isn’t just relegated to a stack of “vacation” reading. Am I the only one who can’t find 8 hours to carve out for a delicate novel?
I actually believe that there are still people out there who make the time to luxuriate in a literary novel. In fact I follow Gotham Gal’s blog in awe at how much she reads. Big fat literary novels seem to be devoured like candy. The question becomes how does this reader find a book like Dear Money?
The review sections that built these literary authors are an endangered species; over 200 newspapers closed in 2009 alone.
So Martha’s got to blog, right? And work the tools out there today to tell her own story…and she is. Martha joined Twitter and Facebook; she started a beautiful blog that I love to visit because there’s always a little treasure to discover: a story, a recipe, or sometimes a great photograph. But if the truth be told, it may not be as much “fun” for everyone as I can make it out to be. I always tell authors “it’s like a big cocktail party”…but maybe there are authors who don’t like cocktail parties…
I want to live in a world where an artist is nurtured and allowed to flourish; a world that wouldn’t force an artist like a square peg into a round hole in order to survive. It’s the same world where Northshire Bookstore would flourish because it’s a magical haven of inspiration and ideas and should be exempt from playing in a field where Walmart and Amazon fight over loss leaders.
I don’t have answers here, just more questions.
UPDATE: Bob just told me to take a day off and go get a massage and read a book