Craig, Carrie, Neil
When I’m stressed out, I eat. When I’m WAY too stressed out, I start playing hooky from everything and I bury myself in books.
This week I went out and bought three books, and finished two and a half of them.
I was carrying another book around in the bookstore when I picked up Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking, read three chapters standing, two more in the bookstore cafe, and another one in the car before I could get it started. It’s kind of an absorbing book…an easy read, in the sense that it’s conversational and engaging. She’s had, as it turns out, something of a difficult life. This is the story of her life and history, told in a serious-but-funny, sideways manner. Carrie’s (Ms. Fisher’s?) way of writing really brought it home to me that she’s truly been through some serious shit, but she knows who she is. In her words, “If my life wasn’t funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable.”
The book I actually went looking for was Craig Ferguson’s American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot. Aaaaand I got it. Craig (can I call you Craig?), too, has had one hell of a difficult life. And he has a sense of humor about it. But where Wishful Drinking struck me as a sideways look – a passing glance, lest it get unfunny in a hurry – American on Purpose tells Craig’s life without embellishment or glorification. In the introduction, he explains that some things have been left out to spare people needless embarassment, and I believe it. An absolutely fabulous book, with tenacity and hope and honest, and lots of other words that would probably embarass the likeable Mr. Ferguson.
The book I’m in the middle of is Neil Gaiman’s Smoke and Mirrors. This is my attempt to begin catching up on the Gaiman trove…I’ve read Anansi Boys and American Gods and Stardust, and I saw him read at W00tstock Austin this year, but that’s it. This collection of short stories is…..interesting to me. I’m a lifelong bookworm, but frankly, Neil makes me feel stupid from time to time. Not on purpose, and not (odd to say) in a bad way. He’s far better read than I, though, and some references and styles fly right the hell over my head. He makes me want to patch up the holes in my literary education, that’s for sure.
Bonus books: I also checked A Wind in the Door out of the library (Madeline L’Engle’s works are a matter of love and nostalgia for me), and I’m also halfway through that, but it’s the 10th (or so) reread. I’m not sure it “counts”. Nor does the 15th reread of Watership Down that I finished last week. Sure was good, though.
Note: I’d like to at least take a look at Richard Adam’s Shardik at some point…