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January 4, 2010

You would think that I could adequately summarize a quick-reading 150 page book; but I can’t even begin to describe what it is like. I’m starting to think that I’ve found an indicator of “Best Novels of All Time” – that property that you can’t sit down and convey the experience of reading them to someone else, and when you try, you feel like you are a high-school student writing a book report.”

I read this comment on Doug Shaw’s Modern Library Top 100 review blog at http://www.dougshaw.com/top100.html (excellent, by the way) and I cracked up laughing. He is so right on. I remember trying to explain to my husband the plots of books like The Magus and Tobacco Road, and feeling like an idiot. “Well, there’s this guy, and he goes to this house, and all these people dress up and do weird plays and stuff, but he keeps wanting to go back there anyway….” I mean, really! If your spouse was spending all this time reading books, and you asked what one was about, and you got this as an answer, how cracked up would you think your spouse was for reading more than one page, much less finishing the entire book?? I credit my husband for not throwing me and my 13 finished books out into the snow.

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