Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber

Well, it's Saturday, and I just spent Friday night finishing a book (This One is Mine by Maria Semple). I enjoyed it very much. It's not on my best books list yet--I've got to see if it resonates in my mind over time. However, I would recommend it as a good, quirky read about the LA/entertainment industry culture.

I want to address the question "Are books like people?" I give a hearty "yes" to this question. Just like people, books can irritate, please, or leave us yawning. And this choice of liking/not liking is so personal. Many a time has a highly recommended book left me bored as a gourd (The Sun Also Rises). Likewise, I've loaned beloved books to friends (The Crimson Petal and the White, for instance) only to hear later that they hated them--couldn't get past page ten. I never take offense because sometimes a book's tone, vocabulary, plot, detail (or lack of) just don't do it for you--just like that neighbor down the street who keeps calling you to have coffee. It's nothing to worry about--your personality and hers just don't click. So be kind. In life, gently decline the offer of coffee; as for the book, return it with a smile. (And, for the latter, it's okay to say "I hated it!" You can't hurt a book's feelings.) BTW, amidst all the rambling, my best book for today is The Crimson Petal and the White, historical fiction about a prostitute in Victorian England. It's a hefty tome, all right, but its tone is anything but. Light, frothy, immensely readable--I couldn't put it down. Sugar's (the prostitute's) striped skin ailment intrigued me. Quirks, medical or otherwise, are good fodder for reading, in my book.

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