Separate Beds

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I realized this morning that I forgot to reveal the number of books in my to-read stack in yesterday's entry. Sorry about that, it sort of slipped my mind. And now it's time for the big reveal. Drum roll please . . .


That number actually surprised me because it always feels like a lot more books than that when I'm sifting through the stacks every day trying to figure out what to read.

I was really plagued with the "What to read today" dilemma this morning because I woke up feeling like I didn't want to read at all. I eventually decided - after reading the first pages of a few different books - that I should read another book in the "Books I haven't read since I was a child and therefore have forgotten every detail of" pile. Today's book was one I haven't read since junior high when my mother confiscated it because it would fill my head with all the wrong ideas and destory my moral fiber. I remember loving the book at the time, but that's about all I could remember about it.

Today's book, "Catherine Anderson and Clay Forrester come from two completely different worlds, but one blind date leaves them forever linked. Clay, a handsome law student, and Catherine, a serious, bookish undergrad, experience an evening they will never forget. Fortified by the beauty of the night, as well as a bottle of wine, they share a night together. A few short months later, Catherine discovers she's pregnant. They agree to a marriage of convenience, an arrangement that suits them both-until they begin to fall in love."

Just reading that description makes me embarrassed that I used to have the kind of taste in books where that was considered a great book. I guess I can plead "I was only thirteen, give me a break" as my defense. I went over to earlier today to check the customer reviews and there was one review that said this was the best book she's ever read and I found myself thinking I really hope whoever wrote that review was under the age of fifteen, because there's just no excuse for considering this a great book otherwise. Although maybe I should hope that person isn't a teenager since this book pretty much sends the message of "Hey kids, if you get really drunk and have a one night stand you'll end up married to a really rich man and all your problems will be solved." I think I can see now why my Mother took this book away from me the first time around. At the time I thought it was because she was clearly the meanest Mom on earth, but now I get it.

Today's book was one step above a Danielle Steel novel, and that one step in this case would be that I didn't have to hear the life story of every minor character in the book. At one point the housekeeper came out and served the family their dinner and I kept thinking If this was a Danielle Steel novel, Inella would have served the salmon at dinner while reliving the memory of the man she used to make the dish for, the man who broke her heart, leaving her a shattered shell of a person. Then she would serve the mushrooms while remembering the baby she gave up for adoption when she was seventeen, as she wistfully looks off into the distance and brushes a tear form the corner of her eye. And then she would serve the cake which reminded her of the man she met after that, the one who helped her learn to love again. Why do some authors do that? I think it's because they have a certain word quota they have to hit and they're out of ideas for the actual story they're supposed to be telling so they decide What the hell, I'll bore the readers into a coma with a story about how the gardener was raised by an angry father and a detached mother?

The best thing about today's book was that it was written in 1985, and we all know what that means, descriptions of clothing and house decor that sound so hideous it actually starts to become amusing.
I'll give you a few examples:

  • a brown corduroy jacket (I could barely type that without gagging)
  • a long vanity, topped with gold-veined black marble (it's hard to believe that hideousness like that once existed and that people actually paid money to acquire it)
  • stylishly pleated navy trousers and a V-necked sweater of pale blue lamb's wool (Is anyone else getting a mental image of Stuart Smalley?)
  • a vested tuxedo of rich cinnamon, with an apricot shirt underneath (I guess the one advantage to getting married in the 80s is that there's no way you won't look better at your 20th Anniversary)

I'm sure you're in suspense over whether things end happily - because as well all know, books of this nature are so unpredictable - but I'm not going to give it away. I want you to experience the joy of gagging your way through this book on your own. And now, because I feel so guilty about making fun of a book that's written by someone who looks like a really nice person, I'm going to say something nice: This book was well-written for the fluffy, light, substance-free kind of book that it was. It's not Tolstoy by any means, but it is one of the better trashy romance novels I've ever read. It seems a little unfair to read a book and judge it for not being something that it was never intended to be - so I'm going to go easy on the book now and say that if you like romance novels, or light fluffy beach reads, or making fun of 80s clothes, then you'll probably like this book. If you like a book with some substance then you'll probably hate it.