Cheating on the book I’m (still) reading…

January 29, 2013 § 8 Comments


Arti will  understand. I began reading ANNA KARENINA weeks and weeks ago, at the beginning of Arti’s book challenge. I don’t regret a moment of it, tho’I’ve lagged and lost in terms of meeting any deadlines. I still have 250 pages of that magnificent novel to go. And not allowing myself ‘to see the movie ’til I finish the book. Yes, people like to say to me, “But you know how it ends, don’t you?”  Sure I do, but it’s the getting there that’s so entrancing, so full of detail and delight in the million little things that Tolstoy does. Still when reading such a tome, one is allowed to have a break, to cheat on the book, to take in another book, as it were.

And so I picked up a picture book the other day at the library. That is, it’s made to look like one. Actually, it’s a graphic novel by Audrey Niffenegger. She’s quite the talent, she is. Those who have read THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE and HER FEARFUL SYMETRY have an idea what she can do. I had no idea she could draw as well and come to find out, she’s done two other graphic novels, too.  But this one, the one I just finished titled THE NIGHT BOOKMOBILE has the look of a child’s picture book and none of the angst-y edge-y appearance that many graphic novels of our time posess.

I read it, wondering how it would go, with some of the enchantment of a child, wondering, anticipating how it could unravel, what could happen, not sure what would happen.

Seems this story of hers was a winner in ZOETROPE, Coppola’s story magazine (which has since grown into writing workshops in his Central America rancho location as well).  So I read it, delighted, somewhat disappointed as I neared the end, due to the turn it takes.  I should have guessed it. Had I paid more attention rather than getting somewhat lost in it, I might have realized what Niffenegger was going to do.

Still  it was  a lovely break from ANNA, tho’in retrospect, yikes, they share a certain alikeness.  But I read it with a certain delight based on its shape and presentation, it’s faux return-to-childhood based on its looks.  At one point  I was turning the book on its side to see what novels and stories were pictured on the shelves drawn on the pages. (part of the fun!)

Now that I’ve had my little dalliance, I can return to the land of Anna and the inner turnings of the 19th century Russian mind which is, I suspect, somewhat different from that vast country’s thinking presently.

Oh, all that cold and  those grand layers of fine clothes and people stashed in huge country houses trying to live a high life, and hearts breaking and unbreaking.

But for her part, Niffenberger wasn’t humorous, either; her picture book is, in fact, a little modern-lonely, but worth the break from the usual  read to see what one can do with “story.”  (Note: the 3 images used herein are from Google images.) (Another note, hours later: I just corrected spelling of the author’s name; apologies.)



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§ 8 Responses to Cheating on the book I’m (still) reading…

  • Arti says:

    Oh, I totally understand. And as a slow reader, I don’t flip through a 800+ page novel written by Tolstoy over a few days time. Also, I usually have a few books reading at the same time, so that multiplies the time needed for each one. Everyone has her own rhythm, so take your time.

    Hopefully though, you can finish Anna K. before it disappears from the big screens. I highly recommend you see it on the big screen, and before the Oscars (Feb. 24). But you know, from many of the comments I’ve received, and it’s def. my view too, that it’s not the high society characters that readers are fond of, but the farmer Levin. You might know the ending of Anna K., but maybe not Levin. I believe Levin is the alter ego of the author.

  • Well, then, I have cheated on every book, graphic novel, magazine, non-fiction, how-to, zombielit and soduko book I have ever picked up…always playing the reading field and easily called away to the next work! Glad to know I am not the only one!

  • Typehype says:

    These are wonderful illustrations (NIffenberger)! Thanks for turning me on to them. Have you heard of Maira Kalman’s book “The Principles of Uncertainty”? It’s heart-tugging and humorous. Filled with quirky watercolors, optimism, and wisdom. Her paintings are like kids’ art, primitive in their own way, but sophisticated, too. It’s become a sort of bible for me.

    Oh, yes… Levin is my favorite character too. He’s so ethical and decent. I wondered, as I read, if it was Tolstoy speaking through him. Meanwhile, poor Anna. It was a terrible time to be female.

  • For whatever reason, the graphics of the Night Bookmobile remind me of Edward Hopper. Go figure. Well, now that’s something new! Thanks!

  • Arti says:

    How are you, oh? Hope you’re well and enjoying the summer. Miss you. 😉

  • Corri says:

    Hi Oh – I wonder whether you are going to come back??

  • I know you haven’t left the neighborhood. Oh, it would be so wonderful to see and hear and read you again. Don’t keep us in suspense. After the last page has turned, the characters live on in the readers’ hearts and memories.

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