Michelle Gable, Writer

Michelle Gable, Writer

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Reading Moods

July 22, 2013 , , ,

I read anywhere between 100 and 150 books/year and I’ve long since known my mood can dictate whether a book speaks to me and how loudly. I even tried to assess inherent seasonality in my reading habits. Over the weekend I re-read a book and surprised myself by enjoying it buckets more than I did the first time around.

I never re-read books, with one exception: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, my all-time favorite book. However, we had a little book club kerfuffle (not to worry, nothing that violated our one book club rule: never sleep with another member’s husband, which is a very solid practice all around). A few months back people were wondering when I was going to make my selection. I was traveling a lot and though I’d read several great books none seemed adequate for book club. Good for book club and good in general are two very distinct and separate barometers. In fact two of the best book club discussions we’ve ever had were for novels I didn’t care for, and that’s saying it diplomatically (Little Bee and On The Island). Anyway, as people wanted to know about the July book so they could get reading, I was at a loss. Usually I have a few I’m mulling over but I’d just not yet given my brain permission to use bandwidth on this topic.

pariswife

As emails flew back and forth, one member made it known she really wanted to read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. Like really, really. I’d read it a few years back, when it first came out, and liked it but wasn’t sure it was solid book club material (though my agent pitched APRIL IN PARIS as “Moulin Rouge meets The Paris Wife”). Alas a few others piped in they wanted to read it too. Mostly I was feeling anxious that folks wanted to get reading and I didn’t have a better pick so The Paris Wife it was.

[Side note: the last time I hosted we did Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed and it was unbelievable. Everyone should read that book. It was amazing to read and for book club and for life. All the barometers. Though, it must be said, my mother’s book club had the exact opposite reaction and were mostly horrified. So if you don’t care for salty language or memoirs written by former heroin addicts then probably skip it.]

Anyway, since it’d been two years since I first read the book, I decided I should probably re-read it so I had some ammo with which to guide the discussion. I’ll skim it, I thought. Get the gist. Turns out the second time around I loved it. Adored it. Didn’t want to put it down. There was absolutely no skimming and many parts I read and re-read. Again, I liked it the first time, and found the research phenomenal, but this time it was on an entirely different level.

What changed? What was going on the first week of March 2011 that I wasn’t fully into it? Was it that I was planning my daughter’s 5th birthday party? It was one month before tax time? I was pretty mired in my own Paris manuscript at that time. Maybe that was the problem? Is that I read Z by Therese Fowler since then and it was fun to see the Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald side of things? Maybe it’s all of these things or none of them. I’m just glad I read it again. And it has me questioning my “never read the same thing twice” personal policy. Book club often picks books I’ve already read. Maybe in the future I’ll have to re-read them too.

What do you think?

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