I just finished a short story collection titled The Last Girlfriend on Earth and Other Love Stories by Simon Rich. It was a quick read; 24 hours didn’t even pass between the time I picked it up and the time I put it down. The stories were quirky and most were hilarious. The first one got me right laughing out loud on the airplane while I was sandwiched in between two older men. Once you figure out who the narrator is for that one, you won’t stop laughing (I’m not going to spoil it for you here). The next few stories that followed were okay, but the ones that got me were a little further in. There’s one where Seth meets his ex’s new boyfriend, Adolf Hitler, one where God’s girlfriend demands attention while he’s trying to create the universe on schedule, and one where a priest is asked to exorcise the ghost of an ex-girlfriend from an apartment, just to name a few. There are 31 stories in all, most of them funny, though one of them was sad (thankfully the collection didn’t end on this story or my feelings might have turned out differently). It’s difficult to put into words exactly why this collection was so good; I think the best thing I can say about it is that Rich has a way of thinking of situations, turning them on their heads, and making the best out of said situation. This collection is a must-read for anyone who’s ever been in a relationship.
Tag Archives: reading
One of my requirements for a purse is that it is big enough to hold a book. I have this requirement because I’m always in the middle of three or four books and hope to snag a minute or two of downtime and get a few more pages read. When Fred and I go on a road trip, he drives and I read until I fall asleep.* I’ll mute the commercials on TV just so I can read. Of course, this is a bit more difficult, trying to keep two separate plots straight in my head, so I don’t do it too much. Stuck in traffic? Not a problem! I just whip out my book and start reading.
But the other night I was at Fred’s house with no reading material of my own. I didn’t think this would be a problem, until I woke up at 5:30 in the morning, hacking and sneezing and unable to get back to sleep. Usually when I wake up and I’m a bit restless, I read a few pages and it lulls me back to sleep.** Fred doesn’t own many books because he prefers not to own many material possessions, unlike me. What few books he does own either don’t interest me or I’ve already read. So, I did the next best thing: I played on the Wii.
My tired eyes stared at the big, bright screen as I urged Mario on to save Princess Peach. It wasn’t until I stopped to go to the bathroom that I realized that it was 9. Hours had been wasted away for some game when I could have been laughing along at Jen Lancaster’s misadventures or learned the history of Facebook. Or, at the very least, read until I was able to sleep again. But because of my little oversight of carrying one of two purses that I own that are too small for a book, I was sucked into a vortex of time-wasting. This has happened before, when I’ve forgotten to take a book with me and I’ve regretted it. But it was never to this magnitude. Usually I just lose a few minutes, at most a half an hour. But this time I lost hours. Hopefully I’ll learn and remember that I should always take a book with me, wherever I go. Always.
*For some reason, riding in cars makes me sleepy. Ten minutes in and I’m out like a light.
**Playing games on my iPod also works but I didn’t have that either.
I love to read. I love holding a book in my hands and feeling the thickness of the pages. I get a sense of accomplishment when I feel the left side of the book get thicker. The sound of the pages turning and the smell of the book, whether it be new or old, add even more sensation than just sight or touch.
With the different versions of e-readers out there, though, the need for actual books is becoming more and more moot. And since I work in a bookstore that sells one of these types of e-readers, I’ve heard a lot of different opinions. People can generally be lumped into one of these 3 categories:
Hardcore Book Fanatics
There are some people who flat-out refuse to read books on an electronic device. Books to them can never be replaced and a book is more sensational than any e-reader out there. (Perhaps the future versions of the nook or Kindle will have sounds of pages turning and even go so far as to extricate a smell of fresh ink on parchment. Older books can smell of mildew and simulate tears in pages.) Still, the HBFs will always turn up their noses to such things. Paper is the way to go for them, no matter what.
This group of people is the exact opposite of the HBFs. They, like my boyfriend Fred, want as little stuff around them as possible. The thought of having bookcases filled with books makes them shudder. If there is a way to have all the books they want on one small device, then they are for it. Of course, the more functions the device can do the better. These people are more likely to buy an iPad than just an e-reader.
This is the group of book lovers who believe that reading is a wonderful thing to which everyone should have access. They enjoy reading a book but they are not opposed to electronic reading. These people will have both an e-reader and a bookcase or two filled with books. Reading and literature are so important to them that it doesn’t matter the format as long as they’re reading something.
I’ve thought a lot about e-readers ever since I’ve had to start selling them. At first I thought of myself as an HBF but now I see myself as an In-betweener. I like the idea of having fewer books to lug around when I move and of being able to take just one item full of books on vacation rather than 3 or 4 heavy books. But I also enjoy the different sensations an actual book gives. I like going to author events and getting autographs – something you can’t do with an e-reader. However, the e-reader is a good idea for someone like me who is usually in the middle of 4 or 5 books at the same time. If I take my e-reader to work or on a vacation or even while going over to Fred’s, I have the option of which one I want to continue reading. Without the e-reader, I have to take just one (the fewer the books, the lighter the purse). What if later on I’m not in the mood to read that but one of my other books instead? In short, I believe that both books and e-readers are good. I may always favor books a little more, but e-readers have a good pull as well.
Now I just have to wait for some birthday money* before I can get my e-reader (from my store, of course).
*It’s in December. Cash is preferred.