30 May 2009
Busted: Crimes Against Publishing
Last night I was all hunkered-down in my reading chair. Feet up, glass of 2005 Ribera del Duero at my side (shout out to the entire country of Spain: I love your wine! Have you ever considered sponsoring a blog?), a half-read copy of "The Reader" in my left hand, a kitten batting at my right.
Around the corner comes Hubster, he stops to survey the scene of domestic tranquility and I'm pretty sure he's thinking loving thoughts and feeling the marital bliss.
Then his face fell.
And with that the tranquility was shattered.
"You can't DO that!"
Do what? Drink and read? Oh, hell yes I can.
"You can't skip to the end of the book! I just don't know how you DO that. That's just wrong."
I look down at the book. Sure enough, I've given myself away by inserting a finger where I've left off (midpoint) while reading the last page.
I give myself a mental kick in the ass. Time to go on defense.
"Where is it written that I can't skip to the end? You flip through magazines back-to-front."
"If the author wanted you to know how the book ends when you're only half-through, he'd have put the end in the middle and then flashed-back... Are you really that impatient?"
Truth be told, much of the time I am that impatient. But there is a method to this breaking of The Reading Rules.
"Look, if I get half-way through a book and am not completely in love with it, I skip to the last chapter. If I like the way the book ends, I go back, read the second half, fill in the details and then reread the last chapter in its rightful place - at the end.
If I don't like the way the book ends, I set it aside and take another from The Giant Shelves of Unread Books.
If I love the book, I read it in the order intended by the author."
:: Another doubtful look and an exit ::
So the part of the "The Reader" - and I don't think I'm giving anything away here, because the commercial for the movie shows this scene - I'm struggling with is the courtroom scene.
I've already - 100 pages ago - figured out The Big Secret. Also, the back-and-forth between prosecuting attorney, defending attorney, judge and defendant isn't nearly as interesting in print as it is on the big screen. And it's in Germany, and it's 40 years ago and I'm frustrated that Hanna can't speak up for herself in the courtroom the way a modern American would.
All this led me to skip to the last chapter - and to get busted.
I didn't pick this book. This is a Book Group book. I'm slogging my way through, but I need a little help. I need to know how it ends. At least I'm not skipping the book and just watching the movie.
So I'll give you all one guess as to my favorite shot in "When Harry Met Sally."
Yes, I have a favorite shot, a favorite scene, a favorite line, a favorite song. I have ovaries. The movie was released when I was 22 years old. I was susceptible...and I've watched it about 40 times since then.
My favorite is the quick little part that shows Harry starting a new book and then immediately flipping to the last page. The phone rings, Sally asks him what he's doing, and he says, "I was just finishing a book."