Looking at the Page

My husband Sparky has been a reading fiend. He has been posting his reads with a goal of reading one book a week. Well, at this rate he will have read 52 books by the end of August. The one thing that he hates more than almost anything else is if I attempt to read a book he is reading before he finishes it. So my reading is far behind his. This is mostly because I have been doing other things but partly because he will read 2 to 3 books at a time! I’ve never been able to do that. He’s currently all about Flannery O’Connor. He’s read Wise Blood, A Good Man is Hard to Find, The Violent Bear it Away, Everything that Rises Must Converge and the Complete Stories. I have to say that I’ve read the first one as part of an American Literature class. I was not impressed. He keeps urging me to try another one. This is the same thing I was faced with as a child and young adult living at home. “Tastes change. Try just one bite of this pickle, one sip of this orange juice, just one nibble of this spinach…”

I have periodically attempted to try some foods that as a child I was diametrically opposed to eating. I now adore mushrooms (if fresh instead of the canned ones that were my mother’s staple). I will eat spinach (fresh cooked not ever canned). I’m okay with squash. I’ll eat egg whites and actually enjoy them. However I have never liked (despite numerous attempts) and will never eat certain items: mayonnaise, mustard, asparagus (no matter how you cook it), raw veggies including kale, lettuce (all varieties), cucumbers, celery, raw onion, raw tomato, raw carrot (I’ll eat them cooked but just keep the raw ones far far away).

So despite having tried I still can’t enjoy some authors. They are just not palatable to me. Maybe it is some slightly bitter after taste or a strong flavor that slaps you in the face. Ernest Hemmingway, John Steinbeck, Flannery O’Connor, James Joyce, and there are others. But these seem to be the ones that like kale, pickles and asparagus others seem to enjoy but leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Take a bite and see
Clean your plate or no dessert
Thank-you, no thank-you

29 thoughts on “Looking at the Page

  1. When i was back in the academe teaching literature i noticed that at times no matter how good, how brilliant the author some students or even colleagues wont like them..as per my husband, well he is not a book enthusiast (unless its business book or technical read)…my competetion in the reading department at home is my kids…we have the same book preferences as well as authors but like like your hubby Sparky, my youngest would not want us to touch the book that she is still reading

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    1. Things got really tense at our house when a new Harry Potter book would come out…. It was a real struggle and we’d have to have 4 book marks and set a timer so everyone could get a chance to read!!

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  2. Great post, loved the little Haiku. I am finicky about authors, too. I wasn’t enamored with any of the high school classics. Now, as then, I love memoirs. Messy life stories that can’t be bent into a perfect story arc. My favorites were Helen Keller and Joni Eareckson. Also loved Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I can’t read two books at once, too confusing. I am not at all finicky about food–I can’t think of one food I despise or won’t touch. Milk and cheese have begun to give me digestion problems, but I don’t want to stop eating them so I take enzyme tablets from the drug store. 🙂

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    1. Tastes change but some things stay the same – I will never enjoy Hemingway or pickles. I’m thrilled you like the haiku – thanks for that compliment! I just can’t handle peppers of any kind and almost all melons – they repeat on me so severely that it just isn’t worth it…

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  3. You are so funny. I loved this post. It is so intimate an insight of your relationship and so typical of the relationship my wife and I have. My wife would read 2 books a week before she lost most of her sight and she seldom spoke of what she was reading unless I quizzed her. I, on the other hand, would pick up something she had read and often I would find it just as addictive as she and then ask her why didn’t you tell me about this? She’d smile and say I don’t recommend anything because our tastes seldom intersect. Some of the authors I like are Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Joe Bageant, Cahill…and like my music tastes, If I read or hear something I like I want to get everything the author/musician has ever done.
    Well our views on life and relationships concur thus the longevity of the marriage. I cannot imagine anyone I would rather be with than my interesting and loving spouse of 32 years. Thank you for sharing. Wonderful post to read to my wife with our coffee this morning. ❤

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    1. Thanks a bunch Joe! I’m so glad you and your bride of 32 yrs enjoyed this post!! I enjoy Vonnegut but I’ll take a hard pass on Steinbeck. Maybe 9th grade English class soured me on Steinbeck (The Red Pony and The Pearl). I did like The Grapes of Wrath but Cannery Row left me cold…

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  4. Starky makes me think of my late father in law . Often, he started to read a book and after the first chapters jumped at the end of the book to know how the story ended ! 🙂
    At this time I try to read a novel of François Mauriac , a famous French writer but alas I cannot digest his style.
    In the far past a friend , student in philosophy, offered to me to read “l’ être et le néant” by Jean-Paul Sartre . I have not been able to read more than the page 1 ! 🙂

    Love ❤
    Michel

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    1. Philosophy is always a difficult read!! I would not feel aggrieved at having read only 1 page – that is more than what I’d be able to do before my head spun!

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    1. Sparky is what his father used to call him as a kid. It was just an endearing nickname that probably stuck because he was a “real spark plug” for getting into trouble due to his short fuse and willingness to “fire”…

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  5. I love that we have different tastes in food, literature, music, beliefs … it adds to the spice of life! But you lose me if you try to force your choice on me … to me that’s a form of violence 🙂 Each to their own!

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    1. True! There is so much out there of every genre. It makes it hard to choose. Sparky has set a goal of reading lots of new types of stories. He is going to explore: Romance, Westerns, Thrillers, Horror, True Crime, History, Memoirs… He wanted me to point him in the direction of a good romance novel and I had to laugh. I read 2 when I was in 7th grade at the urging of a friend. The first one was silly to me and the second was just like the first only the names had been changed! I haven’t read another one since. I was absolutely no help.

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  6. I love to read, a lot. But like you, I need my book and my time, and will not read certain authors. Daughter Saadi will try to tell me how good a certain book is, and I should read it. I have made that mistake. Nails dragging on the wall! I could have left the book unfinished, but I can’t. Once started, I have to finish it, even if it made me half way sick or give me a headache. I too do not read three or four books at a time. Saadi does, she is a fast reader. I like to savour my books. love to read a paragraph over again if I like it, and drool over it.
    Having said all the above, I have to say that I love John Steinbeck. I think I have all his books. Just me and my taste.
    Yeah tastes change. I love vegetables, but there was one, bitter gourd, that was so bitter you could almost cross your eyes. Every one loved it at home. I couldn’t stand it. Not one bit. Then I came here, and saw it in one of the Indian grocery stores. It looked so fresh and green and ugly. On an impulse I got it,(I think I was homesick) and made it with lamb and tomatoes. Now I don’t absolutely love it, but I will eat it when ever I get a chance.
    Love your Haiku Val.

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    1. I have read a couple of books that were recommended that were wonderful and then a few that were painful and some that were awful. I prefer Victor Hugo… As for the bitter gourd, I’ve never tried it but there is always a first time. Haiku look easy but they can be very tricky to do well. Thanks for the kind words for this one!

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  7. I am a plate cleaner, mainly because I don’t put things that I dislike on my plate, in the first place. In fairness, though, there are only a few things I dislike. I also read 2-3 books at a time.

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    1. We were always encouraged to clean the plate. I was not a fan of certain foods and although we were never required to eat it all we did have to take one bite. The thing that was required was to finish our milk… I love milk but just couldn’t choke down 12 oz at a meal!

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