I said that I was going to try to avoid running more errands the next day, and I mostly did. Except that I had an Emergency Errand.
The kind of errand that makes me act like Starsky and Hutch, where I jump into the car and slap a light on the roof and start the siren going. Okay, not really. But, you know, metaphorically. Because the Emergency Errand required of me today was about a Book Emergency.
Actually, the proper pronunciation of “Book Emergency” is “NEE-Nah, NEE-Nah, BOOK EMERGENCY!!”
This may confuse you, because perhaps you think that a siren should sound more like “Wooo-wooo,” and that is understandable. I think that “Wooo-wooo” is the more common siren sound here in the United States, and it is absolutely the siren noise of choice when Carolyn the Zumba teacher is leading us in a rousing dance to Sean Kingston’s Fire Burning (“Somebody call 911!/Shawty fire burning on the dance floor” and so on). But literary precedent requires me to use the British term, “NEE-Nah,” as an homage to countless readings of the Maisy books by Brit Lucy Cousins when the girls were little.
But the point is, there was a NEE-Nah, NEE-Nah, BOOK EMERGENCY!!
I feel very upset and discombobulated if I am not reading a book. I usually read one book at a time, but if there is a big gap between the last page of one book and the first page of my next book, I feel profoundly uncomfortable. In fact, it is a great compliment to a book if I finish the book and then choose to mull it over at bedtime and wait until the following day to start the next one. Sometimes I will mark a book “completed” in Goodreads and I’ll get this auto-email asking me “What’s next?” and I scoff at Goodreads, because obviously I’ve already marked another book started and they just weren’t paying attention. So, obviously, if the girls finish a book, I go all Goodreads on them and ask them what’s next. So right away, if their “what’s next” choice is not in our home but is available at the local library, that’s at the top of Emergency Errands list, fo’ sho’. (I am not sure why that pronunciation was required, but that’s how it sounded in my head, so go with it).
In this case, I had a “Perfect Storm” situation in which I was forced to upgrade to the full-on, British-siren-sounding, NEE-Nah, NEE-Nah, BOOK EMERGENCY. That’s because not only was J (1) in need of a book, but it was also (2) a sequel and (3) the follow-up to a book I’d recommended! Oh, joy!
I read a lot of books. And I recommend a lot of books to my daughters. Sometimes they read them and think that they’re fine. Sometimes they refuse to ever, ever try them (like the great, sorrowful tragedy of my life that neither of my kids has ever read A Wrinkle in Time in spite of the fact that reading it was so formative to me that I chose my firstborn’s name based on the novel when I was in 3rd grade). And sometimes, some very precious, wonderful times, I absolutely love a book, and then a daughter reads that book and absolutely loves it, too.
Such is the case with J’s latest read, Graceling, by Kristin Cashore. It’s a fantasy novel that’s packed with super girl power and suspense and good messages and romance. I believe I bought a copy for J more than a year ago (I knew it was a non-starter with M; she is anti-fantasy). And then she didn’t read it, and didn’t read it, and meanwhile time moved on and I remembered, vaguely, that I’d really liked it, but my passion had cooled. Well, J finally, finally picked it up and she loved it. L-O-V-E-D, loved it. And I like it so much that I would sit down to read to her for ten minutes and I’d lose all track of time and read for forty-five minutes instead. Or she would pause, repeatedly, and say, “Can I just say again that I am thoroughly enjoying this book?” At one point we were at an extremely high-stress plot point, and then one character did something dramatic, and then another character said something dramatic, and J was so psyched about it that she high-fived the book.
So. When she finished Graceling and I found out that Bitterblue was at my local library, you know what I did.
I jumped into the car through the open window, slapped that flashing light onto the top of the Rogue, and went peeling out of the driveway.
You know: metaphorically.