Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Read This Book!

One of the things that tickles me the most in the world is that I get to read for a living. How wonderful is that! When I read as a critic, I read the book twice. First to just be lost in that incredible waking dream world of the book, especially if it's a novel. Then, I read and take notes, I try to make connections, and I'm never really lost in the book because my critical mind is tick, tick, ticking. But something else kickstarts, too. If a book is really wonderful, the writer in me starts yearning, "How did this writer do what he or she did? And how can I learn to do it, too?"

That's the way I felt about Valerie Trueblood's novel, Seven Loves, in paperback so there's absolutely no excuse not to snap it up. For anyone who needs buzz before you buy, well, there's high praise from the likes of Ann Patchett and Elizabeth Strout, and in any case, trust me, the novel is truly magical.

The novel is the story of May Nilsson, made up of the moments of her life, specifically seven of them where love in one form or another holds court. She roams back and forth in time to talk about her husband, the lover she takes in her 40s, her girlhood, and when she is aged. (And you probably can count on your fingers the last time you read a novel that had such a truly interested and interesting old woman in it!) Trueblood's said she's anti-plot, but there is a thread here--and I followed it totally enraptured.

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