It’s Cool to Eat Sushi

The snow is back.

And I can’t wait to read Kyra’s book and I wish she’d write mine.

And Ally has another book launch party Tuesday night at 7:00 at the Provo City Library.

And Carol is a good Mom.

And I am so tired.

How do I get so so so tired and I haven’t done my writing quota for the day. It’s only 8:43.

I also have been distressed because I recently finished a book that I liked. A Lot. I really really liked it. I thought I’d buy it for people for Christmas. I kept thinking about it. I wanted to reread parts. Blah blah blah.

So. I was telling Cam about it.

And before I keep going, let me say, Cam and I are good for each other because we both have an incredibly hard time suspending belief. Because of that we are critical to a fault of movies, books, TV etc. We are annoying, I’m sure, but we have the best time watching things and ripping them apart together. I also think he’s smart and we are usually (umm, I am now thinking of lots of shows he loves that I don’t like so maybe this isn’t as relevant as I thought–hello firefly?) are on the same wavelength.

So I told him about this book.

I love it.

And I kept asking him questions about facts in the book.

Does this really mean this?

Because I am naive and not smart sometimes.

Etc. Etc.

So finally, yesterday, he started to read it for himself. By the third paragraph he was going, you’re kidding right?

What?

You’re kidding. You like this?

I sort of started to panic. Umm. Yeah. You don’t like it?

No. The voice is so annoying, he said.

Really?

Are you serious? Who would really say “insert quote here?”

I stammered. Umm. I think plenty of people would say that.

Really?

He read one more page and put the book down.

This sort of broke my heart. And made me feel like an idiot. I was like, how could he not like this? Isn’t this a good book? Why would he disagree with me? With ME? I’m his wife and we like and uhhh don’t like the same things. ThenI thought, is the voice annoying? I reread the first few pages and okay, I could see his point.

Then I went online and started reading reviews. I skipped just to the negative ones and all of them said similar things to what Cam had said about the voice, etc. John Updike even said some pretty scathing things about the book. Overly sentimental, too wordy, agenda-driven. And these are things I would think I would tap into. Was it overly sentimental? Was it wordy even though i thought the voice lent itself to that? Was there an agenda for sales? Also one person wrote something like “i may have liked this book back in my twenties when I took myself  seriously. Now I’m older and don’t mind being square and admitting when a cool book is bad. Really really bad.”

This made me even more self conscious.

But then, there were tons and tons of good reviews. Really good reviews. Amazing reviews really. And I saw that many of them had the same experience I did.

It was such an interesting process. I started reading more reviews. Then I stared at the picture of the author. Then I read reviews for his other books. Both good and bad. Then I wondered if he read these reviews?  Then I thought about myself as a reader. How do I decide what is good? And what does good mean to me? And do I care if I like it and he doesn’t? Does that make him a better or worse reader than me?

On one of our first dates, Cam took me for sushi. I had never had sushi before and he said, oh you’ll love it.

I had never really liked fish at all up to this point but I thought he was cute, so I said that I’d go. That I’d been dying to go maybe. So we went. And he ordered me Nigiri which means not in a roll. And my stomach turned when they brought it. He was staring at me and I was smiling pretty at him but inside I was dying and I took a bite.

Oh my gosh. I thought I was going to throw up. I really did. But I chewed and chewed and chewed. Finally, i got it down and he said, so????

And i said, It’s interesting.

My eyes were watering.

Interesting.

Yeah, I said.

Then I steeled myself and picked another piece.

He stopped me and said, Ann Dee, you know I’ll still like you even if you don’t like sushi.

This made me livid and I was mad and who did he think he was, I would never pretend to like something just because it was cool and everyone else liked it and what did it mean if I didn’t like it? Never!!!

Even though that was exactly what I was doing. It was our first fight and it was because he was absolutely right.

I think this is the same with books. I can still love cam and he can love me even if he “seriously cannot believe [I] made it past the first page.” He has his opinions, he and John Updike, and I can have mine. Who cares what’s cool and what’s not cool. The bottom line for me was I was taken by a character and I felt changed by the book. That was my experience and that’s my standard.

I think. Maybe. If you think so too . . .

P.S. Here’s a Christmas idea that cam sent me. He thinks i should use the above discussed book.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “It’s Cool to Eat Sushi

  1. now i’m dying to hear what book it is, of course. who isn’t?!

    i could never just pick any book to hang on my wall like the lady did when making the wreath. even torn apart, it has to have meaning. i took one of my favorite books (okay, not favorite because i couldn’t find a cheap enough copy of my favorites to destroy, but highly liked) and glued it to a board and hung it on my wall. i like book decor.

    i liked your sushi story. and your book story. i get that way when trav doesn’t like something that i really do and i thought he would love as much as me. the giver is one. i was SO sad about that. but i’m not changing my mind on that one. forever it will be a favorite. (luckily the review gods are with me. right? or at the least the award people, if that means something.)

    by the way – hi!

    • Hi Shar! How did your book writing in November go?

      I have never attempted book decor but the wreath is tempting. I can’t believe he didn’t like the GIVER. I asked Cam and he hasn’t read it. I wonder what he’d think.

      • he liked the giver okay, but i thought he would be as into it as i was. oh well. at least he’ll still read anything i recommend to him. we love having book discussions.

        my book writing went okay, but i didn’t finish like i’d hoped. so i was really disappointed in myself. i did more than double what i already had, so that made me happy. i think i need to outline just so i can make myself get to the end. i keep writing chapters that don’t go anywhere.

        how is your book writing going?

  2. That book wreath is beautiful, but it causes a dilemma. Do you use a book you love or hate?

    If you use a book you hate, you can gleefully cut out the pages and glue them haphazardly to a Styrofoam base. But then you have terrible words all over your pretty craft.

    If you use a book you love… HOW do you get yourself to destroy it?

    Maybe I’ll just use a dictionary…

    Also, I thought this post was sweet. I especially liked the sushi story. My husband and I are constantly mocking each others’ choice in books. “ANOTHER book with a teen girl on the cover?” “ANOTHER book with a big space-marine holding a gun?” We are both dorks.

    • Debbie – I love the thought of having GOOD books on my wall, so when I do book-cutting crafts, I search for my favorites at DI or used book stores. Sometimes you can find them really cheap at Amazon.com if it’s a used copy. I’ve never spent more than $4. That being said, I have wanted to use some of my absolute favorite books for projects, but couldn’t find them cheap enough anywhere so I didn’t use them at all. I just can’t tear apart I book that I paid more than $5 for.

      There is something really great about tearing out pages and making something different from the words you love to read.

    • Ha ha. I read the last part about your book covers to Cam. He laughed. I think sometimes I trick myself into thinking he’s going to love romancey and heavy but really, give him some blood and action and he’s good.

  3. Mmm… sushi. I think I could eat sushi forever. But I know plenty of people who just can’t stand it. Whereas I can’t stand eggplant. And most of the time I don’t like chocolate. So uh… yeah. 🙂

    Good story! Good post! Books (and ‘art’ as a concept in general) are so great because they really can mean so many things to different people. I’m glad that you enjoyed it even if he didn’t. Enjoying things is wonderful.

  4. Carol

    Great post, Ann Dee. And cool craft. For a moment I thought of making one of those wreaths. The moment has passed, though. I have a book to write.

    But I bet that would be beautiful with any kind of paper and, of course, only GOOD books should apply for the position.

    PS Cooked sushi is better than raw sushi.

  5. My husband almost can’t stand watching football with me. He’s never said that, but I know. The announcers drive me CRAZY. Last night I wanted to yell at John Gruden and say, “Just Marry Tom Brady already and get it over with.” Sheesh. And could they stop talking in absolutes? Pet peeve. So I talk back to the announcers and I’m very snarky. Even more snarky when my blood sugar is messed up.

    So the other night we rented Eclipse. We both had a good time being very snarky with that little program. I won’t even start that rant. But as terrible as it was, it certainly had a positive effect on Stephenie Meyers bank account.

    So this is what I’ve come up with…
    The Disney Channel Tween Singers drive me nuts. But I don’t have backpacks at Walmart with my face on them.
    True Artists cringe at the thought of American Idol.
    Kyra hates pre-pubescent boy singers. But the little neighbor girl across the street loves those boy band types.
    Ann Cannon still rocks out to Jimi Hendrix. (And plays air guitar.)
    My children have no clue who he is.
    Carol hates Kyra’s scream-o crap-o, Kyra thinks it’s funny and also hot

    None of us agree 100% with our music taste. Except everyone unanimously loves the singing at the WIFYR closing ceremonies. I just have to learn to change my mind about what constitutes good. Disney nails it’s market. So does American Idol. Stephenie Meyer nailed a market we didn’t know existed. And she got people reading. I think success makes those entities intelligent. It’s no Charles Dickens.

    The reviews I see on Amazon have confused me. How can one say a book is flaming crap, and the other say it’s the best thing since sliced bread? I think as a society we need to be less critical. Yes, I say this after I slammed, Eat Pray Love, on my blog. ha ha, oh well. We are all entitled to our opinion, but remember there is a human being behind all of it.

    • It’s so weird to me when I have to have the same epiphany over and over again: we all like different things and that’s a good thing. Leaves room for so many types of art.

      And yes, there is a human. I wish everyone remembered that.

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