‘Pin Picks: Cheaper by the Dozen
It’s amazing how if you are just lazy and don’t do something for a while, people remember it really fondly, isn’t it? Like Hands Across America, or wearing pocket squares.
Happily, of course, no one will profiteth so much today as our own kickupdust, a young woman of obvious thoughtfulness and human warmth. We can tell that much is true from her three favourite books (her use of “u” in “favourite” suggesting that she may be a fellow Canadian, or an Australian – next best thing, really – or just a pleasant garden-variety Brit). She might even be Kate Middleton! Feel better, Kate! Do not let anyone try to tell you that Sea-Bands work, because Sea-Bands are nonsense (maybe if you’re on THE SEA, they work, but they do nothing to counteract the tide of parasite progesterone ripping through your body).
Okay, tell us more, kickupdust:
These aren’t my favourites, because who can pick favourites, but they’re definitely among them. more importantly, I’ve come to that time in the summer* that I really intensely want to re-read these books or something like them, and I go and stare at my bookshelves and think, what do I read, and oh I should really read that one it is an Important Work and I haven’t read it yet so I should now. so then I start it, of course, and get precisely 1.7 pages in and stop and go look at my bookshelves some more and pick these three up and set them down and pick them up and etc. it is very tiring and no reading gets done with all this waffling about so hopefully you can help!
*She obviously meant to say “winter,” because otherwise we have to picture this sad woman aging in a chair like Bella Swan in “New Moon” as her window view pages through the seasons while she waits for Nicole to choose her.
Oh, girl, I hear you. I hear you so hard right now. Honestly, I barely had to glance at your books, because yours is an existential dilemma. You are being tossed on the horns of the familiar and the good. You want a particular experience, but you also worry that you are floundering and regressing. Do you know how many times I’ve said “screw itttttt” and just gotten back into bed with “Portrait of a Lady”? All the times. So, look, let’s talk about your books, and then find something that’s just a little bit more, okay? We’ll ask a little more of you.
1. East of Eden, John Steinbeck – INTERESTING. Not everyone loves Steinbeck. I kind of love certain Steinbeck, and others I throw across the room vigorously before I get totally bummed out. More importantly, I kind of love that “East of Eden” is comfort-reading for you, and now I know EXACTLY what you should read, because it’s kind of this, but better. Because I’ve decided already, I can now take a minute to say, Jesus, DID you watch Ken Burns’ “The Dust Bowl”? Did you? Oh my God, I am the worst person in the world, because I lost my Apple TV remote, because those things are like the size of a toenail clipping, and was all “UGH, now I have to watch something off my DVR, like an animal,” and so I clicked on “The Dust Bowl,” and basically spent the next several hours being visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, filled with self-loathing, watching living people remember how they had to move into a chicken coop when their dad died and their mom couldn’t take in any more washing because of the dust.
2. The Once and Future King, T.H. White SWALLOWS TONGUE IN ORDER TO AVOID SAYING THE MISTS OF AVALON BECAUSE THAT IS NOT WHAT WE ARE DOING TODAY. This book is lovely. You are lovely. These stories are lovely. I am happy for you. Read them as much as you want.
3. The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas Again, charming. Also, again, not what we are doing today, but you really should read Papillon. I think we should start a microcharity where we send political prisoners copies of “Papillon” and “The Count of Monte Cristo.” I am sure they would love that, even more than phone cards and better legal representation.
Your book. Your new book.
Angle of Repose, Wallace Stegner. Both because it is perfect and because it is like “East of Eden” while being better and MASTERFUL. Stegner is a master. I picture Stegner living his life, absorbing the entirety of human experience with grace, then sitting down, making that gesture where you clasp your fingers and push them away from you, like, “I’ve got this,” and then writing “Angle of Repose.” And now we have “Angle of Repose.” It is wonderful, but it is also accessible and kind. And it’s about the West, which is something. Sometimes you read eleven novels back-to-back about people who are writers in New York City who suck at relationships, and you want a bit of a palate cleanser. Read it, tell me what you think.
Hey, while we’re making word-based humour in our titles, I have it on exceptionally good authority from melis that the ACTUAL BOOK “Cheaper by the Dozen” is pretty great, and is unlikely to upset your emotional apple-cart. The dad is a cool dude, too.