Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Fricassee

Have you ever had the privilege of watching the metamorphosis of a human being from non-book-person to passionate reader?  There's nothing like it.

Especially when it's your spouse!

So, I married a bookless man.  Or perhaps a man with a bookless soul.  In his defense, I wasn't really actively reading when we started dating.  It was my senior year of college, and who has time to read fiction then?  More than that, though, I was a majoring in music, so all my non-dating time was taken up with practicing and student teaching and practicing and accompanying for the choir and practicing and bitching about my non-music courses and practicing.

When I finally reconnected with my love of literature, I found myself in a sort of husband-less black hole.  I also struggled with having to set aside things I really would have loved to do, like curl up in bed with a book and a cup of cocoa on a winter's evening, or bring a nice, fat novel with me on a picnic.  Reading was reserved for times when Mr. A was otherwise engaged, or perhaps out of town.  Certainly I was able to sneak it in on the toilet, but that doesn't get you through too many books in a year.

As I dived more deeply into my writing, I also ramped up my reading.  It continued to be that thing I did on my own, and I often found myself longing to have a nice, deep BOOK TALK with my beloved.  But the only talks we had were about my own stories, which Mr. A was so very kind to read and comment on, despite a lack of true love for the written word.

Mind you, this had its own hazards.  Not being well-versed in author-speak, he would absolutely go off his rocker about things like "he narrowed his eyes" ("What the heck is a narrow eye?") and "she opened her mouth and closed it again" (I suffered through more bastardized demonstrations of this than I care to count).

"If you read books," I would say, "you would know that these are normal ways of saying things in writing."

Ultimate eye-roll.  "There's nothing normal about that."

So there it was.  He was helpful and supportive and he read every novel I wrote.  But he wasn't a reader.

And then.

This past spring, I read the blurb of The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey, and I just knew that my husband would like it.  Just knew.  I didn't buy it right away, though, and in the meantime, Mr. A saw the trailer for the movie, and exclaimed, "Hey, I want to see this."  My response was, "Hey, I'm totally buying you the book, because you will love it and you know I will only respect you if you read it before seeing the movie."  Or something like that.

(Disclaimer: The movie absolutely sucked. But that's another story.)

So I bought the book right before we left for vacation, since he was clamoring for a "vacation read" (things were already looking promising).  I also bought myself Mary Pearson's Kiss of Deception, which I've gushed about more than once since having finished it.

Mr. A tore through The Fifth Wave like nothing I'd ever seen.  (Well, okay.  He read The Giver on a flight to San Francisco a few years ago, which was pretty impressive.  But since that event didn't lead to any sort of permanent change, it pales in comparison.)  Then...then!...he reached for Kiss of Deception.  And that's when the real magic began.

My husband--my non-book-reading, I-don't-like-fantasy husband, DEVOURED Mary's novel.  Gushed about it whenever he came up for air.  (Honestly, "gush" isn't a word I often use in the same sentence as my husband's name.)  He was, and is, absolutely in love with Mary's books.  And yes, he has since read all three.  In fact, I let him read the third one first (big-hearted wife that I am), and he is dying to discuss it with me.


Oh, the beautiful irony!

So the final 5th Wave book is on his table, and just last night he announced to me that he is buying a Kindle next month.

A freaking Kindle.

The first thing he's planning on downloading?  My novel-on-submission.  He's never read the final, polished, out-to-editors version, and he says he wants to read it with his new reading eyes, now that he's read Mary's books.

Which makes me sort of nauseated.  I've begged him to read something--anything--in between my book and Mary's.  I'm pretty sure I couldn't deal with the pressure!  It looks like Rick Yancey will be the perfect buffer (different genre, different writing style), so I think I'm covered.

I've also suggested that he should read at least the first three Harry Potter books, and he has agreed.  (This may be directly related to the fact that he recently overheard me having a conversation with someone about the names of different spells, which made him exclaim that it sounded like we were speaking some other language. Which we kind of were.)

I'm over the moon.  I'm not sure who this man is, but I really, really, really like him and hope he stays.  What's nice is that he gives me credit, as though I've somehow wrought this change.  I'd imagine it would be kind of hard to live long with a writer/book lover without something rubbing off, but I can't take all the credit.  Mr. A is a creative, imaginative, intelligent guy.  I have to believe that it was only a matter of time until he found his inner bookworm.

Oh, and he's told me he'd like to read some adult fiction, and that he's particularly interested in thrillers (but nothing to do with serial killers, which creep him out).  So PLEASE FILL MY COMMENT BOX WITH YOUR SUGGESTIONS!  I don't read thrillers, so I can't help him out here.
So, yay, me!  I have a TRANSFORMED HUSBAND!  If I suddenly start expressing a deep interest in the NFL, you'll know why.


  1. Yay for Mr. A! My dad likes both suspense (e.g., John Grisham's legal suspense) and thrillers (e.g., Tom Clancy's political/military "Jack Ryan saves the world" books). Both of those authors are reportedly better for the first half of their careers and are "oldies but goodies"...but hey, if Mr. A has fresh eyes he can read in order of pub date and then graduate to modern thrillers. :)

    In my family I am both the reader and the NFL fan, so I'm not sure how I'll bribe my hubs...

  2. That's awesome!! I don't read much adult stuff, so no suggestions here. But one of my absolute fav books is The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud, that I love to recommend to everyone. England has been beset w/ghosts, and only kids can see them. Hence kid agencies! They are just...SO fantastic.

  3. I'm very happy for you. That's a wonderful development. My husband went in the other direction. He used to read a fair amount, including The New Yorker, cover-to-cover, every week. (Who has time to do that?) He used to tell me about interesting articles in such detail I had no need to read them afterwards, and didn't want to, he was such a great story teller. Then he drifted away. He turned into someone who, gasp, listens to books - on headphones! I've lost my literary partner-in-crime. He only listens to what he can get out of the library, and if you've ever tried that, the choices are slim and the wait is long. Anyway, here's a toast to Mr. A. Long may he read.

  4. Dear Authoress,
    My husband, also not a book guy, devoured GONE GIRL & could not stop calling people to tell them about it. Maybe worth a try for Mr. A?

  5. Try the Pendergast series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs. Starts with Relic and Reliquary. #16, The Obsidian Chamber, comes out in October.

  6. Best end of world series ever:
    The Breakers Series by Edward W. Robertson

  7. My husband got started with Harry Potter! Now he mostly "reads" audiobooks at the gym. He loves thrillers--Lee Child is a favorite. I would ditto the Preston/Childs series. Also David Baldacci, Harlen Coben, and Greg Iles. And I think the early Clive Cussler/Dirk Pitt series is hilarious. I first heard them on Radio Reader in about 1988. Sort of Ian Fleming meets Tom Clancy. Enjoy!

    1. Thank! Been thinking about Tom Clancy. Will check out the Preston/Childs series.

  8. How wonderful for you. I loved this post.

  9. How wonderful for you. I loved this post.

  10. All in all, this is a fairly accurate representation of this transformation. I have read mostly nonfiction over the years. I did read the Giver on a 4 hour flight. Twice actually! I devoured Lord of the Flies and blogged about the different leadership styles demonstrated by Ralph and Jack.

    I loved the first Fifth Wave book, the second one a little less, but invested enough to read the third one this weekend. The movie was a travesty and feel bad for Rick Yancey.

    Mary Pearson is really responsible for this transformation. I do not like fantasy much. I was totally captivated by her world, characters and her writing. The second and third books did not disappoint. Unlike Hunger Games, all three were equally strong. The incredible story arc begs for another book. Really.

    I want to read Authoress's latest submission again, because Mary gave me a new found appreciation for fantasy.

    I have noticed that my coffee has a different taste to it and I think I am onto something :)

  11. Two of the very best in the craft, IMO, are John Sandford and Lee Child. Sandford's Prey series is a bit darker than his other series that features Virgil Flowers, which has a bit more humor. Child's early stuff is particularly good.

    Another to consider is Stephen Hunter's Swaggert series (father and son). Lisa Scottoline and John Grisham capture the legal side, though Grisham's style is breezier.

    If Mr. A likes fantasy, he might like Lisa Unger. Everyone likes Laura Lippman.

    If he wants a little more levity, consider James Swain's early work that features Tony Valentine. Randy Wayne White, James Hall and Tim Dorsey capture the craziness of Florida. (So does Carl Hiaasen. His early stuff is fast, funny and passion-filling.)

    Happy reading and discovering to Mr. A.

  12. I don't like traditional spy/crime thrillers. I prefer things like The Fifth Wave that are a little more genre bending. In that vein, The Girl With All the Gifts was great and I enjoy Blake Crouch--his Wayward Pines series, if you haven't seen spoilers, and his latest book, Dark Matters.

  13. I just finished The Fifth Wave and gushed about it already on Twitter, so I'm with Miss Snark on that one. My husband wasn't much of a reader and didn't even speak English but LOVED sci-fi classic DUNE (in French) and later Christopher Paolini's Eragon (in English). His next read is The Sword of Shannara, by Terry Brooks, a classic.

  14. Sea Wolf by Jack London should definitely be on Mr.A's reading list. It's an adventure/thriller that would be right up his alley

  15. Mr. A, if you enjoy modern detective reads the JK Rowling (a.k.a Robert Galbraith) books are terrific. Cuckoo's Calling, The Silkworm and Career Of Evil in that order. So good.

  16. I have had a similar experience. I was an English major and have always loved reading. Hubby is a math/science guy, and when I gushed over Shakespeare in college, he looked at me like I had two noses. A few years ago, I bought him a Kindle and asked him to help read ahead of the kids. The reading bug bit. He likes kid lit/ action adventure (The Ranger's Apprentice, Artemis Fowl), but he's hit a low (he's stuck on Concussion: non-fiction that just hasn't grabbed him) Perhaps I'll pick up a Lee Child for him. Thanks for sharing, you two, and keep up the great reading (and suggestions!).