Thursday, June 9, 2011

I wondered as I wandered..

As I wandered through my home library, contemplating what next to read, I picked up a book, read a few pages as I often do, not interested and  put it down. Wandered around a little more, picked up another book read a couple of pages and put it back on the shelf. I wondered what I should read next.Then, I looked at a stack of books and the answer was right on top. My wonderment ended with Michael Chabon's book, Wonder Boys.

Wonder Boys: A Novel
I had not heard of Chabon until a colleague mentioned Chabon's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, one that he'd left on a plane or in his hotel while traveling. I confessed I too have left books in the seat back pouch of the airplane seat in front of me. Anxious to exit the plane, you grab your carry on and off you go, only to realize you've left a book on the plane. I've not subscribed to the Nook or the Kindle method of reading for various reasons, one of them being just that - - - leaving it on a plane.  How many books have you left on a plane?  Someone out there is enjoying a nice book or two. We conversed a bit about the Kav and Clay and I found it mildly interesting at that point.

As weeks passed,  I reflected more on the  book about  Kav and Clay and decided to  purchase a few of  Chabon's novels. So I loaded up my reusable tote bag and off I went  to the Half Price Books store nearest me, then arrived back home and placed them on the shelf for another day....

With the browsing of my library and my quest for the next book to read complete, I began, Wonder boys.  With the first several pages behind me, I thought  Chabon's writing style and his central character, Grady Tripp, a pot-smoking, adulterous, literature professor struggling to finish writing his second book, reminded me a bit of John Updike * and his Rabbit Run character, Rabbit Angstrom. I was pleasantly surprised when I was through about a third of the book, Updike was mentioned. Mr. Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom doesn't indulge himself in the medicinal or recreational entertainment of pot smoking like Tripp but his adulterous ways and Updikes writing style and subject matter did give me pause to compare.

So we have Grady Tripp, his surname aptly devised. Tripp is like the keys  on an old, seen it's better days typewriter, seemingly purposeful in their placement but not in the order one would think. Tripp's has all his keys working with the plausible exception of that one or two keys that just don't seem to work and stick. A new key sticking each time he lights up. Those keys being the most important. Not so much a Q or a Z, but more so of more commonly used letters.

Wonder Boys is a humorous tale about a professor, a student and an eccentric editor tripping through a foggy few days of tomfoolery leaving the reader to wonder how Tripp will escape from his self induced predicament. A book I enjoyed reading and look forward to more works by Chabon, an author who has a true grasp of the English language in a fun literal way.

Wonder Boys is also a movie starring, Michael Douglas, Toby McGuire, Robert Downey Jr, Katie Holmes and Francis McDormand which I hesitate to disclose as throughout the book I pictured each of these actors as the characters robbing me of my own imaginative process and perhaps I'm being a thief of yours. I do look forward to watching the movie again ( I'd seen it several years ago and don't remember the book nor realized it was based on Chabon's book).

I'm not wise to watch a movie that is based on a book, especially after reading it. But thus I make an exception.....and I'm glad I did!

*for those interested in John Updike's Rabbit series, they are: Rabbit Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest four novels that I found enriching on subject matter and classic writing style, Updike being a man of letters.

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