I'm currently reading two wonderful books — Jane Shapiro's The Dangerous Husband and David Ebershoff's short story collection, The Rose City. But since I no longer attach myself psychologically and emotionally to the books that I read (I'm so over falling in love with characters and authors born way before my grandparents were conceived) I'm not, to paraphrase Holden Caufield, itching to dial up these authors' numbers.
But I'm having a wonderful time reading them nonetheless. In fact, I just read Ebershoff's short story, Regime. It's about an overweight boy who forces himself not to eat. "The third day of self-starvation is the most beautiful day," Ebershoff wrote. "It is when I believe, at lunch hour, in the shade of a black oak, the brick patio cold beneath my thinning ass: None of you can do what I can, and all of you will like me because of it."
At first I thought it would be about anorexia. How banal would that be, right? Of course, in the end, it was about a specific kind of hunger, the kind that fuels most Malate gay bars. Oh wait, did I mention that ebershoff is gay? I may not want to call Mr. Ebershoff but I must admit I did Google him. Nothing gets me off more than a hot writer writing excellent fiction!
Curiously, I only picked up the book because one, it was on sale, and two, i found the cover lovely. And when i read the first few paragraphs i thought it was all about bearded, artistic men sitting in an artsy-fartsy new york cafe ruminating about life in general. Before I ventured into the sale, I told myself that I'm on a budget and that I should buy no more than three books. I already had two tucked under my arm (The diaries of Kenneth Tynan and the screenplay of In the Bedroom). The third one was a split between Ebershoff and Shapiro and I ended picking up Ebershoff. Though the blurb promised "dead-pan humor" and "laugh out loud" situations, I decided to drop The Dangerous Husband and go with The Rose City. I thought I needed more "aspirational" stories rather than seriously funny ones. When I got to the counter, however, the saleslady said that I had to pick up another book. Buy-one-take-one daw. What a lovely concept noh? I hurriedly went back and retrieved Shapiro's book.
The moral of the story? Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover and always, always be on a look out for a sale.