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The Joy of a Good Book

10 May


It had been so long since I had been absorbed by a good book that I forgot what it was like.  No wait- it was early 2009, I was commuting by bus to a new job, and was totally absorbed in Curtis Sittenfeld’s American Wife.  The life story of Laura Bush was fictionalized and made into a sprawling, American story.  I remember thinking it was the ultimate tribute to the woman- she loves literature, and her life has now been made into literature.

Fast forward to Sunday, when I received a belated birthday gift from a dear friend in Ireland that had been shipped to my parents’ house. Along with a pretty funny card, she sent a novel that she claimed was one of her Top Five.  I’ve been reading it since Sunday night, and I’m hooked. It’s just the book I’ve been waiting for- one I will stay up till midnight reading, one I both am eager to finish and yet I know I’ll be sorry to be done with it once its over.

What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt quickly takes you into the lives of its narrator, art history professor Leo Hertzberg, and his longtime friend, artist Bill Wechsler.  In the few pages I’ve already read, a universe has been created, one inhabited by academics, artists, critics and passionate people.  It’s a universe populated with characters that, as I said, I know I’ll miss once I finish.