By September 5, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Pacing the Kitchen as an Emergency Reading Technique

Take eight steps, and you’ve crossed my kitchen. Turn around when you get to the microwave, and eight paces back. Seven paces if the suspense starts building. Okay, sometimes six if it gets really intense. Six paces, going faster and faster.

Total Chaos  I’m reading the last 50 pages of Jean-Claude Izzo’s Total Chaos, and I can’t sit down. I’ve tried. Buddy made the unfortunate mistake of thinking he could curl up in my lap purring while I finished the book. That ended when I discovered who Batisti’s daughter was married to – oh, my God! My entire body flinched. My cat went flying. The scratches on my leg have finally stopped bleeding.

From now on, I’ll pace safely down the middle of the kitchen. Buddy crouches on his favorite bookshelf, watching me.

Another shocking revelation. I have to shout. Izzo has pulled the rug out from under me so often I don’t believe in rugs anymore. Slowly the pieces of the puzzle are coming together. I’m very nervous and anxious. I’m chewing on a fingernail. The good cop has suicidally determined to see it all through to the end. Thank goodness this is a trilogy! At least I know there are two more books in the series, so surely Fabio lives. Because right now I’d say he had about a zero chance of surviving this. And he’s not even trying. He’s lost everything that matters. He’s doing what’s right, even if it gets him killed. And it will, because he has enraged, powerful enemies. Bad cops on one side, mafia on the other. It’s the set-up for a tragedy. He can’t survive this.

Right now he’s parked outside the apartment house of the third rapist, the only one left alive. There’s a light in the window. The guy is home, but is he alone? I’m hoping Fabio will wait for backup before going up there when I notice that one of my fingers is bleeding. Dang, I’ve got to stop chewing on myself! I take a very brief Band-Aid break, and then I’m back to pacing ferociously. Nothing’s going to stop me now. I’m seeing this through to the end. The door of the rapist’s apartment swings open. It’s not the rapist. Shock after shock. I had everything wrong. I didn’t even know who the real villain was. Fabio, you’re in over your head, turn back now. If he goes to that villa, he doesn’t have a prayer. Don’t go there, Fabio!

Tonight I’ll be turning the last page.

I know I should be repentant. There’s no justification for reading this book. Sure, I roared through it in three days, but I needed those three days. I should be sensibly working my way through my pile of advance copies. I’ve got gems to read – the new Argentinean novel by the author of The Oxford Murders, and Home, the new Gilead-companion novel from Marilynne Robinson. Those books need to be read at once. I’ve got to be on top of things. I’m running behind. My reviews are late.

Chourmo  Instead, to my horror, I see a red book waiting like a hellish temptation beside my armchair. I’ve quietly brought home from the bookstore the second volume of the Marseilles trilogy. This is absurd. I don’t have time for the rest of the trilogy. I absolutely cannot read another one. Will someone please knock this book out of my hands? I need an intervention. I’m out of control.

I’m in reading heaven.



About the Author:

Nick DiMartino is a university bookseller in Seattle, WA. He was a Booklist contributor from 2007 to 2009 and is the author of Seattle Ghost Story (1998) as well as numerous plays.

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