Friday, January 28, 2005

Reading for Chemo

I was reading the autobiography of Jenna Jameson (How to Make Love Like a Porn Star) which came to me, as it should, by a circuitous route. But while the first part of the book was fascinating, it had gotten dull.

I went to the library and couldn't find anything and ended up leaving with Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald. I like Sebald very much, and I'm usually not at all bothered by pages long paragraphs and lack of action, but the morning before my chemo yesterday, after I finished an assignment for the freelance job I'm doing, I tried reading it. I was apprehensive about chemo and found that I couldn't really concentrate. Since this gets worse, not better, when I'm on the IV, suspected that the book would not do. So I decided I would take the Jameson and the Sebald and probably just try to nap during the chemo. I got my coat and scarf and hat and told the dogs I'd be back.

When the doorbell rang with a package from Kelly Link. In it was a couple of YA novels including Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones. SAVED! Like Harry Potter it concerns children who can do magic. And like Harry Potter it is charming without being...well, taxing. It took me the length of my chemo appointment to read it. So Kelly, if you check in, thanks thanks thanks. And for the rest of you, may I recommend YA books for your next airplane ride, dental appointment, or chemo session.

(For those of you who don't know who Jenna Jameson is, she is, in fact, a porn star. And I have a bit of a funny story about her book. Last semester, one of my students told about working at Crate and Barrel, a store that sells dinnerware, furniture, rugs, all of it moderately upscale. We have a new shopping thing in Cleveland called Legacy Village, which is something of a shopping Disney Land. It's not a mall, because it's not enclosed. It's a fake village of high end stores that sell mostly housewares--places like Restoration Hardware and a store that sells Viking Ranges. There is also a Joseph Beth bookstore there, a huge place like a Barnes and Noble, and they often have people come in to read and sign books. My student said one weekend afternoon, Crate and Barrel was just absolutely full of guys. Crate and Barrel is a great place to buy a shower gift, but not usually a place where you see a lot of guys. And the guys were spending money. Buying stuff for wives and girlfriends. Finally, someone she worked for explained to her that Jenna Jameson was going to be at Joseph Bethm signing How to Make Love Like a Porn Star. And sure enough, suddenly the store emptied of guilty guys. This is not, I will add, how I got my copy. Nor did Bob get one. Mine came to me, as I said, by circuitous route which is much more boring to relate than this suggests, so I will not explain.)


Blogger Greg van Eekhout said...

I liked Charmed Life quite a bit. Eight Days of Luke, even more.

January 29, 2005 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've just had partial knee replacement surgery myself and have found that between pain and the meds for it, reading anything heavy was right out. No concentration at all. Lots of fluffy murder mysteries. You know, I have a YA fantasy I need to read to review. I wonder...


January 29, 2005 9:58 PM  
Blogger Heather Shaw said...

I had the same experience with _How to Make Love Like a Porn Star_ (which I got to read and review as part of my day job as a bookbuyer for an adult toy catalog). The childhood bits seemed jammed in the middle of the book right when I wanted to keep following her adult life, so I just skipped them and came back and read/ scimmed that part after I'd finished the rest of it.

January 31, 2005 3:32 PM  
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