Name that book
Buggery Blogger is only part of the reason I haven't been posting much lately. It's back-to-work week, and my mind and body agree that waking up early sucks. I feel like crap, and even Edna Mode can't cheer me up. This comes from Bookseller Chick: Since you've read lots of Harlequin Presents, would you maybe have any recollections of a book I'm trying to find? --A girl gets together with a guy in a van during a snowstorm. They are complete strangers. To keep warm, they may or may not have sex. Through most of the book, he thinks she is all too promiscuous. This tortures him. Of course she is actually a bookworm and introvert. He just happens to see her a second time after she has just had a makeover and is wearing a form-fitting sweater. The cover features a brunette wearing a yellow sweater and maybe a plaid skirt. It's a plain white background. Published before 1996 I believe but newer than the early 80s ones where nothing happens before marriage. Can you help? If any of you can name that book, go help out the BSC, okay? Link above. Here's one of my own: Pub date, 1970s. Science Fiction. A guy wakes up one day to find himself in a 12-year-old body -- his own, about thirty years ago. Somehow, he's living out the fantasy of being a kid again "with all I know now." He turns the tables on his flirtatious cousin who used to make his life hell, and he rakes in the dough on horseraces (conveniently, he remembers some key race results). The mob gets wind of his success and wants to know how he does it. Eventually, he gets gunned down by the mob. He wakes up on a space ship. Aliens have granted him three wishes, and he just screwed up his first wish. The next two-thirds of the book concern his other wishes. In one, he's back in his 40-something-year-old body, but with superhuman strength and amazing sexual powers. Trouble is, his physiology is different, so alcohol makes him violently ill. Things end badly after he throws up on an important business client.
While I have Bookseller Chick's attention . . . Yesterday in the grocery store, I picked up a paperback edition of Tuesdays with Morrie. I remembered reading something about this in a magazine, and it sounded like a cool idea for a book. In the store, I looked at the acknowledgements. Author Mitch Albom acknowledges, among other people, a rabbi. Okay, so that's good. Next, I read the first two pages. The writing is a bit too slick and a bit too cute, but still, the guy writes a good hook. I'm a millimeter away from buying this thing, but then I get to the deal-breaker. You see, I'm curious about this "wisdom" thing. If Morrie is so full of wisdom, says I, I ought to be able to open the book at random and find some of that wisdom. I did just that, and soon realized that all dialog in the book is written like this: "Here's me saying something." That's Morrie. No 'Morrie said,' nothin'. And here's the author saying something back. No quotes. No 'I said.' Albom distinguishes between his voice and Morrie's by the use of quotes or the lack of quotes. No saids at all. I'm not saying it was intelligent or rational to put the book back on the rack, but I did. Maybe it's a wonderful book. I'll never know. Looking at that single page of dialog, I knew a whole book of that would drive me nuts. I have other quirks, too. Pretentiousness is a deal-breaker for me; I've never made it past the first page of Unbearable Lightness of Being. I liked the first sentence of Stephen King's The Gunslinger, The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. but after the second sentence, I put it back on the shelf: The desert was the apotheosis of all deserts, huge, standing to the sky for what might have been parsecs in all directions. First I'm looking at a crisp cinematic image (good), then I'm looking at King tap-tapping at his keyboard (not good). The first paperback I ever bought with my own money (for fifty cents, I think), The Path Beyond the Stars, had as its first line, It was axiomatic, Jon Wood groused. How do I remember that? Because my brother, who thought it ridiculous for a six-year-old to spend his money on paperbacks, snatched the book from my hands and said, "Look at that! There's two words in the first sentence you can't possibly understand." Never mind that he didn't know the meaning of axiomatic or groused either. This was a dare and, dammit, I read the whole thing. And remembered that first sentence foreverenever. But I'm not six anymore. For adult Doug, if an author wants to throw apotheosis around, he'd damn well better have a good reason to do it. Call me snobbish or neurotic or a miserable little prick. I deserve it. All I'm saying is, these are deal-breakers for me, and I'm one of the guys in your book-buying audience. What are your deal-breakers? Bookseller Chick, do you have any thoughts about this? D.
Does anyone recognize this?***