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The Recommended Book

"She said it was a good book."
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Published 10 years ago
Well, that IS what she said. Not that I had a reason to trust her opinion. How do you trust opinions anyway? Or movie reviews?
You just make up your mind, and find an excuse.

So "she said" was my excuse for reading this. Or at least for planning to read it. The author was eminent. Lots of awards. A literary giant in a language I couldn't read.

So I was going to read a translation. Because she said so. I turned it around in my hands like how a dog examines

The mint-green paperback looked like it couldn't care less if I didn't read it.

All wrapped up in its author's ivory tower of awards, I suppose.

I tried putting it on my bookshelf, and it still looked odd, a gremlin on the wing.
What do I do with this thing?

I read the first story. It was a collection of stories. The first story ought to be good, should draw me in. He's a literary Bruce Banner, after all, down to the color of his book.

I read, and it feels like reading a grocery list. I look up from the page at you, is that how it feels to read me write?

He's described something, but nothing's happening. I score a point over the book. I couldn't care less what happened to the characters he's created. The puppets dance, but I know the wooden limbs will go into a box, twisted into anatomical incorrectness.

I put the book into a bag. It's an uninvited guest I suffer out of politeness, a distant relative who insists on staying the night, and yet I can't find more than excuses for why it’s not welcome in my realm.

Tomorrow I'll get rid of it. I'll smile and tell her the first story was the best. She’ll understand enough to never give me a book again. The books on my shelf sigh, relieved, and tell me what I know, “You’ll never write a story. You don't understand them.”

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