The Book

by Marinka on April 23, 2013

The other day I was socially intercoursing with a colleague/friend. I don’t remember what about exactly, probably I was sharing an adorable story about my kids that may have highlighted my prowess as a mother and humanitarian. When I was done, I stood back to receive the praise that I so rightly earned, but my friend, not wanting to embarrass me, limited himself to a “that’s great!” and then started to retaliate with a story of his own.

I’m not sure what his story was about- a sick friend, a euthanized pet, a love interest, his job, who the hell can listen to what their friends say. Besides, you know how in every relationship one person is inherently more interesting than the other? Well, I’m sure you’re not shocked to hear that I wear that hat in many of my friendships, and therefore bring my being interesting to the relationship. This takes a lot of pressure off these people and they can just sit back and appreciate whatever I’m saying. Although it seems that many of them are overwhelmed by my generosity and are no longer comfortable taking my calls.

Anyway, he was blathering on about something and when I regained consciousness, I realized he was talking about a book that he’d read. The good thing about books is that they, with the possible exception of Moby Dick, tend to end, so I saw the light at the end of the monologue tunnel.

“That sounds great,” I said and he said “oh, I think you’ll like it.”

And then, the next day, he brought in the book for me to read.

“I’m kind of busy right now,” I started to protest, but he waved me off. It was a book for me to borrow. He didn’t need it back for a while.

I sighed.

There was nothing to do but to take.

“Thank you,” I said, making “sarcasm dripping” motions with my fingers. You’d be surprised how many people mistake that for raindrops.

I brought the book home.

I looked at it.

Clara and Mr. Tiffany looked back at me. “At the dawn of the twentieth century, Louis Comfort Tiffany wants to honor his father and the family business-” the back of the cover read. OMG. I was so not interested in reading this book.

The first few weeks passed by uneventfully. I tried to live my life the best way I knew how, continuing the course I was on before the book came into my life.

But after a while, it dawned on me. At some point, my friend would ask me about the book. Maybe not a for another week, maybe not even for a month. But eventually he would.

It would be innocent, of course. A “did you get a chance to read it?” or “what did you think?” but it would happen. And not knowing when it would happen just made me feel like it could happen at any time.

I decided to attack the situation head-on, by lying as much as possible.

“I don’t know what’s going on with me,” I mentioned casually to him one morning, “but my eyes have been killing me.”

“Oh, no,” he said. “Are you ok?”

“The test results aren’t in yet,” I continued to pile it on, “but my doctor says I should avoid reading at all costs.”

He expressed sympathy and said something about eye strain, but I walked away because I’d learned a painful lesson with this one- one moment he’s talking about eye strain, the next day he brings in a book that I didn’t even know we were discussing.

After my eyes “healed”, I had to take another course.

“I seem to have developed a sudden allergy to paper,” I told him confidentially one afternoon. “Apparently books are printed on high pulp content paper and it is destroying my fingertips.”

“That is so unusual,” he said.

“Unusual but certainly true,” I agreed.

This went on for a while.

I would be plagued with ailments, he’d express sympathy.

Being something akin to a CIA-trained operative, he never once asked me about the book, which of course just escalated the whole situation.

I started to think about my options.

I could read the book, of course, but that was totally out of the question and I chalked it up to “panicked crazy talk.”

I could read a synopsis of it on Amazon, tell my friend that I loved it and that I, like Corrine H. Smith, a top 100 Amazon reviewer, believed that at its core, this book is about an artistic woman who seeks value in her life and in her work. This was tricky, because what if, God forbid, there was some kind of a sequel situation going on. How many Amazon reviews would I have to read?

I could leave NYC behind and move. This was a definite possibility, but involved packing and boxes and worse of all, talking about packing and boxes.

I could kill my friend. There were no obvious drawbacks to this, so I decided to keep that plan in my back pocket.

Finally I settled on this new-fangled idea of “honesty.”

“I don’t want to read this book,” I told him “I really tried,” I lied, because too much truth all at once is dangerous, “but I just can’t get into it. I’m sure it’s my fault. Please forgive me.”

He laughed.

“Oh, I don’t care,” he said. “It’s not as though I’d written it.”

We laughed together, merrily, I suppose, but I haven’t had a moment’s peace since.

Because what if he’s writing a book?

How will I ever get out of reading that load?

One year ago ...

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

April 23, 2013 at 9:29 am

Sometimes a well-planned murder is the only answer.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes April 23, 2013 at 10:01 am

Feign blindness.


Mexmom April 23, 2013 at 10:19 am

If he writes a book you should totally ask one of your kids to read the book and have a summary report for you.


Gdot April 23, 2013 at 11:09 am

I’m scared for you.


April 23, 2013 at 11:17 am

I can’t believe you didn’t think of telling him that you don’t have time to read this book because you are a) an undercover agent, and can’t explain “agent of what” because then you’d have to kill him; b) desperately trying to finish up the work for your Ntl Institutes of Health grant, and wouldn’t want any more children dying because you’re off wasting time reading; c) practicing your swimming for a big meet you have coming up…”what? He didn’t know you were a competitive swimmer?! I guess he’s not the friend you thought he was”…aaannnddd…toss the book back at him in disgust.

So many options!


joeinvegas April 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm

You better write a few books of your own, so if he comes up to you with his you can just throw down a few of yours for him to read in return. Or perhaps just the threat of a book.


Jen Anderson
April 23, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Keep the book forever or until one of you changes jobs. It’s the only way he’ll learn. Or at least it’s how I learned not to lend out books unsolicited. I really miss my copy of George Bush, Dark Prince of Love.


anna see April 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Glad you dodged that one!


the mama bird diaries
April 23, 2013 at 7:32 pm

wait, am I the only one wigged out by the phrase “socially intercoursing”?

i wouldn’t have read the book either.


Steph April 24, 2013 at 11:17 am

I was struck by that phrase, too! And was also wondering whether the friend reads this blog??


Stasha April 24, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Lets hope it’s a coffee table book.


Susan Weinstein April 24, 2013 at 12:53 pm

I know just how you feel! When you have a book blog, every person wants you to review their newly minted self-published book, or their uncle’s. I don’t review self-published fiction, but just did a photo essay. I review classics, but who knows, who published them? So my confusion perhaps reflects the publishing industry. But then I know the terror of someone not just recommending that book–but then handing it to you! Photobooks are the way to go. Then I write my own fiction, so I get to think who I can get to read…


Awesome dude April 24, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Could be a very good book.


April 24, 2013 at 7:58 pm

OMG and LOL – I know EXACTLY how you feel! And then you don’t have the time to read all the books you WANT to read, like the ones I’ve recommended to you… Hey, wait a sec, you haven’t read ANY of those! Hmmm…


April 24, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Tell him to write a book about YOU. Then you will know its guaranteed to be interesting and you won’t have to lie at all about reading it. After all you lived it.


Alexandra April 25, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Social intercoursing?



Ms C April 26, 2013 at 2:13 am

One of my favourite posts ever!


anymommy April 27, 2013 at 11:40 am

I have this book I’m going to mail to you …


Lady Jennie May 1, 2013 at 11:12 am

It’s a good thing YOU’RE not writing a book, because that would be really … ha ha ha huh?

oh wait, the oven timer just went off. Gotta go.


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