Monday, March 8, 2010

Another embarrassing admission/ My favorite book ever

I keep insisting that my fluffy silly interests like figure skating and the British royal family are somehow unexpected, or against type. I don't know why you should believe me if all I write about are these very silly obsessions. So let me put this next confession into the context of my normal literary habits - in general, I'm a fan of Modern (not modern, although maybe that too) literature. A lot of my favorite stuff comes from the first third of the 20th century, but I'd say my favorites are Borges and Kafka, with some Wharton and Dreiser, and recently some Isaac Baschevis Singer (to get back to my roots. That's some dirty stuff though! Highly recommend). I can't remember the name of the author of my favorite book ever. It's funny that that name was embossed on the cover of the book in raised cold letters, underneath the picture of, I think, a shirtless man and a woman in an RAF uniform. I also can't remember the name of the book, which is a pity, because as I said, it was my favorite book ever.

It was, in case you couldn't tell, a romance novel, complete with bodice ripping sex scenes. I was spending the summer interning in DC, had time to kill on my daily commute, and walked into a used bookstore and bought this book, on a whim, for a dollar. Needless to say I had finished it by the next day. I remember that it was a multi-generational epic, starting with a teenage girl who ran off from her aristocratic country manor to be a cabaret dancer in Paris. Her daughter, I think, became the first female pilot in the RAF, and the third generation, although perhaps she was someone's sister, became an explorer, or married an explorer, or a farmer, or... I don't quite remember. In between all the achievement, there was a fair amount of heartbreak, sex, and passionate fiery love. I am not being sarcastic though, this book was totally gripping - I think I finished it before I even got to work the next day, and it was close to 1000 pages. While the writing was simple, it was like ketchup to the tomato bisque sorrel foam to my normal writing - sweet and well balanced. Since then, I have flipped through other romance novels, mostly at airport bookstores, and none of them have seemed as compelling. That Nora woman seems terrible, and I can't really trust the writing of someone who seems to publish several books a year. So if anyone recognizes the book from my plot, please let me know!