Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Choosing Asides

I really enjoyed the book I just finished, The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet. In short: boy genius wins fellowship from Smithsonian and hobos himself across the country to accept.

I liked the quirky plot, and I really liked that it's an illustrated novel with sidebar pictures and notes. Maps and nature pictures? Count me in. The reflectiveness of the asides makes me think of Nicholson Baker's The Mezzanine -- one of my all-time favorite books, perhaps because it was one of the first books I read after college, when I could pick anything I wanted. Perhaps because I like his asides because it's the way I, too, think. (Maybe we all do?)

I like that our hero, T.S., keeps notebooks and jots things down. Well, he maps things out -- like his sister shucking corn. I jot. Not as fanatically. Sometimes, I curb it: no one wants to see the Collected Scribbles of Lisa! But with T.S. in my head today, I went ahead and grabbed a notebook from the glove compartment as I sat in the line at the drive-through at a burger joint on U.S. Route 1, near work. In line with me were a truck with the bumper sticker "I [heart] the Latin Mass!" a Honda with the plate "VCU CHIC," and another car with the plate "DRA9ON." Wow. Can one hear a Latin Mass in Richmond?? Maybe our modest Catholic population has increased because of immigrants? The Honda didn't surprise me -- she must be a design major at the local university; and as for DRA9ON, well, he (or she) just rounded off our odd little group.

It cheers me up to capture these quirky moments. If you like this kind of serendipity, too, you might like both Spivit and The Mezzanine.

1 comment:

sarah said...

The "I <3 the Latin Mass" stickers have increased everywhere in recent years, mostly a reponse to the Vatican's allowing it to be celebrated at the parish's discretion. Not a popular move amongst moderate Catholics who dislike the references to converting Jews and the hint that this papacy is interested in repealing some of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Still, there's a growing contingent of conservatives who are in favor of going back to pre-Vatican II norms. Sigh.