The Phenomenon

While self was with son in Stafford Park yesterday evening, listening to a very cool band play Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” son said that he’d taken a look at self’s ex-Stanford classmate Jeffrey Eugenides’ book, Middlesex, while at the local Barnes & Noble. “I read the beginning, a point in the middle, and the end,” son said. He wrinkled his nose. “Didn’t like it.”

“Why’d you read the end?” self said, aghast. “You don’t read the ends of novels! And, that was a very good book! It was about a man with an unrequited crush on a Japanese schoolgirl!”

Son’s taste in reading usually runs to R. A. Salvatore and Orson Scott Card, the guy who writes those Ender novels, so it is a major accomplishment for him to even crack open a book like Middlesex, but anyhoo.

Which brings self to topic of the morning: Nora Roberts.

Self is reading The New Yorker of 22 June 2009, and there is a long long essay (by Lauren Collins) on Nora Roberts. And self suddenly remembers that when she was speaking on a panel at the last Asian American Studies Conference, in Chicago, the panel moderator, Teri Yamada, had professed her extreme liking for this author. In fact, the night after the panel, three of the five members of the panel (the three that were female: self, the panel moderator, and an anthropologist) sat in rapt attention before the hotel TV, watching an adaptation of a Nora Roberts novel.

Now, self has never read any novel by aforementioned. But now she thinks she’d better start getting better acquainted with a writer who can write such dialogue (quoted from The New Yorker):

    Burns: I’m informed that you and the deceased had a relationship.
    Tucker: What we had was sex.

Or

    Foxy: I’ve decided to hate you.
    Lance: Oh? Again?

Get this: the woman, according to The New Yorker, “has written a hundred and eighty-two novels, in addition to short stories and novellas.”

One more factoid: According to Publishers Weekly, “Roberts wrote three of the ten best-selling mass-market paperbacks of 2008.”

Which can only mean one thing: that you, self, are a slug. An actual and abhorrent slug.

Stay tuned.

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