Today was a lovely day to be at the pool, perfect for letting my winter-white body soak up some the sunshine, and getting lost in a good book. Having just loaded “Middlemarch” to my Kindle, I had no time to lose if I wanted to finish that thing before I retire.
At least, that’s what I kept thinking as I splashed around in the pool with my offspring, laser-focused on preventing both drowning and, more importantly, bathing suit malfunctions. (Specifically, my bathing suit, which tends to be a convenient thing for my barnacle-child to clutch as she flails in the water.) It’s a family-friendly pool, full of young families and tiny humans with adorable bathing suits and bulging swim diapers. Waist-deep in water with barnacle-children clinging to us, we parents look longingly at the poolside grown-ups lounging carefree and quiet, focused on nothing more than perfecting their tans and examining their smartphones.
I had my eye out for poolside book lovers but located surprisingly few. Far more people were reading magazines and even more — at least those who were fortunate enough to be barnacle-free — were simply staring off into space or face-down into their chair cushions or, I suppose, dozing.
Don’t get me wrong — staring off into space sounds pretty darn good to me about 90% of the time but my to-read list just keeps getting bigger and summer is my time to catch up! At least some others at the pool were getting caught up on their own to-be-reads, so I removed my barnacle for a few minutes and stopped to chat with a young woman, probably in her 20s, who had been immersed in a book for the entirety of my visit to the pool. Kate was happy to show me what she was reading:
She’d picked up this book at the airport some time ago was finally getting around to reading it, and praised one of Raymond Khoury’s earlier works. She briefly described The Sanctuary in a way that made it sound kind of like The DaVinci Code — but when I suggested this, she assured me that this was better than the Code. What?? I suppose it’s possible. [Note, my excessive use of italics may indicate sarcasm, especially where Dan Brown is involved. ] According to Amazon reviews, The Sanctuary has earned 3.7 out of 5 stars. (Not all the reviews are glowing. My favorite line from one of the negative reviews: “In the first section … Khoury uses ‘menacingly’ four times in as many paragraphs. Amateurish.”)
But I don’t want to dwell on the book too much. My intent for this blog is also to learn about readers, how they read, and why they read. Unfortunately, this being my first BV interview, it’s only hours later that I realize there’s more questions I should ask my BV target, such as 1) age range; 2) general reading habits; 3) work/career; 4) etc. But who am I to interrupt the day-in-the-sun-good-book experience of some innocent reader? And anyway, this effort was leaps and bounds better than my first tentative attempt at a BV investigation, at the same pool only a short while earlier:
Having caught a brief glimpse at the front cover before I snapped this surreptitious and completely unhelpful shot once the unwitting owner stepped away, here’s what I knew: The author is Brian Weiss, and the title was not in English, but included the word “amor”. Some investigation on Amazon leads to the conclusion that my poolside neighbor was reading Lazos de Amor / Only Love Is Real, a non-fiction, new-age account by a psychiatrist of the realization that two of his patients were lovers in a past life. Sounds like a Reese Witherspoon movie I saw years ago … or perhaps one that I’ll see in the future ….