Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Our Different Fantasy Lives


     B likes to read. She reads a lot of books. Many of them would be classified as "chick lit." Stories about women who find romance. About women who renovate their house. About women who discover their new inner strength. Stories about women told in recipes. And memoirs, lots of memoirs.

     Currently she's reading a book called The God of Driving by Amy Fine Collins. The author is a spoiled, jetting-setting New York socialite, dressed in Geoffrey Beene t-shirts, black boots from Manolo Blahnik, and little white-gold and diamond Mish flowered earrings, who writes about fashion for Vanity Fair magazine.

     The book is a memoir about learning how to drive as an adult, and developing a relationship with her Turkish driving instructor. He arrives at her door with a dual-brake Acura. They graduate to a Cadillac CTS, then a Mercedes CL 55 AMG (a two-door, 335-horsepower four-seater, prices start at $100,000).

     She tools around Manhattan meeting celebrities and other chic, trendy people at various parties and functions. She jets to California for the Vanity Fair Oscar party, and she attends New York Fashion Week -- when she feels like it, that is. They dine at the Four Seasons where she places her Prada bag on a cherry wood Directoire armchair.

     Why do women like these books? Is it the fantasy? The glamor? The escape?

     Truth be told, those are the reasons I read mysteries. I am Jack Reacher. I am Elvis Cole. I am Harry Bosch. And, for the record, I am a tried-and-true feminist when it comes to mysteries. I identify just as easily with Kinsey Millhone, Stephanie Plum, Joanna Brady, Alexandra Cooper.

     Actually, I can recommend a mystery writer if you're interested. The other day I drove over to Barnes & Noble in my 2005 Ford Freestyle van, with 113,000 miles on it. I was dressed in my Dockers pants, purchased from Macy's during their back-to-school sale last year for $24.99, marked down from $49.99, and the golf shirt my sister gave me after she got it for free at some boring business meeting she went to about five years ago  -- and I picked up the book from the new fiction table at a 25 percent discount.

     The author is Joseph Finder. I've read a couple of his books, and I like them. The new one is Suspicion, and it was recommended to me by my friend who lives in a ranch house down by the highway, who says he's retired but he's really just unemployed and he drives a ten-year-old Toyota with a big scratch on the passenger side door that he's never gotten fixed because ... "They wanted 700 bucks which is ridiculous, and besides I get in on the driver's side so I never see the scratch anyway."

     I thought about ducking over to the Barnes & Noble cafe for a $4.50 cup of cappuccino. But then I decided instead to stop off at Dunkin' Donuts on the way home. DD offers a senior special: you buy a medium size coffee and get a free donut. And, dammit, I like good ole middle-class Dunkin' Donuts more than the overpriced, overcaffeinated, too bitter brew you get at Barnes & Noble or Starbucks, or whatever the latest, even more trendy coffee emporium the hipster set is frequenting these days.

     And you never know. Just maybe I'll run into a celebrity scoring a Senior Citizen special at Dunkin' Donuts out on Route 202, located between Burger King and the Shell station that offers 5 cents off a gallon of gasoline on Tuesdays for anyone over age 55.

  

16 comments:

DJan said...

Not all women like to read books like The God of Driving. I'll certainly skip it. I did just read a very good book, suspense/mystery by Chris Pavone, The Expats. Written from a woman's POV by a man, now that interests me. You made me laugh, Tom, which is what I suspect was the point of this funny post. :-)

Anonymous said...

Gosh, you're a fantastic writer! I can read you all day long. Le sigh. Why don't you write one of your own books. It would be so different and so spectacular. I love you!

Mac n' Janet said...

I hate chick lit and I'll pretty much read anything. Love a good mystery, Harry Bosch is great. Don't understand romance novels, so boring.

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

I never read much chick lit and outgrew mysteries some time ago when police procedural replaced plot. I read much nonfiction. The truth is often more interesting, whatever truth is. Speaking of memoirs, however, I did work my was through Elizabeth Warren's book recently. Tell B it's not too bad.

Tom Sightings said...

Anon., thank you, really. We bloggers often feel that our efforts go unappreciated, so it's nice to hear when someone enjoys our scribblings.

Dianne ... in a rare moment of high seriousness, I'm now wading through Doris Kearns Goodwin's "The Bully Pulpit." It's too long for my ADD approach to history, but it's still good.

And DJan, yes this post is meant to be humorous. Unfortunately, it's all true. Well, one correction: I double-checked the odometer, and actually there are 115,000 miles on the Ford.

JB said...

My wife and I are both avid readers, you would think once in a while that our interests would coincide but she seems to be firmly in that chiklit style of writing while I am still hanging around the mystery racks. I do like Reacher and Bosch, as well as Joe Pickett as I think those long running series of books allows the character to be a lot more developed. Well that's my story anyway and I'm sticking to it.

Olga Hebert said...

I don't know why, but I laughed hysterically through all this post. I think it is maybe because I suspect you secretly read all of B's books too.

denise said...

Maybe I'm a male and don't know it since I enjoy Michael Connelly, Lee Child, CJ Box and the like. Funny but I put the Finder book on hold yesterday due to the reviews.

Rita said...

I met Joseph Finder at a writers' conference in Seattle, He's terrific and so are his books. I did a two part email interview with him: http://blog.seattlepi.com/boomerconsumer/2009/09/11/baby-boomer-joseph-finder-writes-lightning-paced-rousing-thrillers-–-part-1/

You're such a great writer, Tom. I hope you will do a book based on your blog posts.

Anonymous said...

My husband is a voracious reader all the spy novels, science fiction and many others, I don't read many books, I read about film and enjoy indy films as that is what our only child our wonderful daughter has for employment..I find PBS great for Masterpiece classics and mysteries and for other interesting film..Not all women enjoy chick literature I for one did not enjoy in my English classes in college always hearing about this chick lit and that chick lit, I was into other things.I think you should be a writer your column shows how witty and interesting your truly are..ciao!!!!!!!!

Meryl Baer said...

Catching up on reading all the books I never found time to read while working and reading professional stuff. Not a chick lit fan, but do read memoirs. Mysteries too, but not horror/suspense stuff. And I read a lot of chapter books with my grandkids, very different from the books I read when a kid. I feel like iI am starting all over again!

Pam said...

Loved this post!!

Stephen Hayes said...

I need to make more time in my life for reading. Too many distractions.

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

The post was funny. Sorry I am so serious these days. As for Bully Pulpit...got it on my Kindle reader. Let me know what you think. PS I could not get through the Tuchman book (s)

Anonymous said...

You're not far from Chandler and Hammett. : )

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

I find reading tough now but just finished a Khaled Hussein, an unusual read but grabbing my attention.
Cannot eat donuts any more. I gave them up for greener fare to keep my colon cancer in remission and it's going well!
No interest in celebs in person any more but love your thoughts.