I have a bit of an obsession with books. It's a problem really. I have to avoid Barnes and Noble entirely, the temptation is too great. Even my weekly jaunts to Costco get me in trouble. The book aisle calls to me, "come, peruse, looking won't hurt, just a peek..." and inevitably I leave the store with at least 2 new novels hidden under the bread and string cheese in my gigantic cart. I can't resist. My bookshelves are evidence of this. Shelves full of all the books I have read and intend to read and a few I have borrowed from my mom and my neighbor and... you get the picture. But you will not find a bookmark in the bunch. The one I am currently reading will be next to my bed or resting on the side of the bathtub with a corner turned down somewhere in the middle. That is usually where I have to stop because the bubbles are gone and the water has grown cold and it is sometime in the wee hours of the morning. If only I did not have to sleep. Such a bother.
I have always been this way, once I start a book I can't put it down. Even if it is terrible, I have to see it through to the end. It could get better, or worse, or something that it is currently not and I cannot bear the not knowing. So I read.
My latest was "Astrid and Veronika" by Linda Olsson. I could not put it down, for good reasons. To say the story was lovely would not be entirely true or entirely false. Both women had heartbreaking tragedy in their lives. The kind of tragedy that makes my stomach hurt. But the friendship that they discover in the other is every shade of lovely. Full of tenderness and compassion and ultimately strength. Strength that both women use to reclaim their lives as they uncover their stories, chapter by chapter. I found both women endearing and the relationship they build throughout the novel, inspiring. And really, how can you go wrong with a character named Astrid?