As I was straightening out our class shelf of novels today, I browsed through the recent donations. I make my college reading students actually read books because it’s important, so much so that I keep a bookcase of donated books handy from which they can take a volume or three. Teachers and community book-lovers are eager to share their castaways. They trickle in steadily, even though I last put out the call for books nearly two years ago.
I also believe that I should demonstrate a love of reading; thus, I choose a book as well, and I model the assigned journals as our semester progresses. I was delighted when I came across a copy of Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child from 1988. I came late to the joy of Lessing, and she’s a prolific novelist, having written over 75 books. I’ve read just one other, Memoirs of a Survivor, which I devoured when I was in my apocalypse phase. I’ve also enjoyed a few of her short stories.
The Fifth Child is a disturbing story of a serious young couple who is determined to build a wonderful, large family, but their fifth child is born a monster. The story goes on to catalog the demise of this far-reaching family. I already know how it turns out because I finished it 15 minutes ago. Just this morning, I wagged it at my class and said “Here’s the book I will travel with while you travel with yours these next six weeks.”
You see, I am an addict. It’s like someone uncorked a bottle of delicious wine, and I went on a bender. Or perhaps like a shopaholic who just received a new charge card in the mail. Or like a gambler in a casino on payday. What’s the point of this blog? I suppose to encourage you to pick up some Doris Lessing and give her storytelling a try (it’s fabulous). It’s also to apologize to the Gods of literary studies, because this girl can’t help sucking down a good book as fast as a strawberry concrete from Ted Drewes. Not every book is good (or every bottle of wine, store, casino, or milkshake), but when one hooks me in the first page, I end up sitting on the proverbial kitchen floor with an empty carton of ice cream and crumbs of Doritoes all around me. Or in the proverbial hotel room with a fellow sex addict. Or like… well, you get the idea.
So to preserve the joy of this book and quell my junkie remorse, I offer this blog so that Lessing’s wonderful gem doesn’t pass in the toilet unnoticed.