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Mary's Best Books...

The Toronto Public Library recently asked Mary to pen a list of her favourite recent reads. Here's Mary's introduction to the list:

The Best Books Make Me Stupid

I know there's a general belief out there that books make you smart. But something strange happens to me that defies that notion. I can't seem to function properly after reading a book that moves me, in a soul-shaking, mind-bending, chest-thumping kind of way. Thank goodness there are only so many of these BMDs (books of mass destruction) because the better the book, the worse my condition. It's been very hard on my family.

Here are five outcomes (in ascending order, or descending depending on how you want to look at it), of what a great book can do:

1. Feel deeply satisfied after reading it
2. Must blab about it to anyone within a 100 miles (call it the 100 Mile Book Diet)
3. The opposite effect - I'm rendered speechless
4. Speechless AND prostrate
5. I enter a coma-like state as a fog settles in my brain and disrupts all cognitive function.

Because of this precarious condition, I must be extremely careful NOT to read two coma-inducing books back to back. This happened once unintentionally when I read Jon Lee Anderson's Che Guevara and then Blindness by Jose Saramago immediately after. I honestly can't remember much of Venice. (What did happen on that trip?) But that's where vacation pictures come in handy. The problem is (like a relationship) you never know what kind of effect it's going to have until you're deep into it, and then once it's got a hold of you (like a relationship), it's almost impossible to extricate yourself.

Another time, we were vacationing in San Francisco and my husband had the misfortune of trying to talk to me immediately after I'd read The Elegance of the Hedgehog. BIG mistake. He asked me the most impossible question, something like, "where do you want to go today?" It might just as well have been "what are the chances we'll have peace in the Middle East , and do you think Kim Jong Un's hairstyle will eventually morph into his father's?" Eerie silence. My husband looks at my daughter and asks "what's with your mother?" She replies, "Dad!!! You KNOW she just finished reading that hedgehog book!!!" True story.

These books left me at the very least deeply satisfied, and a few were coma-inducing. But no worries, I've recovered. You may not.

And here's the link to the TPL Book Buzz Virtual Book Club to check out Mary's selections---her entry is dated February, 9, 2012, so you'll have to scroll down to find it.