Book Sense Summer Reading Picks
ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE
ABUNDANCE, Sena Jeter Naslund
THE SPACE BETWEEN US, Thrity Umrigar
TRUCK: A Love Story, Michael Perry
And speaking of TRUCK, here’s a special note from one of the nicest guys ever, Mike Perry:
“Howdy, book club folks. Thank you for inviting me to attend your meeting. I shall try to conduct myself appropriately. Lately I have been raising pigs and chickens and will therefore leave my boots at the door. This is a relatively new habit developed on the advice of my wife. I cannot lie – I am lazy about unlacing, and sometimes when she travels I get pertinacious and track up the kitchen. I watch the clock and calendar and mop up shortly before she is due to return. As I am a disciple of distraction she regularly walks through the door and catches me in my steel-toes trying to nudge clumps of dried mud out of sight against the mopboard, all the while sporting the same ghastly grin of ingratiation employed by cookie-thieving six-year-olds and willfully incontinent puppies.
I meant to say thank you, and already I am off-track. This is a recurring theme with my writing. Not everyone is enamored of the tendency. People sometimes ask me why I skip around, and I can only reply because that’s how it’s going in my head. In the early years I attempted to write seamless prose. I insisted on taking the reader by the elbow and gently introducing each narrative thread as if it were a timid child on its first day at a new school. Then one day in the mid-1990s I sat in my old green chair and read several of the essays in Jim Harrison’s Just Before Dark, and as he jumped from haute cuisine to Budweiser to stag hunting in the South of France to ice fishing in Michigan and so on, it struck me that all my solicitous handholding was presumptive and made me not a Boy Scout but rather an overbearing lunkhead who mistrusted the navigational abilities of the unknown reader. So now when I come to the end of a thought, I just jump. I don’t always make the right leap. Readers and reviewers sometimes point this out. I don’t mind. Nonstop encomiums artificially enhance the ego while softening one’s critical midsection, which is where the blows are absorbed.
Originally this book was supposed to be about two things: The resurrection of my old pickup truck, and a year in the life of my garden. I wanted to write a book about gardening because I was fed up with happy gardening books. I felt it was time for a grim gardening book, and I’m eminently qualified. I wanted to write about fixing up my truck because I dreamed of claiming brake pads as a business expense: Sadly, the tax lady said no. The third thread – the real love story – came as a complete surprise. Tangent of a lifetime, really. Things are going good: I am currently in the process of trying to figure out how to adjust a four-point racing harness in order that it might secure a baby seat.
It’s fun to joke and ramble, but here’s the main deal: I am baffled and overjoyed at the wrong turns and coincidences leading to the book you’ve consented to discuss. It would not even exist were it not for word-of-mouth: Readers talking to readers, book lovers talking about books. And for that, I owe a great debt to book clubs. Thanks. Thanks. For you, I remove my boots.
HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT TRUCK: A LOVE STORY? Choose your club’s most burning question and mail it to Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org. As long as the internet is up and running and he retains control of his motor functions, he’ll type up an answer.