Last weekend, on my way to some other performance, I noticed a person perched on the edge of a concrete walkway, absorbed in the last precious pages of a book. Lucky for me, they were reading out loud. I came and sat down close to the reader, feeling cautiously voyeuristic. Usually when I’m nosing in on someone else’s reading material, I have to mask it with feined interest in public transit upholstery patterns. I felt an odd mixture of relief and shyness as I boldly looked at the cover to see what was being read; Joan Didion. I listened for a little while, then pulled myself away, not wanting to spoil the very end of the story. Instead, the next time I went to the library, I looked for Joan Didion in the fiction section. Although I couldn’t find the same book, (Play it as it Lays) I found another- Run River. From what I could tell from the few brief chapters I heard on the street, both books are equally tragic, featuring miserable characters slogging through difficult situations. I certainly was not uplifted by the content of Didion’s work. I did, however, greatly enjoy the method by which I was exposed to her work. The simple act of reading out loud brought new life to her carefully written words.
posted by Amber Bell