April 13, 2013

"When a marital therapy book looks promising, Mr. and Mrs. Dash buy two copies, one for each of them."

"When they’re both finished, they exchange copies to see what their partner has underlined. They never underline the same passages. It’s like a pair of photos by two different photographers, where you can’t tell that they’re of the same landscape. Two soothsayers reading the same entrails and foreseeing two entirely different fates."

A super-short fiction by RLC, written a few years ago, but long after the time when I was married to him. These days, books are bought as ebooks, so you don't have to buy 2 copies of everything, you just have to authorize 2 Kindles/iPads on the same account — which is what Meade and I do — and the husband and wife can simultaneously read the same book or — as in our case — the same 300 books that we wander around in endlessly, perhaps eventually encountering a passage that we'd underline electronically if the other hadn't already done the underlining. Are there any marital therapy books? Not unless "Lady Blue Eyes: My Life with Frank" counts. Or "Lady Chatterley's Lover." Or "The Obamas." Or — this has a self-helpish title — "How to Be Alone."

"Rules for Radicals"
? Rule 13: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." There's marriage for you!

Why was I reading that old post? Because when I read that wonderful garden club politics article out loud, I said it was like a compressed novel and Meade said it was like one of RLC's super-short fictions which you can read the best of in book form or read at his blog. The one about married couples reading marriage therapy books simultaneously is just what's at the top when you click the "fiction" tag.

I was also considering blogging "If We Could Only Understand a Pink Sock" — a propos of the fuzzy pink socks that played a central role in the news story of the week, how North Korea is about to drop a nuclear bomb somewhere Mitch McConnell's people considered quoting things Ashley Judd wrote about herself.


edutcher said...

We wouldn't have to worry about 2 copies because The Blonde's taste in reading and mine are about as diametrically opposite as you can find, but we agree e-books are not our taste.

A dead tree book can get wet, dropped, all kinds of dirty, go through an airport scanner, where a reader might have problems.

I also hate the idea of reading that small screen (although I do have the 10" Galaxy Tab), and the idea of looking at art that should be in a coffee table book if you're going to appreciate it, just doesn't fly.

Chip Ahoy said...

That's quite good, RLC.

ricpic said...

How can The Obamas be classified as a marital therapy book when Michelle's a self-described single mom?

ricpic said...

Michelle caught herself and said "I shouldn't have said that;" no denial that.

Ann Althouse said...

She "shouldn't" say that, but she did. I assume people say what they want to say. She got her message out to him. That's one way of talking to your husband.

X. Oops. I mean: Y.


Nomennovum said...

I am more inclined towards advice books that deal with problems before they arise. Marriage therapy books deal with situations that are likely already lost causes.

Consequently, the best marriage therapy books that I've seen were aimed towards men and are intended as help for those contemplating marriage. Here's a good place to start, you Romeos:

Great Advice for Marriage-Minded Men

Freeman Hunt said...

Just this week I was reading a book that I bought used and marveling at the things the previous owner underlined. The things this person underlined bear no resemblance whatsoever to what I would underline if I were underlining. It is as if this person were reading an entirely different book, yet it is the same book!

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...

When I wear the wrong socks with my work boots I get these sock lint bunnies on the floor... and at first I was puzzled because I had no idea what they were or how they got there. Until I picked one up and took a close look.

I think we should just destroy the missile on the pad before they have a chance to launch it.

Freeman Hunt said...

To be more specific, the book is The Gatekeepers. It's an inside account of the admissions process one year at Wesleyan. I'm reading it purely for interest in the inner workings of the thing. The previous owner seems to have read it to research the people in it. This person has underlined things about where people went to law school, where they live, what foods they like, etc.

wholelottasplainin' said...

It's not all that surprising that the couple underlined completely different portions of their marital therapy book.

In an old Woody Allen Movie ("Annie Hall", I think), in separate sessions shown split-screen, therapists ask Diane Keaton and Allen about their sex lives:

Therapist: "How much sex are you two having"

Allen: "Hardly ever!"

Keaton: "All the time!"

Hagar said...

I hate people who scribble in books. It is very rude and inconsiderate of the next reader.

Sam L. said...

I tried to read about the pink sock. Could not do it.

Rachel Matteson said...

I think it still depends on the preference of the person. Some people would like to read books rather than e-books because they are used to flipping pages which perhaps can help them concentrate. It doesn't matter anyway because what's important is the content. :)
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