I read Susan Orlean’s latest book in half-hour installments for two reasons: 1) because I’ve been exhausted from long rush-hour drives to and from work, and 2) because her sentences warrant patient appreciation.
In fact, THE LIBRARY BOOK, a mélange of a true crime investigation and historical exploration of the Los Angeles public library system, reminded me intensely of my first dinner at Herbsaint in New Orleans. For starters, I ordered the Jumbo Lump Crab with Watermelon Gazpacho, expecting a cup of tomato-y soup with some crabmeat in it, and instead was treated to a low tide of watermelon gazpacho surrounding a giant mountain of fresh-out-of-the-net sweet crabmeat. I quickly realized that it would take me hours to eat this meal because I wanted to take tiny bites and savor every delightful flavor.
Before that meal, I hadn’t known the difference between eating and truly tasting one’s food. Susan Orlean’s writing has a similar effect.
PS—If you haven’t read any of Orlean’s other books yet, I also recommend THE BULLFIGHTER CHECKS HER MAKEUP and THE ORCHID THIEF.