Saturday, September 16, 2006

Reading to Cliff

Cliff isn't especially fond of travel.  One reason he cites is that, since I don't drive, he doesn't get a break from the monotony of keeping the car sailing smoothly along the Interstates.

Several years ago we'd been to a huge tractor show at Rollag, Minnesota.  Heading home, Cliff mentioned how he was dreading our return trip, and I got an idea.

"I bought a book at the show,"  I reminded him.  'Old Tractors and the Men Who Love Them'.  How about if I read it to you while we're on the way home?"

Little did  I know I had discovered a miracle cure for boredom on the road, for both of us.

So these days, the first thing I look for at garage sales is the table piled with twenty-five-cent paperbacks.  John Grisham and James Patterson books are particular favorites  We enjoy Sue Grafton occasionally, too... the lady who names her books in alphabetical order, and isn't obsessed with romance. 

I steer away from love stories, so that eliminates most garage-sale books.  After all, I'm reading for a man, and what man is going to enjoy a sappy old romance?  Besides, they're all so predictable.  I can read the first chapter, watch for a man and woman who can't stand each other, and know they will fall in love by the end of the story.

We were heading home from Colorado in July, and I was reading a book I'd purchased on our train ride... "The History of the Durango-Silverton Railroad".  It had some interesting facts, but it was obviously putting Cliff to sleep:  not a good thing to happen to one's chauffeur.

I had tossed a book in at home, at the beginning of our trip, with the intentions of having something to read for myself, evenings in the motel.  It was obviously a "women's book", a love story.  But it was all I had at the time.

I explained to Cliff he'd probably hate it and so would I, but he needed to wake up, and I didn't have anything else to read.

The book is Nora Roberts' "Montana Sky", from 1997.

As I expected, the romance part of the book was predictable:  Cliff and I figured out, early on, what man each of three sisters would end up with. 

To my surprise, though, the story has held our attention.  Ms. Roberts does a good job of painting a personality, and sprinkles lots of laughs throughout the book.  And Cliff seems to enjoy the spicy love scenes scattered throughout the story, maybe a little too much!

The author has given us a couple of laughs I'm sure she has no idea about, but they certainly brought down the house (or car?) for us country bumpkins.  I'll give a couple of examples.

One of the city sisters, forced to spend a year on a Montana ranch, has been given the job of gathering eggs in the hen-house.  And where is she finding the eggs?  On the roost!  Cliff and I found this so hilarious, because we figured anybody would know that the roost is where the hens "roost" at night.  It's where they perch, something the size of a small branch or maybe a rake-handle, that their toes can curl around.  So we pictured a hen trying to balance an egg on something like that.  Oh, and usually there is at least two inches of chicken-poop under the roost.  Come on, Nora... they lay eggs in their NESTS!!!

Example number two:  There's a villain in the story mutilating cats, cattle, and even a human.  Now this is a ranch we're talking about, not a little homestead where the cattle are pets.  The man selects a steer for mutilating; he lures it with a bucket of feed; he puts a halter on it; and he leads it to the location of his choosing.

First, no steer on a ranch is going to walk up to anyone, I don't care how much feed they have.  Second, even if he did, the minute you moved toward him with a halter, he'd be gone.  Third, if by some miracle you did get a halter on him, his first reaction would be to pull against it, and you'd better hang on for dear life.

Well, at least the story has held our interest.  We're over three-quarters through it... maybe in another couple of months we'll actually finish it, although it's slow going when the only place you travel is  to the grocery store. 



bookncoffee said...

Oh this is a good idea.  Glad you are enjoying reading together.  And...I've read Nora Roberts before and enjoyed it.  I'm very behind on my reading due to school.  About to finish my Jan Karon that I started in January.  LOL.

helmswondermom said...

That's so funny.  I like Nora Roberts, but she really messed up there!

csandhollow said...

Nora usually does a good story but I noticed that she had major messed up in that one too.

magran42 said...

I've discovered audio books.  Our library carries a good selection and the Louie L'Amour series is just the ticket when male and female are listening.  I agree on the sappy romance type.  After one chapter all interest is gone.  We also like some of the historical biographies our 12 yo grandson has.  They are formated to the younger mind (words not too big) and are interesting and informative.  If you are not familier with Louie L' him.  I'm KNOW you will like his work.  I've collected most of his books for my son.  

magran42 said...

Another thought:  We find the same type of errors in TV shows concerning our occupation.  They are funny and C.Y. gets quite exasperated.  I remind him that most people don't have the opportunity to know about such things.  If it were not for my grandmother, I wouldn't know where a chicken roosts.  And I'm constantly amazed at what my children don't know.  Just last week I discovered that two of them didn't know what "covey" means.

marainey1 said...

Just like the audio books on tape only better !!!  I love your idea !  'On Ya' - ma

mastersblynn said...

I wish Rick would let me read to him...he has no time for books. He loves movies though....There are so many great books that he would like if given the chance.  The last thing I read to him was a couple of your those he LOVED!!!! Barbara

lanurseprn said...

I love this idea!!  LOL on the "roost" and the steer.  Being a true "city girl" I'd have no idea that those things were wrong.  That's funny!
Glad Cliff has enjoyed the spicy love scenes!  LOL!  Watch that heart rate, though! <smile>
Have a good weekend.~~~Pam

madcobug said...

LOL on the one about the egg laying on a roost also about putting a halter on a steer. She certainly doesn't know country. I do like to read her books though. Remember to share some more of her country ideas with us. LOL. Helen

ora4uk said...

Oh Mosie...I read that book recently...just for some "light" reading...and like you...laughed in the different parts....and even tho I am not a "country" girl...I figured there is no way a range cow or steer is gonna let you put a halter on guys enjoy the same type books I sister was 62 when her husband died unexpectedly...and she lived in the I told her to call Boone Drivers School....they come and get you...teach you to drive...and bring you home...and he even went with her to pick out a car....found her a nice little Mustang and white....she loved it...but her driving was a hoot....but that is another story....LOLOL...Hugs...Ora

mumma4evr said...

I wish I could read in a car....

lv2trnscrb said...

cute idea to read while driving....seems like Nora Roberts didn't do enough research when she wrote that book of hers. Wonder if she ever visited Montana.