I still love you & when I see your rakish grin and your gorgeous bald head staring up at me from the book jacket or at some website, I still feel that literary thrill. My hands sweat, and the cover of whatever book of yours I’m holding gets all damp and puckery. Some of my most cherished memories include tearing through The Polysyllabic Spree and hunting like crazy for that magnifying glass as I vroomed through Housekeeping Vs. The Dirt. I even changed my soccer — I mean football team for you! Furthermore, if/when you do a book tour of South Korea — well, everyone is just damn well gonna have to understand as I chase you from Seoul to Busan and back again, knocking Koreans and foreigners alike out of my way.
What you should know is that I’m a woman who reads too much. My bookish needs are so many and varied that it’s kind of embarrassing. I must have my fiction, my nonfiction and my reading challenges! The last one is what has landed me in trouble: Nick, I’ve fallen in love again. He’s Canadian and he’s dead, which means he’ll never do a book tour here. If he were alive, I’d be so tempted to tear up my American passport at the border and happily live out the rest of my life in Ontario, freezing to death and waiting for that white-bearded visage to show up in public appearances and on the CBC.
Yes, Nick. I love Robertson Davies! We’re both bookworms and adults, aren’t we? If you’ve ever read Fifth Business, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. I’m talking masterful storyteller. I’m talking dry wit, enjoyably dry, like the finest sherry. I’m talking a writing style that is so smooth, your eyes feel as if they are coasting on Optical Cruise Control all the way to Nirvana. I’m so glad he wrote so many books because I’m enraptured enough to ride the golden waves of his prose all the way through The Second Canadian Book Challenge and into eternity…or at least into my fifties.
One of the reasons I love you so much is that you’re both a writer and a reader. I embrace both parts of you. Most of your fans would tell you to get your ass to the PC and hurry up with another book, but they don’t understand you like I do, Nick — after a good day of writing, I want you to get your ass to the bookstore (or bookshop, as you’d put it in the UK) and buy up all the Robertson Davies you can find. Read it, read him. I promise, he’s to modern literature what Marah is to modern music. Although we’re on totally separate continents, can’t we read Robertson Davies together, darling?
And Nick — I must be stern with you for a moment — don’t just buy Robertson’s books and let them just sit forever-and-ever in your “Books Bought This Month” pile. I have friends that read your column faithfully and they’ll tell me. I won’t be happy. A disappointed Bybee is a grim sight. How grim? By comparison, Mrs. Danvers would look like Rebecca Of Sunnybrook Farm.
Don’t worry; I will NOT forget you. Fever Pitch and Slam still have a prominent spot on my TBR, and you’ll always have a special spot in the book stacks of my heart. Meanwhile, my Tough & Cool Inner Bookworm hears another’s voice, and he’s got a fine Canadian accent.
Love, Kisses and Happy Reading, eh?