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So Much for Nonfiction

August 21, 2013

Well, you know how in the previous post I was talking extensively about my love of nonfiction and how I was back, firmly rooted in the nonfiction realm?

I kinda was wrong.

Ok, I wasn’t kinda wrong.  I was dead wrong.

After posting that I went on a date with husband.  As often happens on our cheap dates, we ended up at Barnes and Noble (oh, yes we did).  I bought a mystery novel and walked out of the store, nonchalantly.  Little did I know that mystery novel would have me hooked.

I devoured Still Life by Louise Penny and realized I didn’t have enough mad money to buy the remaining six books in the series I hadn’t read.  Instead, I used the hold/reserve system at our public library, which is really a beautiful, beautiful thing.  As soon as I would start one book, I would put a hold on the next book in the series.  (The Three Pines/Chief Inspector Gamache Series).  Less than two weeks ago, I visited the book store.  Since then, I’ve read Still Life, plus the next three in the series (and book five is in transit for me.  I should be able to pick it up tomorrow).  Needless to say, I haven’t made much headway in Cooked.

I’ve felt a bit of guilt about my obsessive murder mystery reading.  This book, I would set a timer whenever I sat down to read, so I wouldn’t be swept away for an hour or so, leaving my children unattended watching TV or playing with matches (ok, I never really did that, but if they had, I wouldn’t have noticed).  I thought I should be catching up on my daily Bible reading or picking up my spiritually challenging nonfiction book I started six months ago.  It was truly a guilty pleasure.

This book, book four, A  Rule Against Murder, was one of my favorite in the series thus far.  It was set somewhere else than the first three, which was good because I was starting to wonder how many murders a small, idyllic town on the US/Canadian border have.  There were many new characters, the main ones being an extremely dysfunctional, cold family.  How Penny (the author) created the family and explained their intricacies enthralled me and I found myself thinking of the side mysteries more than the main one (such as the mother who refused to tell the extended family the sex of her nine year old child named Bean, who was actually quite a delightful child despite being asexual and named Bean).

In the middle of the book, we learned the wealthy step-father went down to the lake every morning to “do his sums.”  Chief Inspector Gamache was put off by this, writing Mr. Finney off as just another greedy, self-obsessed old man.  However in the last four pages of the book, Gamache realized there was more to Mr. Finney, who also was a WWII POW, than this.

Finney looked at him closely.

“You asked what I count each evening and each morning.  What I counted each day in prison while better men withered and died.  Do you know the sums I do?”

Gamache stood still, in case moving would scare this man off and he’d never have his answer.  But he knew he needn’t worry.  This man was afraid of nothing.

“I count my blessings.”

He turned and saw Irene [Finney’s wife and family matriarch] on the terrasse, as though he’d sensed her there.

“We’re all blessed and we’re all blighted, Chief Inspector,”  said Finney.  “Every day each of us does our sums.  The question is, what do we count?”

Once again, I realized something important.  While I may have totally slacked on reading my Bible and my challenging nonfiction, I couldn’t escape God.  No, I wasn’t intentionally trying to escape, I think I know better than that, I did feel like taking a break and that I needed the break.  It’s one of those things I feel periodically, even though I know I really just need a break from my own intensity and drive.  As I read the last four pages of my book, a second passage struck me as well–one talking about the need for and presence of hope.  God will find me, no matter what I am reading or what I am not reading.

That is blessing I can count.  God always wants me to return to him.  Only God can give me that break from myself I want on occasion.  Even though I may say I want to be alone, I never am.  God will break through, even in the murder mysteries I may obsessively be reading.

Now, I must go add that to my Thankful list on my fridge.  I must remember to count the right things every day.

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