The Book I Was Born to Read

by Patrick on January 15, 2010

As part of my year-end recap of my favorite books from 2009, I talked about Richard Rushfield’s memoir Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost.  In doing so, I admitted to being a sucker for campus literature.  Lucky Jim, “The Christian Roommate,” Old School… I could go on.  All of this is prelude to saying that David Lodge’s Changing Places is absolutely knocking me out.  I’m only about 65 pages in, but I already find myself trying to slow down to make the book last longer.

For those who aren’t familiar with Lodge’s work, Changing Places is the story of two college professors — Englishman Philip Swallow and American Morris Zapp — who change places for six months, each of them taking a teaching position at the other’s college.  It’s a novel of culture clash, obviously, but it’s also a brilliant and witty take on the politics and mores of academia.  For whatever reason, this particular combination is exactly what I want to read.

It’s such a rare thing to find a book that just completely clicks with you.  When I began the book, I had the curious and pleasurable sensation of simultaneously feeling that I’d read the book already and that it was utterly new.  It was thrilling, something I’ve experienced only a handful of times in my life.  I just wish it could last a bit longer.  I received a Penguin UK edition of A David Lodge Trilogy from my friend Paria for Christmas, so I’ve been consoling myself, as the pages fly by, that there are two more books in this series.

What’s the book that most clicked with you?  What were you born to read?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Daniel Goldin 01.22.10 at 2:52 am

Patrick, you make me feel so old! I dug out my hardcover copy of “Nice Work”, which may or may not have been in the trilogy (they weren’t already published as such), and it’s over 20 years old. I read it as new as a young bookseller and wound up keeping up with Lodge for about 4 books. I know I read “Changing Places” too, but maybe that was just borrowed. And maybe you should be reading Alison Lurie’s “Foreign Affairs” or dare I say it, one of the Barbara Pym academic novels (not all are vicar’s wives, you know).

John 01.23.10 at 6:09 pm

the last time i really felt like that was with the book “ender’s game” by orson scott card. it was, and still is, one of my favorite books.

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