Saturday, April 04, 2009

Thank you Olen Steinhauer

It's been a brutal week.

I don't want dwell on the details but let's just say it's truly been a week I never want to repeat. And one of the worst things was that my usual way to deal with stress-- saying "it will be better tomorrow" -- didn't work because each day I knew what was coming the next and it was worse.

This week well and truly sucked.

By Thursday night I couldn't even think about work. I was tired, and dispirited and just plumb out of gas. I didn't want to be where I was and I couldn't leave.

I was desperate to get outside myself. This was beyond the medicinal power of scotch. I needed an intervention.

The only thing that works for truly dire straits such as these is a totally captivating novel.

So, I bought The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer. I'd heard about him from Sarah Weinman; I'd seen an ad for this book in The New Yorker. I'd meant to read it, I just hadn't.

Clearly the Universe was waiting to remind me to buy it when it wasn't categorized as "book purchase" but as "emergency medicine."

For just a few hours last night and today, I wasn't here. I wasn't thinking about the stuff going on, I wasn't thinking about much of anything, I was just inside a wonderful, all-consuming story.

I was able to do that because Olen Steinhauer knows how to spin a damn fine tale.
Thanks to his amazing writing, I feel much much better. Nothing much has changed; it was still a week of raw suckage, but now I can move ahead sans firearms.

I just needed a short break from reality in the hands of a master craftsman.

Thank you, Olen Steinhauer. I really really needed that.


SundaySoup said...

Next time you need a fix like this (and hopefully there won't be any "next times" soon), there's always Nevil Shute. He's really good for this kind of balming of the soul. When you're in a used book store, pick up PASTORAL, THE CHEQUER BOARD, ROUND THE BEND, and TRUSTEE FROM THE TOOLROOM (I recommend you skip ON THE BEACH in this situation) and tuck them behind glass that says, "Break in case of emergency".

Oh, and Janet, if this helps at was a sucky week, and I'm sorry, but you do wonderful things for a lot of people and the pendulum will swing back...and if it doesn't swing fast enough, just let us know and we'll all give it a good shove for you! Take care.

Joelle Anthony

Jenn Johansson said...

My favorite thing about books is the opportunity they create for me to go somewhere else for awhile. I'm glad you found some peace by escaping into one this week. I think I need to go get The Tourist. It sounds like a book I need to read. :) Hope your weekend turns out better.

Melissa said...

I'm so sorry. Hang in there! (hugs)

K. Andrew Smith said...

I love posts like this. Not hearing that you had a bad week...Lord knows I've had similar. No, I like hearing about books that take the reader away from her life. It's a great way for me to find out about new books/authors I haven't read before.

So thanks, Janet, for the recommendation. And I hope your weekend, and next week, are better.

Julie Weathers said...


So sorry to hear you are having a bad week. I figured something was going on.

Hopefully, this week will be better. For right now, just know many people care about you and wish you well.


Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

When you’re knocked off your rock
And no longer king of the hill
You can call Bill.

Goats like to pout
When the outcome is in doubt,
But I’d head-butt your problems right over the sill.
(Window that is …)

So when life has you in a tiz,
And things seem to fiz
Call on the goat his mommy called Will.

Does this mean I get chocolate cake my next visit to your office? … And did you have the phone number for that cute intern …?

William E. Goat, III, esq.

Mags said...

Here's hoping today is tomorrow at last. Thank you for the book recommendation.

Jen said...

Never underestimate the power of excellent writing, eh? I'm sorry you had a crappy week, but I'm glad you found at least a temporary cure. Sometimes, all you need is a band-aid to keep on keepin' on, and books make the best kind of band-aid ever.

JES said...

Damn, what a great post. I do hope Steinhauer's Web-clipping service or Google Alert scoops it up for him: it's the sort of review that would make many writers' hearts swell, especially in this unsolicited form. (Er, I'm assuming it wasn't solicited. :)

From his Web site I see film rights have been acquired by George Clooney. Hmm.

Janet said...

I recently read an article that said reading is the best form of stress relief. It was the conclusion of a medical study.

But we already knew that. ;o)

Anonymous said...

Ooh, my one I Knew Him When claim: Olen and I were in the same group of Fulbright scholars to Romania, many years ago. We haven't kept in touch, alas, but I'm thrilled about how he's built his career.

Shanthy said...

A nice post

~Sia McKye~ said...

It means you're excited about the project. That means this will come across and by damn, enthusiasm sell. It also baits the hook rather well. :-)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Janet, sorry the previous comment was meant for Last word on #agentfail (I think!) I'm tired and a friend point out your blog and so I wanted to read it before turning in, I'm glad I did and I applaud your enthusiam.