Required Reading: Horseradish

9 08 2007

The Artistic Mama purchased me a copy of Lemony Snicket’s Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid a few months ago and I keep it by my desk and read through a few pages every few days. As I’ve just started a new novel and don’t have much blogging to do about it yet, I thought I’d share a couple of my favourite passages from Horseradish.

First off, there is this one in the school section:

Most schools have a system

of loud bells, which startle

the students and teachers at

regular intervals and remind

them that time is passing even

more slowly than it seems.

It’s terrible, but so true. Some days the minutes just dragged. The first time I lecture my own course – not TAing, not 50 minute tutorials, but a proper 3 hour class that was all my responsibility – I prepared material for what I thought would be 2 and a half hours plus other miscellaneous administrative stuff and ended up only taking 45 minutes. Trial by fire. I did some quick thinking that afternoon and now I never ever step foot inside a classroom without at least 5 back-up activities.

Now this one probably needs no explanation:

Never trust anyone

who has not brought

a book with them.

And finally, there is this one, which I probably should read on a daily basis:

The thing you hope will never

happen to you might just

happen to someone else

instead, who has been

spending their life dreading

the thing that will

happen to you.

Fear, fear of all sorts of things and the futility of that fear. That’s what I need to remember, what I need to stop worrying about. It’s a bit of a daily struggle to be honest. I’ve written a creative non-fiction piece about it, which I’m hoping to revise and send off and that’s helped and just being useful, that helps too. I need to be more useful.

I think Horseradish is a good book to have on hand, the kind that you can browse though, skim through even – and each time to do a different passage will strike you and speak to you, just as different books speak to you at different points in your life. It’s all about what you need or searching for at that particular moment.

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2 responses

9 08 2007
iliana

Hi Sparrow – Just wanted to say thank you for dropping by my blog the other day. Nice to “meet” another bookworm 🙂
Look forward to hearing more about your current reads and all that good stuff. In the meantime, I haven’t heard about this book but I do like “never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them”. hee.

9 08 2007
sparrow52

Hello Iliana,
Thank you for stopping by and as you say it is always nice to meet someone else with a love of books and I’ve enjoyed reading your blog as well.
I stumbled across the book in one of the small bookstores here and didn’t buy it at the time, but my Mom picked it up for me and I’ve got quite a bit of enjoyment out of it. Some of Snicket’s words of wisdoms – like the one about never trusting anyone who hasn’t brought a book – are fun, but there are a lot of other ones that really strike a deeper chord.
I was downtown today trying to find a copy of Pentecost and as I came out of the bookstore there were some women out front browsing through (of all things) Horseradish and they were laughing at one passage and then turning the page talking about how true they next witticism was and I walked away from them with a little smile on my face because it was such a odd and nice coincidence.

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