Friday, October 19, 2012


Have you ever heard someone speak about a book or see a movie based on a book and wanted to read the original? I do. All the time. That's the case with The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, also author of Day of the Triffids, which I've already read.

I don't know if it's curiosity (mostly, what Beanie calls my nose problem) or lack of sales resistance. I prefer the former. Basically, it's like someone suggesting books and me deciding which ones I want to read. That's how I finally began reading Jane Austen and found I actually liked it. Before watching the BBC series with Colin of the wet shirt, I began reading Austen but just could not get past the ponderous language. Hearing it spoken gave it life and sparkle and I had to read the books, books I continue to reread year after year. Austen is a place of beauty and romance that still touches my old heart and I do so love the scene between Anne and the captain when he reaches out one very large gloved hand and she places her small hand in his. That is true romance. I see it every time I read Persuasion, which is why I suppose I also enjoy The Lake House because of the connection to Persuasion.

I have to admit that I am a bit surprised that the very wordy Wyndham Midwich Cuckoos is so very wordy and most of what I've seen numerous times in Village of the Damned has not occurred, except for the town going to sleep and anyone coming within its confines dropping off immediately. At times, the book puts me to sleep when Dr Zellaby goes on and on in his philosophical vein. There are moments when he makes sense, like when he told his son-in-law to take his daughter away from Midwich without their baby so she could escape the compulsion that comes over every woman of a Dayout baby/cuckoo when she gets six miles from Midwich, as if tethered by some invisible cable that yanks the mother back. Several more educated and scientific-minded women have already figured out they can escape the compulsion by leaving Midwich without the baby forced on them by the Dayout and leaving the baby/cuckoo in the care of the town without regret or second glances. Only one mother out of the entire population of child bearing females in Midwich had a normal baby, and that is Dr Zellaby's wife, Angela. She was obviously pregnant when the Dayout occurred.

At any rate, I am moderately enjoying the book, but I doubt I'd be reading it at this time if not for Mrs Fitzgerald's mention of the book to her brother-in-law when she was talking about how her midlife baby Jimmy kept her tethered to the house when she had one grown son and a nearly grown daughter. Having a baby at the middle of her life was not in her plans and, as much as she loved him, she was sick to death of being tethered to home with a newborn. She talked about how any woman with a Midwich cuckoo was compelled to return to the "nest" and how it had to be a man writing that kind of hell because a woman never would -- be tethered or find it fodder for a story. I had to read the book then and there.

Mostly, I've been pleased and fascinated by the books I've been recommended in this fashion, but there have also been some dogs. Still, I wonder how many people buy books, not because a friend mentioned them or because of being drawn by the cover art or the author's name, but because a television character or movie based on a book put the idea into their heads. How do you find the books you read for entertainment and escape?

Maybe Beanie is right and it all comes down to my nose trouble. Stranger things and all that.

That is all. Disperse.

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