Friday Firsts: Read Me by Leo Benedictus

September 7, 2018


Friday Firsts is a new meme that will run every Friday here on Tenacious Reader. It will feature the first few sentences/paragraph of my current book and my first impressions as well. It’s meant to be a quick and easy way to share a bit about what I am reading, and I would love to hear others join in sharing their current reads as well.

Read Me by Leo Benedictus
Also by this author: Read Me
Published by Twelve on August 7, 2018
Pages: 256

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I DO NOT CONSIDER MYSELF a complicated person. I don’t think many people are. I accept that I have lived strangely for the past four years, and for the past month especially, so I suppose I must consider myself strange, but please forgive me if I don’t wear the word with the best grace. I am not so strange that I take pride in it. I have only tried to live by simple principles with doggedness and honesty, and with an open mind.

Now and then I believe we all glimpse the simplicity of ourselves, whether or not we try. For instance I’m sure you’ve heard people who’ve nearly died saying that it reminds you what’s important, by which they mean that the list of things is shorter than they thought. Soon enough most return to worrying about bills and popularity and lateness. In order to forget life, they get on with living. Those who stay reminded are considered traumatized.

Danger forces this grim wisdom on you, but it is by no means the only route. Most children discover at some point that minds can be boiled down pretty easily by playing a game of Why? Just ask Why? of any statement, then ask Why? of the answer, and continue to ask Why? until you get stuck in a loop, or you reach particle physics, or the grown-up gets bored, whichever is the soonest.

Let me give you an example. Why? Because examples are a good way to explain things, and right now I’d rather explain this idea than get on with the story. Why? Because I’m anxious. Why? Various reasons. Among them, because I’m making tea in the dark. Why am I making tea in the dark? Good question. Because I want to bring her something comforting when I go upstairs, but I don’t dare turn on the lights. Why don’t I dare? Because I don’t want to risk waking her. Why? Because I want to wake her later, at the right time. Why? Because I want to make a good impression. Why do I want to make a good impression? Because I want to be loved. Why do I want to be loved? I don’t know. Curiosity I suppose. I want to find out what it’s like. Why do I want to find out? I don’t know.

Actually it is not completely dark in here, if I’m going to be accurate, which I plan to be. The kettle’s power indicator light gives an orange glow to the waiting cups. The point is it’s dark enough to be anxious about tea-making, on top of all the other things. We are in the hissing stage. You know the hissing stage? The kettle begins silently, then there are clicks, then the clicks give way to a quiet hissing that becomes loud. That’s where we are, in the becoming.

Benedictus, Leo (2018-08-06T23:58:59). Read Me: A Novel (Kindle Locations 41-62). Grand Central Publishing. Kindle Edition.

My First Impressions

Definitely a bit different from what I’ve read lately. It’s got me curious. Maybe it helps that I’m currently binge watching Dexter, so getting into the mind of a serial stalker has some of the same appeal as a show about a serial killer. I do like my protagonists/narrators to be slightly off kilter and not necessarily reliable. It just keeps things interesting!

What are you reading right now? Did it start out strong? Feel free to share in the comments


  • Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy September 7, 2018 at 9:23 am

    This sounds like it could be intense! I’m actually in the middle of a YA book right now, Keeper of the Bees, and so far it’s really good.
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  • Lisa September 7, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Sounds intriguing. Not sure if it’s my cup of tea but definitely interesting.

  • Melliane September 9, 2018 at 6:08 am

    This one is new to me I confess

  • Lynn September 9, 2018 at 8:44 am

    I look forward to your final thoughts on this one.
    Lynn 😀