Monday, January 16, 2012

Rat Rod or Stretch Limo?

Thought for the day: No matter what the destination, we should always try to enjoy the ride.

There's all kinds of rides. I'm not sure what it says about me, but the vehicle that most captured my imagination at a recent car show is this rat rod pictured at the left. Some people may consider rat rods to be ... er... ratty, but I think of them as filled with imagination, whimsy, and ingenuity. Clever. Folk art. Fun.

I'd really love to take a ride in Sir Rat's vehicle there, and I can hardly wait to take a spin in my husband's Model A rat rod when she's ready to roll. He took her out briefly on our front street just to see what she can do, and suffice it to say, she can do a LOT. Matter of fact, with all the muscle he's built into her, I'm afraid the FAA may want to slap an ID number on her tail. At any rate, I'll wait until she's road-legal before I join him for a real ride, but when I do, no doubt, we'll be sitting tall in the seat as we vroom down the street. And we'll take pride in the ride. No matter where we go.

If you think about it, that's kinda like a good book. Now, wait a minute. Bear with me, and I'll explain.

The way I see it, there are two very important elements to consider in any book: the ride and the destination. The destination, of course, is the outcome of the story, and the ride is the plotting and telling of it. I'm rather partial to an upbeat happy-ever-after destination and story ending. But, you know what? If the ride is enjoyable enough, and the driver skillful enough, I don't much care about the destination. Kinda like cruising in the old days. Remember how enjoyable it was to drive aimlessly around town with your favorite guy or gal beside you, and your favorite tunes playing on the radio? No particular place to go, and no particular time to get there. Just cruising, and taking pride in the ride.

Now, of course, if the car ends up flying off a cliff, or the story ends up with a ridiculous no-sense-at-all ending, I'm not gonna be happy. But still, a great ride is a glorious thing.

On the other hand, if the ride or story-telling isn't enjoyable --- bumpy roads; too fast or too slow; lousy scenery; an unsympathetic character driving the story; unpleasant riding companions --- I may simply get out of the vehicle, or toss the book aside, and never even make it to the final destination, no matter how awesome that destination may be.

You see the similarities?

Now then, I'd like to tell you about one book in particular.

I won't risk offending the author by comparing her book to a rat rod, so let's call it a stretch limo. After all, it's classy, a smooth ride, and something everyone can appreciate.(As opposed to weirdos like me with the rat.)

The book?

The Lady's Fate, a Regency romance,  reminded me of some of the books I read many years ago ... wondrous books written by skillful artists like the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen. Books that capture your imagination and whisk you away for a thoroughly enjoyable ride to another place and time.

Like most of  the works of those earlier writers, and indeed, like many romances in general, there was no big surprise ending to be found in Anne's book. Sure, there are some delicious detours along the way, but when you climb into her stretch limo, it isn't difficult to figure out exactly where she's going to take you. But in spite of knowing what the destination is gonna be, or maybe even because of it,  it's a genuine joy to settle back against the plush leather seats of that limo, and simply enjoy the ride. 

I dunno. Maybe Anne's figured out the secrets of channeling? Nah, that isn't it. She is just that talented. If you remember losing yourself in the magic of a Jane Austen book, this is definitely the book for you. It's a guilty pleasure, to be sure. (But less fattening.)

For me, Anne scored really big with this one. And know what? I enjoyed the ride so much, I'm looking forward to reading her other works, as well, because I suspect, no matter what kind of vehicle she's driving, with someone of her talent behind the wheel, it's bound to be a delightful ride.

So, whatcha think? Are you more into the ride or the destination? And how about the ride? Rat rod or stretch limo? (Hmmm, maybe we can squeeze a spiffy beverage bar in the back of the rat rod???)

                               Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.            


  1. Personally I'd rather the naughty rat-rod novel, than its stretch-limo cousin!

  2. couldn't we manage a combination of the two somehow?

  3. I'm all about the ride. If it's good enough, it doesn't matter where you wind up.

    I have The Lady's Fate on my Kindle, just waiting for the right lazy afternoon with a cup of tea and a box of chocolates. :)

  4. I always thought rat rods were unfinished hot rods. At least, that's how they started out before becoming a destination.
    It's always fun to latch onto a new author and take a ride. I've done that recently with Alexander McCall Smith, "The No. 1 Woman's Detective Agency" and others.

  5. I am all about the ride. One of my favorite quotes's not about the destination but the journey in getting there. What a great analogy and so true with books. I will check out Lady's Fate. Thank you for the recommendation. Happy Monday!

  6. Thanks so much for your thoughtful and very kind comments, Susan. I love the analogy. It's funny you should mention channeling, because I've been wondering who I've been channeling for quite some time.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed The Lady's Fate. I hope you like the others as well.

  7. Cro- Rat rods aren't so much naughty as they are rakish. Rather like you, imagine.

    Delores- Sure, now a rat rod limo is something I'd definitely like to see! Might start with one of those Hummers instead of a Caddy ...

    Linda- Great. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    Mr. C- Rat rods sometimes look unfinished, but the best are not only road-worthy, but race-worthy, as well. They're usually put together with unusual parts, kinda like a Frankenstein monster or Rube Goldberg creation of the car world, and may even be rusted out and nasty-looking, with actual buckets for seats, that sort of thing. My hubby's definitely has some of the innovative odd parts thing going, but she'll also have an old school flat black paint job when she's done. I haven't read anything by Alexander McCall Smith, but I'll check him out. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Tracy Jo- Happy Monday to you, too. Yes, we've gotta enjoy the journey.

  8. Anne- You're welcome, dear lady. Some of your writing really does make it seem like you're channeling one of the earlier greats, but nope. You're simply talented in your own right. I'm looking forward to reading your other works.

  9. I like a nice smooth ride with an awesome destination, and I'm sometimes up for some Regency romance. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll keep it on my radar.

  10. I spotted you on Katie Gates' Blog and popped over to say "Hi,". I wont get into the car debate - husband has a 1967 DB6 (could have got the year wrong there) it is red, it is beautiful but I cannot say I enjoy the ride very much...were it a book I think it'd be that book I know I should read but I keep putting off. To answer your question - I think I enjoy the ride in a book but I am bitterly disappointed and feel let down if the ending is weak - knowing how it will end does not make it weak however as you rightly point out. Even known endings can be strong!
    I will be browsing here more often...

  11. Oooh, can I have a spin in your Rat Rod when it's finished, Susan? How cool is that!

    If it's the boring 401 that goes on forever and puts me to sleep, I just want to get where I'm going. But if it's in the countryside, I enjoy losing myself for a while. It's a meticulously crafted book to create such an illusion, eh.

  12. L.G.- Your response reminds me of my favorite riddle when I was four or five years old: What would you rather have chase you, an elephant or a gorilla? The answer: I'd rather have the elephant chase the gorilla. So, you want both ride AND destination. Good for you. Might at well set the bar high.

    Deborah- Thank you so much for stopping by. You're right about some of the old cars. Our classic El Camino is a beauty to behold, but her ride leaves something to be desired.

    Carrie- You betcha!

  13. Enjoy the ride (when it happens)

  14. I love you blog, the car, and the referral for the book that sounds like something I'd LOVE to read!!!

    Thank you for the visit at my blog during this rough time as my youngest daughter leaves again for college. I am having one of "those" long weekends, but getting to read blogs like yours sure lifts me up. I truly want to read this book and will look for it at Half Price Books.


  15. Al- Yep, I'm ready. (But enjoying the wait, too.)

    Lana- Glad to lift your spirits a bit. Unfortunately, you won't be able to find Anne's book at the book store. Right now, it's only available in an e-version. I got my copy at Amazon's kindle store. (Sorry. I should've mentioned that in the post.) Take care. Your daughter's strong. Try not to worry about her, okay?

  16. LOVE that analogy! I'm a big fan of the extended metaphor, and an absolute sucker for a good analogy. By my count, you've got both here! I read bookshelves full of regency romances when I was in my 20s. There was just something so comforting about the morality of a chaperone, the stolen hand-holding, the gossiping servants, the magic of a "season" and the ridiculous social events. Sigh. I'm going to have to give her book a try!
    Tina @ Life is Good

    Co-Host of the April 2012 Blogging from A to Z Challenge

  17. Tina- Glad you liked the post, and if you liked Regency novels, it's a cinch you'll like this one. (Available on Amazon in e-version.) Welcome aboard, dear lady. Thank you for signing on as a follower.

  18. It's all about journey. And if you want a bar in the Rat Rod just throw a cooler in the back. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  19. There was a time I'd opt for the rat ride. I'm in limo mode these days. People change over the years and so do their tastes. So I'll go with the limo.

  20. I love your analogy. I've read many books where I didn't want to get to get end because then it would be over. Sometimes those are the ones I flip over to the front and read again right away.

  21. Jules- That'll work! Thanks.

    Stephen- Actually, I like both ... one for fun, and one for an occasional spot of sheer decadence.

    Donna- Yeah, me too, and it's funny, but a lotta times, the books we hate to see end are the ones with a bazillion pages. (Or a thousand, anyway.) Same thing with the multi-volume series. After finishing the tenth of ten, I wanta know what happens NEXT, doggone it.

  22. I'll bet Anne wouldn't mind her book being compared to a rat rod!

    After all, a stretch limo is all flash and no character. It's bling without personality.

    A rat rod -- well that's got character, and I'll bet you'll remember the ride you take in it longer than the stretch limo ride.

    That's the kind of book I want to read: eccentric and memorable!