Chestnut has become quite the adventurous reader. We are talking wide. She's zipping from The Taliban Shuffle to Bossypants to The Three Body Problem, which is where my troubles began.
See, I till like to, when possible, read books that my kids are reading. When is this possible? When they let me know what they're reading, for instance, and don't squirrel the book away so I can't find it.
Dipping into their reading is especially alluring when it's a book I've never heard of. So when Chestnut started reading—and re-reading—The Three Body Problem, I was intrigued. Award-winning sci-fi by a Chinese author I'd never heard of? It sounded world-expanding in all the right ways.
I was never a big sci-fi buff growing up, but I like to think that I've gotten smarter than I was, and that I'm not as—genre-defensive? Is that a term?—as I once was. So with great anticipation, I began.
Here's where real life creeps in (sort of). Through strange flukes of the NYC public school system, both my kids are taking physics this year. I have never taken physics, and when they have run into problems, I have pathetically tried to google my way towards helping them, with middling success. It has not been…pleasant. And then here comes the Three Body Problem, which is chock-full of physics, nanotechnology (at least conceptually), and many, many scientific and mathematical digressions.
I mean, I get it: Science Fiction. Right? Except, oh! How it made me long for Trollope!
What I want to read about, pretty much always, is people. I feel this is a limitation on my part, but it is a truly felt one. And there were people in this book, of course. But they were not, it seemed to me, the author's main concern. Not by a long chalk (ah! What an excellent expression that is).
So: what gives? What makes someone able to engage fully in science fiction? And why don't I have it? And where or how can I get it? It should be noted that Chestnut LOVED this book, and found it fascinating. I feel like I am missing something, both in the sense that I don't have a quality I should, and because that means there are many wonderful books that I could love that I do not.
Is it just a taste thing? Larger? Smaller? All suggestions welcome.