The only thing we like more than giving away books is posting our little chats with MOTEV. But we do try to dole them out since she's far more popular than our own caterwaulings are. Still, we know you've been clamoring for a dose, and we managed to catch up to the busy retiree between book groups, the opera, Broadway and museum outings, and she kindly consented to give us a minutes of her time to chat books.
TEV: So what are you reading?
MOTEV: I'm finally reading Howard's End.
MOTEV: I'm enjoying it so much I can't believe I never read it. I'm just loving it. And then I thought of Shirley Hazzard's Transit of Venus, and I thought, OK she had good taste about where to borrow from.
TEV: Borrowing is part of the game
MOTEV: That's right. Have you read it?
TEV: Not yet. I've had it for a while - someone I respect recommended it highly but I haven't gotten to it yet.
MOTEV: What's taking so long?
TEV: Have you read The English Patient yet? Which I gave you, what, seven years ago?
MOTEV: (silence. then:) No comment.
TEV: Thought so. OK, what's the book group reading?
MOTEV: We're meeting in March. We're going to read On Beauty.
TEV: Have you started it yet?
MOTEV (patiently stating the obvious to her not-too-bright son): No. I'm going to finish Howard's End first.
TEV: That's very organized of you.
MOTEV: I may not stick to it but that's the plan
TEV: OK then. So, any thoughts about the literary controversy of the day?
MOTEV (the world's deepest long suffering sigh): I don't see what's the big ado – no one should assume that a memoir is true. One shouldn't read memoirs and assume they're true – they should read them as fiction and assume they're not true. I'm actually on his side. He misrepresented himself to the media but what he did in his book, that should be a writer's right
TEV: You should tell Oprah …
MOTEV: And this mania for "truth"? What is completely True or Not True? There should be a limit on talking about it, and anyway what about the right of the writer to do with truth whatever they want to? As long as they say that it's my version of the truth. Think about the definition of "memoir" ... Read Casanova's memoirs!
TEV: (typing quickly to keep up with her indignation) Uh huh …
MOTEV: (pause) Are your MOTEVing me?
TEV: You know, "to MOTEV" isn't actually a verb. (pause; busted) I may be …
MOTEV: Oh please! But this is my opinion. I thought it was fine that Oprah defended him first and then I caught the moment when she said "you mislead me" – that's stupid! He's not on trial. He's a writer. I think the whole controversy is helping his sales. They couldn't pay for better advertisement. That's all. And next time you MOTEV me without saying so first, I'm disinheriting you.
TEV: But you guys don't have anything!
MOTEV: It's a symbolic gesture. Now go finish writing your book. It's not a memoir, is it?