Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Thoughts on What I'm Reading

I seem to be on an incredible reading streak these days and I wanted to share a few thoughts here. I'm often hesitant to write about actual books on this blog and far more comfortable discussing the experience of reading. So many times I have thought that I only want to write about books I have loved fiercely but there are many more books I read and appreciate for their craft or intention, and I'd love to be able to 'talk' through them.  So, it seems a constant evolution, deciding how I want to write about books here and I hope you'll bear with me as I experiment.

For me, a magical read, the kind of book I am drawn to more and more lately, where the line between what is real and what isn't is ever-so-slightly blurred. Reality has a strange way of floating through this book and every line is more beautiful than the last. I was drawn to this story about mothers, daughters, and the salty ocean that binds them.

A story of first love, with such a distinctly quirky and loveable voice. This book paid such amazing attention to detail, to every tender or strange or annoying or magical moment between two people who find one another and save one another from an often cruel world. I felt safe in Rowell's hands, in the presence of the purest, most innocent, truest form of love.  The entire book felt like crawling into the space of someone else's giant, accepting heart. It's a book I will remember always. 

And from there I fell into such an incredibly different book with an entirely new set of rules, it's bizarre to tuck it neatly below the other two. It's hard for me to say that I like this book but equally hard for me to say I don't like it. Basically, I can't stop thinking about it. 

I went into it knowing nothing about the plot and I think, if you decide to pick it up, I would recommend you go into it the same way. I was really impressed with the unraveling (like a runaway ball of yarn or even toilet paper let loose) of this book.  I thought it more of an amazing study of how to write satire, or deal with an unreliable narrator, or write about chilling events. It's dark, disturbing, cynical, and written in such an intentionally lighthearted manner interspersed with moments of severe, aggressive snarling. I don't think it's for everyone, but, then again, with the success of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl this year, I wonder if there is a broader appeal for the absolutely despicable character than I think. The kind of character made all the more haunting and strange and unsettling for the small moments we connect, empathize, or understand him. Maybe I'm new to this genre, maybe it is so far out of my comfort zone I don't know quite how to deal with it, but I found this book to be quite powerful.

What are you reading?


  1. I love hearing your thoughts about reading...to another reader, that can be even more valuable than just knowing if you liked something or not.

  2. OOOOOooooooOOOOOO...more fabulous books to add to my reading list! Thanks, Melissa!

  3. Well I'd say you've done a wonderful job experimenting with this type of book discussion. Plus your photo warms my heart—to see someone reading, rather than texting, while walking.

    Right now I'm reading Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay The Poet, and I'm also rereading a beloved book by Laura Dave called The First Husband.

  4. You read interesting books, Melissa! And I'm impressed by your experiment.

    I've just finished Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier and I can't stop thinking about it. The sensory details are so lush and perfect, you can see and smell and taste seventeenth-century Holland. I needed a break from reading humorous MG and this was perfect.

  5. Fascinating to hear about your reactions to what you're reading. I've been reading lots of MG, but maybe it's time to expand. :)