mmm, so, the monthly recap did not get written over the weekend (clearly), but, in my defense, i was still (am still sorta) recovering from a bad sinus cold. i'm also going out of town tomorrow for an overnight trip, so shall we say march books will be up by thursday evening? yes? ok!
last week, i read michel faber's the book of strange new things (which is easily one of the most beautiful books i have laid my eyes upon) with a friend on instagram, and we finished over the weekend. i spent the last 50 pages sobbing my eyes out because the oasans had burrowed their way into my heart to an extent unbeknownst to me until i started crying and could not stop, and the book has sat with me these last two days, which i dare say is a pretty good thumbs-up as far as an endorsement of the book goes.
i particularly appreciated how faber wrote peter (the main character and the missionary to oasis) -- faber wasn't judgmental of peter, even when peter really started exhibiting the more gnarly parts of legalistic christianity, but neither did he try to soften the edges and try to make peter more "likable" (for lack of a better word). i liked that peter was human even in the ways that he internalizes his faith; he is so many legalistic, self-absorbed christians i know and have grown up knowing; and, in many ways, i found the book of strange new things to be refreshing in its presentation of faith, while also being fascinating for not having a particular slant either way. peter is who he is; faith is what it is; and it is up to the reader to make his/her own judgment.
(or maybe this is me being sensitive to faith and expecting disparaging views toward faith and religious people in books [and pretty much everything]. there is also that.)
themes i respond strongly, viscerally, emotionally to in books: loneliness, siblings, loss.
tonight (monday night), i went to hear jennifer weiner who gave a talk titled "how to be authentic on social media" as part of pen america's DIY series. this shall be the write-up from the talk because i wrote down exactly three things:
- weiner made a defense for twitter as being a place where writers can practice, to try out new things and essentially get feedback because followers will respond so you can get a sense of what works and what doesn't -- and i wrote this down because i don't particularly agree with this.
- emily gould (who joined weiner in conversation after the talk) likes birds and knows about birding! (i did not know this!) she likes people best then cats ... then birds are somewhere there.
- gould said she agreed with about 98% of what weiner said about twitter but disagreed with about 2%, part of which was that she thinks that it should be okay for writers who aren't comfortable with twitter not to be on twitter (and with which i vehemently agree).
weiner was exactly as i expected -- funny, personable, gregarious with lots of digs directed at franzen -- but, ultimately, i am a non-[public-]tweeter, and i find all this "if you want to be a writer now, you have to be on social media" thing immensely discouraging. but neither does it compel me to get on twitter ... however, i am an instagram fiend, and i think that's quite enough.
the 2014 vida count is out and ... what can i say about it that hasn't been said yet.
i'm going out of town tomorrow for an overnight trip and am looking forward to it, to hopping on a train and getting away for thirty-six hours. i'm taking flannery o'connor's the habit of being (her letters) with me, and i like how blunt she can be -- or i suppose "blunt" might not be the right word, but o'connor doesn't necessarily play in niceties, and i appreciate that.
i should end this here and pack or something, but i feel like lingering. i'm feeling a bit soul-weary tonight, a little lonely, and i'm thinking that maybe i should reread something because i'd like to sink into an old friend, seek out the comfort of something familiar and warm and safe. what to read, what to read -- i guess we'll see what my heart lands upon on friday!
have a great week all! and, if you're in the nyc area, enjoy spring!