When It’s Late and You Can’t Sleep… What Better to Do Than to Talk about Books?

Even though I still have a month and a half before Fall term begins, it is quite shocking that summer has gone by so quickly. I have put my 1000-words-a-day writing regimen on hold as I finish up a summer course at the university, but hopefully I will have time to write again in a couple of weeks. But for now, my days have been spent lounging around, writing down solutions to tedious problem sets and reading. As for the latter activity… I’ve fallen behind on my David Foster Wallace reading, but I’m still working my way through my summer reading list that seems to be growing faster much faster than my reading rate. It’s nice to know that there’s a queue of fantastic books awaiting my attention, though. :) I have been lying in bed for the last two and a half hours, unable to sleep due to a bad bout of back pain (which happens to be the same pain that had me writhing on a hospital bed until they pumped me full of painkillers a few months ago), which seems invincible to Tylenol, Advil, Meloxicam, etc. Yay. So! Seeing as I’m still in pain and I’m bored of laying in bed thinking about random things to try to keep my mind off the pain, let’s talk about books!

Paul Auster’s The Brooklyn Follies

I found this one in a used bookstore when I was looking up novels by Paul Auster. This one looked interesting, so I picked it up along with City of Glass, which I read earlier this summer. I very much liked both of them. Paul Auster has this way of twisting and toying and playing with your expectations until you no longer trust yourself to even have expectations. And then after that, your only choice is to keep reading and plunging forward without so much as a hint of what will come next. Because no matter how many hypothetical subsequence scenes you can think of, Auster will present you with the one you never thought to consider. It’s a pretty incredible ride, reading Paul Auster, and it really is quite incredible the way he never, not once, gives into the reader’s expectations. Cool stuff. It’s a nice read, too. Not brain-straining like Infinite Jest, though I still love David Foster Wallace for all his insanely long sentences infused with (sometimes unnecessary) details and scenes that make you laugh your donkey off at the most terrible situations. Anyway. The Brooklyn Follies. It’s fantastic. If you want to read something entertaining that explores relationships between friends, family, lovers, and in-between-ers and the changes that utterly human characters (there really is no other way to describe them) endure through unexpected happenstances, read this novel.

Nicole Krauss’s The History of Love

During the spring quarter of my freshman year, I took a fiction writing class. We read quite a few short stories, but the one that stuck with me the most (or one of them at least) was “The Last Words on Earth” by Nicole Krauss, which was apparently an edited version of a few excerpts that she took from her novel The History of Love. Since I absolutely loved the short story, I figured the probability of loving her novel was rather high. So I put in on my book list. It was amazing. Just absolutely amazing. So amazing, in fact, that I recommended it to several friends. A couple of them actually picked it up an read it and then we had a lovely book chat about it. (Mixed reviews: One friend loved it. Another said it was alright.) It’s the story of the influences people have on each other without realizing it, and even though you know how it’s going to end the way you know that boy-meets-girl is followed by boy-falls-for-girl which is followed by girl-does-not which is, in the end, followed by boy-gets-girl, it’s still worth the read to find out how beautifully Krauss navigates us from point A to point B. She has this mastery of language that is absolutely beautiful and makes your heart melt. I mean, when you read the line, “Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering,” how can you do anything but say aloud, in the station waiting for the 5 o’clock train, “Awww” and clutch your chest, your eyes drooping at the corners a la begging puppies? Point is. I love Nicole Krauss. I want to read her words over and over until I have memorized every line she has committed to paper.

I was also going to talk about Stephen Chbovsky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but it’s nearly 1 am and I must wake up in six hours. So I should probably get back to trying to fall asleep in spite of my back pain.


~ by thechanster on 12:47 am, Friday, August 7, 2009.

One Response to “When It’s Late and You Can’t Sleep… What Better to Do Than to Talk about Books?”

  1. Great site, I now have you bookmarked to come back again.

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