I began October by attempting to read Salman Rushdie’s latest, Joseph Anton. I had a really difficult time getting into it, however. It’s not that I didn’t like it, Rushdie is one of my favorite authors. I recently saw him speak, and he’s such a genuine and fascinating man. He’s a writer, however, that requires a lot from me. You can’t half ass Rushdie because you miss a lot if you aren’t paying attention. So I ended up putting it aside for later, and picking up some much lighter fare.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
By lighter, I did not mean any less emotionally devastating. The Fault in Our Stars is young adult fiction. A love story about two kids with cancer and it will end you. It ended me. It was a very quick read, and I do admit that there were some bits about it that were too… cloying? But I do think that’s because I’m 27. What I’m trying to say is that it’s written honestly. Green does a pretty good job of capturing that cloying angst-filled hope adolescents are prone to. In my 27 years, I’ve aged to about 80. I look at kids and think, “Harumph, youth!” And I did find myself doing just that at some bits, but overall I was taken away by the urgency of young love that’s made even more urgent by the looming promise of death. I cried, long and hard at it’s ending.
“I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is inprobably biased toward the consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed.”
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
I read a large portion of this book a while ago, but never finished. There are lots of things I like about it, but as it moves toward the end I never felt necessarily invested. Riggs uses vintage pictures to add to the story, and while I like that, I do feel the writing had the same feel. They were pictures, but lacked exposition. It is interesting, but I was never compelled into the story. I like the mythology here, a lot, and because of that I’m sure I’ll visit the upcoming sequel. I mean, it wasn’t bad. I just wasn’t captured, and I like to be captured.
“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was. Likewise, I never imagined that home might be something I would miss.”
This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
There are a lot of things I liked about this book. It’s a series of short stories, one of which we visit throughout the length of the book. They’re about love and, more poignantly, infedelity. Mostly it focuses on men, and the hurt they inflict, not just on women, but themselves. I think as a women, especially a Latin women, you recognize the charicatures here. I can clearly see my dad and brothers, the way they were raised and that rampant hyper-heteronormative-monster-masculinity that does no one any good. I love the bits of Spanish further emphasizing the cultural connection. Words like zangano, and especially that frustrated “Ya!” It makes the whole book a real treat, as well as incredibly depressing because men are the worst, and I mean that in the best way possible.
“In the bag at my feet I have his clothes and I wash them all together with the hospital things. For a day he will smell of my job, but I know that bread is stronger than blood.”