As a way to get myself to read and write more, I’m going to do a thing. At least this once, I’m using this space as a reminder of the really great books I’ve read over the last few months, because I keep saying “I just can’t find anything to read that I like,” but that’s simply not true. The following are three books I devoured — something that hasn’t happened in ages.
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Landline, Rainbow Rowell: Rainbow Rowell has this magical way of writing stories that feel like you’re reading your own memories. I’m feeling nostalgic for things that I know didn’t happen to me, but they’re so similar to my own experiences that it makes sense. Sort of. And since the book covers the beginnings of a relationship in college to its failings in adulthood, I think this book has a lot of those experiences everyone can relate to.
I always have a soft spot for stories unfolding within newspaper offices, and I melted a little every time Georgie crept into the production room to watch Neal work. A lot of those college newspaper moments are so much like my own college newspaper moments. *Dreamy sigh*
I just have too many words but also not enough to talk about how much I love Rainbow’s work. As soon as I finished reading, I almost turned back to page one and started again. But it was 2:45 a.m. and my bed was calling for me. Instead, I’ve been daydreaming of Nebraska, snowpocalypse, and yellow magic phones that can send me back to better times and and times of falling in love.
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Brain on Fire, Susannah Cahalan: Haunting. Susannah’s a writer for the New York Post when she starts acting a little funny. She’s paranoid about everything — bugs infesting her apartment, weird bites on her arms, everyone whispering about her as she walks by — and can’t sleep, can’t eat. An under-researched disease overtakes her brain, leaving her virtually catatonic. But then one doctor does a simple test, figures out what’s wrong, and finds the cure. She makes a full recovery.
But the months in between? Not so happy. She can’t remember a thing that happened to her, so this book is one big investigative piece for herself, about herself. She interviews her family, friends, and doctors. She gathers her medical papers. She watches the videos that recorded her while she stayed in the epilepsy ward.
I haven’t read a book like this in ages. It had me completely enthralled and terrified the whole way through.
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No One Belongs Here More Than You, Miranda July: Such a lovely collection of short stories. I’d found this book at a Borders (moment of silence, please) when I was in high school, but I only had enough money to buy one book, and I’d already made my pick. I slipped it into my list of books to read one day, and I’m glad I waited. It wouldn’t have worked for my naive high school mind.
A lot of the reviews I read essentially tossed this into a pile of “hipster slush.” Maybe I’m hipster slush. But I read it while I was feeling lost and couldn’t focus on one cohesive story. And this collection was just what I needed.
I read this months ago and, of course, can’t remember especially loving particular stories. But the general feel, of being young and pretending to have your shit together, is what sewed these stories together. That’s enough for me.