Thursday, May 13, 2010


Sometimes I pick up a book and the experience of reading it is like sitting by a window in the late afternoon sun--I feel a warmth and light fold over me and illuminate all of my little dark hidden places and spill into my cracks and crevices until I feel full of contentedness and clarity and peace. I so very much love when that happens. And then, sometimes, that floating feeling frustrates me and I hate the book for making me so happy. I start wondering how it can be that I didn't write it. I start wondering if I am ever going to write anything even remotely in the same league. I start wondering if I'll ever make it past that first sprint of inspiration that comes like the first flush of life and then vanishes, like a ghost. I start wondering how the heck the author manages to make every single sentence so sensationally profound.

After dragging my weary mind through the thousand-page behemoth Infinite Jest, which I picked up after hearing about David Foster Wallace's suicide on VPR (and only later learned that it is very highly regarded and has an almost obsessive cult following), Norman Rush's Mating is more than a breath of fresh air. With the turn of every page, it is like I'm rediscovering myself.

I realize that's quite a statement, but I love books that remind me that reading can simultaneously be pleasurable and intellectually expansive. I've felt this way before, with Wallace Stegner and Tom Robbins and Robert M. Pirsig and Simone de Beauvoir (and others...), and I usually go out and buy up all of the books new favorite authors have ever written and plough through the pages like my life depends on it. Which it doesn't, quite. What my life does depend on, however, is keeping up a steady stream of these literary love affairs from now on.

Oh, by the way, this is what I wore today:

(dress/socks: TJMaxx; scarf: thrifted; shoes: Marshall's; necklace/headband: UO)

I'm so so pale! I look like I've been living in a cave for the past couple of years. Oh wait, I have... cubicle::cave, same idea.

Recommended Reading
(in case anyone is interested)

1. Crossing to Safety - Wallace Stegner
2. Mating - Norman Rush
3. Fear of Flying - Erica Jong
4. The Mandarins - Simone de Beauvoir
5. Prague - Arthur Phillips
6. The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera
7. Suite Francaise - Irene Nemirovsky
8. The Garden of Eden - Ernest Hemingway
9. Tender is the Night - F. Scott Fitzgerald
10. Skinny Legs and All - Tom Robbins


  1. wow I've never read ANY of these and I consider myself a fairly well read person, but considering I have four months to read to my heart's content these are definitely on the list, thanks so much

  2. the unbearable lightness of being is one of my faves! i'll have to check out the other ones you listed...

  3. thanks so much for the list. I've been looking for good books to read this summer and I looked them all up and they all sound very interesting! Thanks again.

  4. love the outfit, especially the velvet dress and socks. Thanks for the list of books, there's so many books i want to read at the moment but then i havent found quite the right one that really jumps out me.

  5. Thanks for the suggestions! I just got Garden of Eden!