Thursday, April 8, 2021

Better than Fiction

  

Life long reader here. Convinced that most people who "don't like" to read just haven't found the right book/s for them yet. One of my greatest joys is the art of selecting a specific book for someone. Really, my love language is gifting books. 

I'm a lover of all genres, but of course not all books are made equal. In fiction especially, it's all too common for a book to start strong and captivating then fritter into something less than cohesive or enthralling. A story that loses its grip and becomes a thing I want to rush through in order to get to the end.

Because I HAVE to get to the end. I've always been this way with literature, despite the fact that I've walked away from sooo many false starts and half done's in all other areas of life. It's strange, but I feel indebted to the author somehow. I imagine the tremendous sadness of a novel discarded and forgotten. Pushing through is sometimes rewarded with a twist at the end or a spectacular finish, but not always. 

 

Unlike my reading habits, I want my life to be interesting until the bitter end. I want it to be unusual, wild, free, and captivating in all its bleak and best moments. I can't settle for anything less. This life simply can't be rated a 3/5 on Goodreads. I need the absolute consistent freedom to change my mind and my course at any time- even if all it goes is delay some inevitable destiny.

"Joy is not made to be a crumb."  

-Mary Oliver

Unlike a work of fiction, I don't imagine a grandiose or even succinct ending. Just a finite string of interconnected moments and discoveries, a story that begins and ends in an infinite middle rather than some standardized arc with loose ends tied up in an unrealistic bow. I want my life to read and feel like poetry rather than narrative. 

"Even more than bread we now need poetry, in a time when it seems that it is not needed at all." 

-Leon Staff

 

In this strange and uncomfortable era of COVID I've dived deep into apocalyptic literature. I've always been interested in sci-fi themes, but somehow reading about the end of life as we know it has become comforting in both a comparative and preparatory way. 

A few of my absolute favorites:

Station Eleven by Emily St. Mandel 

Severance by Ling Ma

Everything Matters by Ron L Currie Jr.

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

Desert Notebooks: A Roadmap for the End of Time by Ben Ehrenreich


*Photos from Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada*

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