Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Reading fiction.

I stopped reading fiction in 2004, the year I started grad school. There was so much school-related reading to do and I felt SOOO behind everyone else that I couldn't justify reading non-work related texts. That is not to say that I did not enjoy what I read for school. Being swamped with readings was by far my favorite part about graduate school. It is just that I stopped reading novels. I got so used to reading with a pen in my hand that I continued the non-fiction trend even after I graduated in 2006.

When Kyle and I were in Philly for our failed but totally awesome Honeymoon, I asked Ashley to give me a book to read. The title he came up with was Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. The book was great and so totally moving that it jerked me out of my fictionless existence and set me on a path of me more Sittenfeld, and Zadie Smith, and Richard Yates, and Miranda July, and Flaubert, and well... others.

Reading fiction is still overwhelming. Mostly, because I am in constant disbelief over how much I enjoy it and for how long I went without. It is overwhelming because there are too many authors that I have never heard of, and classics that I never read when I was supposed to (like, in high-school)... and I just want to sit and read read read all the time, but that is obviously not an option.

But I keep telling myself to calm the fuck down and stop thinking of this reading business as a competition I need to win. Instead, I just read with no order and no shame and ask EVERYONE for recommendations. And I ask you, too! When you read a good book, please remember to tell me about it.

8 comments:

  1. Good for you! That's exactly the thing that I thought was so dumb about the lame facebook list going around recently --- the notion that there were certain books that one has to read. Many of my favorite books I've come across randomly --- and I'm not sure I'd want everyone to have read them.

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  2. Oh My God! I thought the Facebook meme was terrifying! Way to put pressure on people! I do think that The Great Books are great for a reason but I also feel like there are many reasons why one chooses to read. So I am with you on not being quite sure what the point of those lists is.

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  3. Read Oscar Wao!! Read Oscar Wao!!!!

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  4. Oscar Wao is on my list, yes.

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  5. try jhumpa Lahiri

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  6. Thank you for recommending Jhumpa Lahiri, whoever you are!

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  7. Just saw this post and the mention of Flaubert... who happens to be pretty high (Top 3) on my favorite writers list.
    So I'd recommend Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes if you hadn't read it already. And then tell me what you think! :)

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  8. Thanks for the recommendation, Rossi! I added it to my GoodReads to-read list! :D

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