Thursday, September 10, 2009


I just finished The Time Traveler's Wife and I really enjoyed it. I found it evocative without being depressing ("depressing" is at the top of my list of things I don't want in entertainment, which, unfortunately, rules out a lot of high-quality literature). It was touching and puzzling and well-written. It's funny to me that I spent half the book tensed up and not enjoying it for fear of a bad ending because, well, there is a lot of that theme woven into the book.

I don't usually review fiction books here. But maybe that's because I haven't been reading a lot of fiction books lately. Fiction books are kind of a problem for me at this point in life. Once I start reading something, my mind is forcibly partitioned into reality and More Than Reality. As long as I'm reading the book it's hard to fully think of anything without also thinking of the book in the peripheral vision of my mind. In some ways, my life is more real to me by comparison but in other ways I'm on the outside, looking in, narrating my own life in my head in the style of whatever author has currently trapped my attention. When the style is funny, my life is a Seinfeld episode with breaks for me to step in and point out the crazy bits. When it's literary, the moments suddenly look sweeping and poignant. The running commentary in my head is self-involved and yet not involved in the present. And the characters are almost more real than the people around me, maybe because thanks to the author I have more insight into what they are thinking. I keep trying to function like a normal person but I'm obsessed to get more Story. Even my physical, literal eyes feel like they don't want to focus on anything but a page (making it difficult to supervise small children). I want to do nothing but read and I have to know what happens but then when it's over I feel terrible that there's no more and I'm cranky and a little self-pitying for some reason I can't pin down.

I just re-read the above paragraph and am proclaiming myself a crazy person.

But you get the idea. Fiction is a little too consuming to be practical.

Nevertheless, I'm attending a book club next week and the book choice was The Time Traveler's Wife. I would never have chosen this book on my own; there was too much chance of it being sad. But I am excited about the book club (and hoping we actually talk about the book!) so I went for it. It was so enjoyable. The characters were intense and compelling, shaping themselves and each other in the paradox of what they knew and didn't know. It was powerful without being moralizing. I liked how the plot fit itself together like a puzzle. I definitely recommend it, though I am not sure if it's something other people will like (but they must or it wouldn't be becoming a movie, right?). My friend who loaned it to me didn't care for it (which surprised me at first though I get it a little now), so I guess I have a copy to loan if you are interested!

Disclaimer: the language and content are not PG-13. And some would say it did end depressing, though I didn't think so. Just so you know!

p.s. My bread was nowhere near as good at the mix. It was fine, just not special. I am ready to try again but I guess I should wait until we finish eating this loaf. Harrumph.

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