Thursday, February 25, 2010

I read, I feel, I babble...

You know what...I've given up all notions of ever being able to write anything resembling a review. I'm done with even half-hearted attempts. I've accepted the fact that I can't write a book summary, and I sure can't analyze a book to save my life. Though I very much enjoy reading others talk so beautifully about books, I just. can't. do it. And frankly, it makes me miserable when I try. But I love reading. I tend to experience books on such an emotional level, and I seem somewhat incapable of transferring it to an intellectual level. I feel like I should apologize, but what's the point in that...I am who I am. And being who I am, I'm just going to go with it...and share my experiences with reading. In which you'll probably learn nothing about the book itself. So yeah, please feel free to skip my is far too short.

So, here's what I've read over the last few weeks:

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. The first time I read this book I was about 14-years-old, the second time I must have been in my early 30s, but it's only now in my mid-40s, with my third read, that I've really fallen in love with this book. Don't get me wrong, I've always liked it. A lot, even. But, and I'm not quite sure how to explain it, this time something deep inside me clicked. It may sound sort of pathetic, but I think I relate better to Holden now than I ever have in the past. Obviously there's a lot of differences...we're at drastically different points in our lives, we live in different times, etc. Yet I've never quite felt that disconnect with the world that Holden does quite so profoundly as I do now. I don't have a problem relating with people on an individual level in the way that Holden does, but when it comes to the world at large, well, I can't help but feel sad and angry and helpless. And I sort of can't help but sometimes wish for innocence.

Sheesh, I am pathetic, huh?!!

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness. I asked Chris if I could just copy and paste his thoughts here, but unsurprisingly, he said "no." ;) So instead, I'm just going to take this opportunity to thank Patrick Ness for a few things...

...for going to the hard places, and making me go along.

...for characters so real that I experienced love. And I experienced hate. And often I experienced some garbled up combination of the two.

...for black and white and oh so many, many shades of gray.

...for unexpected tears.

Carnet de Voyage by Craig Thompson. OMG. This book is soooo cool! Seriously. So. Cool. And it reminds me so much of the travel journals I keep myself when I travel. Really, it does. Well, with a few minor exceptions, that is. Like a.) Craig Thompson is a far better writer than I am--funnier, more interesting, more insightful--that sort of thing, b.) he visits more exotic locales than I do, and c.) his travel journal is filled with tons more incredibly gorgeous drawings than mine are ('cause...well...mine have none, not even horribly drawn ones). But other than those few things, you'd really be hard pressed to tell them apart. ;)

Other random thoughts circling around in my head:
>Awww, he drew so many kitties.
>He may have killed my long-standing desire to visit Morocco. But he seriously has me wanting to visit Barcelona.
>He's sort of a wimpy traveler, just like me. ;)
>In fact, he reminds me of me in so many ways. Like this snippet: "But then once again, my CHAOS TOLERANCE is overloaded. I have trouble breathing..." Or this one: "I'm happy & sad & naive & deluded & insecure & egocentric."
>Thank you again, Ana!

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. You know, I've sat down and tried to write about this book four times now. And I just couldn't the words out. I still can't. But I wanted to at least mention it...because it's an amazing book. A powerful book. A book I wish everyone would read, though I realize most people won't, for a myriad of personal reasons.

Oh, something I did learn...I love the way Jonathan Safran Foer writes, and am now more eager (and a little less afraid) to dig into some of his fiction.


  1. First, I want to say that emotional thoughts about a book is a wonderful thing to hear about! You don't have to summarize or analyze a book to review it well.

    Second, I had no idea Craig Thompson had written anything other than Blankets and Chunky Rice! I am definitely going to check out this other book!

  2. give me a break lol.. I know I can't review properly either so I give you amazons review and just say if I liked the book or not! That's all I can do so tough titty said the kitty but the milks all gone! that's all you're gunna get! LOL..
    You do fine Debi... geez lady. hugs

  3. You know, Debi, I read book blogs in order to find out poeple's emotional reaction to the books they've read. I can look up the book summary online if I'm curious (and really, I'd rather go into a book blind), and I've *never* been into intellectual analyses of novels (some nonfiction, sure, but at college-not on blogs!). So, I think the way you talk about books is perfect. Just sayin'.

    I popped over to my library and put Carnet de Voyage on hold, because it sounds awesome! I desperately want to learn how to draw, or at least sketch, so that when I travel, I can sketch in my travel journal. But I'm SO BAD at art, I'm not sure where I'd even begin. lol

    I found it really, really difficult to review Eating Animals too. In the end, I didn't really review it, I just shared quotes that I hoped would make people think about their eating choices. It also made me so, so upset and angry and sad and disgusted. *sigh* I actually haven't been able to reply to the comments on my post, because I'm worried I'll get too worked up and not sound diplomatic. It did make me go back to eating vegan, though! Honestly, I was so nervous of the deprivation when I decided to go vegan for four months last year, and then it ended up being so easy for me that I stayed vegan until finding out about my gluten intolerance. I think it'd be MUCH harder if I had kids or was a picky eater, but pretty much I eat more veggies and fruit and use guacamole instead of cheese in my Mexican food! lol But then, I'm just eating vegan-I haven't given up my wool or silk clothes. Anyway, I hope I don't sound self-righteous or anything! I'm just happy that this book gave me the push I needed to go back to my vegan diet, because eating is so much more joyful for me when there's nothing in the back of my mind worrying about animals.

    You know what? I should really just e-mail you instead! LOL

  4. We just love to hear what you have to say. I am really pleased you enjoyed The Catcher in The Rye. Unfortunately for me, it left me cold.

    I loved The Ask and The Answer though.

  5. I agree with you on The Ask and the Answer. Such a wonderful, wonderful book!!!

  6. My favorite books are the ones that get to me on an emotional level, and then I find, ironically, that those are the ones that are the hardest to write coherently about because it's so hard to pin down that particular intense way it made me feel, so I think I can sympathize a little with your plight! It's so much easier to review a book I can separate from feelings, but that means the reading probably didn't have anywhere near the impact!

    I love travel journals - writing them *and* reading them, so it sounds like Carnet de Voyage is one I'll need to check out!

  7. I love reading your thoughts on those books you read, Debi! And I must get Carnet de Voyage (as well as the other one) by Craig Thompson because I loved Blankets so much!!!

    I have yet to read Patrick Ness's series yet, but am glad I've all the books in my pile! LOL.

  8. I don't think I've actually done a job of describing what a book is ABOUT since I started blogging. Manda laughs at me for it all the time, in fact :P. So, I, for one, am thrilled to read your feel-thinks :). I haven't read Eating Animals, and I frowna lot when I think about reading it, but I might read it eventually. But, if it makes me vegan, I'll starve! I already muck up dinner and have to cook it twice half the time! Now I'll have TWO dinners to muck up! :D

    PS - Eva, it's not like I was diplomatic in my comment to YOU. I actually keep blushing and considering deleting it :). And most other folks agreed with you :).

  9. Jason, I've already told you, don't worry about! :) And Teresa agreed with you, and maybe a couple others. ;) You raised very valid points re: our f'ed up agricultural was some of the other comments that make my blood pressure rise a bit. Not yours-promise!

  10. Oh, and part of why I'm avoiding replying to the comments is that I tried to have a civilised discussion with my dad (who's my polar opposite...he actually adds meat to his dish of anything I cook & he hunts & all that stuff), and I ended up bursting into tears and sounding like a small, petulant child. Which I hope to avoid doing in the blogosphere!

    And now I'll stop hijacking Debi's comments. :D

  11. Amanda,
    Obviously, it's really different from Blankets, but I loved it. In a very different way. :)

    You don't give yourself enough credit, lady! Seriously.

    I'm so e-mailing you about this book as soon as I have more than five minutes. There's just so much I want to say. I sooooo get what you mean about the bursting into tears and sounding like a petulant child. I get the exact same way about the things I feel most passionate about...thus I end up not talking about them at all for fear of doing more harm than good. :(

    I really can see why The Catcher in the Rye wouldn't appeal to a lot of people. Like I said, this was the first time I felt it truly, truly resonated with me.

    It's not easy waiting for Monsters of Men, is it? ;)

    Yes, yes, yes!!! That's exactly it!

    Oh, you are in for such a ride with the Chaos Walking books! I hope you can get to them soon. :)

    If Amanda laughs at your "reviews," she undoubtedly laughs at mine, too. :) But the big difference between us--even if neither of us actually do a typical book review, you do talk quite intelligently about *something*, whereas I stumble and bumble more or less incoherently over words and then eventually just hit the damn "publish" button.

  12. I read Carnet de Voyage a few years back and loved it. Such great art and an enjoyable look at that part of his life as well.