Friday, September 20, 2013

This #9

1. Arcadia, Lauren Groff
Arcadia is, by far, the best book I've read in 2013. I'm behind on reading contemporary fiction since PhD course work reading consumes most of my time during three quarters of the year. But this summer I picked up Arcadia. The first 40 or so pages were a slog for me. The language felt sticky, heavy, thick in a way that made it hard slip through the book, page to page. And then, suddenly, the language felt sticky, heavy, thick, in a way that flowed and felt like plunging myself into a river. I don't know if I've ever seen someone do such beautiful things with language. I definitely have not ever read another book that feels like what my insides feel like as much as this book does. So many of the things I've felt and thought that I never expected anyone else to understand, let alone put into language, I encountered in this book. I can't express enough my love for Arcadia. I was reading it in Colorado, in the summer, usually in my parents' backyard. One night, I was outside on my back porch, toward the end of the book, and I knew my parents were about to get home from work. And I knew I couldn't be interrupted while squeezing every last drop out of those final 50 or so pages. So I saved the end for the next afternoon when I knew I'd be alone, uninterrupted, outside in the backyard where I grew up. Because I knew I was going to cry. And I knew I needed to cry. And that I needed to make sure no one else stood between those last sentences and my blood, and the absorption process that happened after I closed the book, put it down, and looked up at the sky.

2. Welcome to Night Vale
Someone broke into my brain, stole all my random, crazy thoughts and feelings about the desert, and turned them into a podcast. That's really all I can say about this. I wish I wrote it. I did write it. In my head. Before someone broke into my brain. I know that sounds like I'm giving myself too much credit. I definitely am. Let's just say, after I listened to the first episode, I went online to find the people who wrote it to see if I could marry them.

3. I've tried all three of these in the past seven days. Biking, yoga, swimming in the sea, crying so hard my eyes were swollen shut the next morning. And all I can say is, sometimes there isn't even enough salt water in the whole world.

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