Here’s a new thing that I’m going to start doing: posting more things regularly. A while back, I had been writing about what I had been reading during the week on Fridays. And then I stopped. Fridays tend to be not-the-best posting days for me since Thursday nights are not-the-best writing nights for me. So, now I’m trying Wednesdays. Let’s see if this works.
I’ve lately been on a real tear when it comes to reading books. Last week, I was in such desperate need of a new non-fiction book that I went to the Barnes & Noble by my office. I don’t generally shop at Barnes & Noble because I prefer to give my money to independent bookstores, like Word, but I was leaving on a mini-trip the next day and wouldn’t have time to get there. I picked up The Psychopath Test and Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down.
I read The Psychopath Test first. And very quickly. It took me like 24 hours. Because it’s very good! I have friends who’d read it and raved about it when it came out two years ago and I’d been meaning to borrow it and then I never did. And I hate borrowing books anyway because I’m such a…psycho, I guess, about taking care of my own books that it’s too painful for me to carry around someone else’s book knowing that I could potentially maim or ruin it. Anyway, I read The Psychopath Test while at my friend Gerilyn’s house in Quogue with 24 other people. Reading a book that makes you think about whether everyone is a psycho is an interesting experience while you’re around a ton of people you don’t know on an overnight trip. Also, I had to explain what the book is about approximately 89 times because everyone kept asking me. I tried not to get frustrated though, because none of them knew that that’s one of my pet peeves. (The book is about…ugh. Just read the synopsis on Amazon. It’s by Jon Ronson so you already know it’s good.)
I started Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down immediately after I finished The Psychopath Test on the LIRR. I had read parts of this book on The Awl a while back and was immediately drawn in by Rosecrans Baldwin’s account of his year and a half in Paris as an American Francophile. I found that I could relate to a lot of it. I spent almost four months in Paris during the same period (September-December 2007). I remember well what it was like to be excited almost every day just because I was walking around Paris. I also remember well what it was like to be completely unable to shake the feeling of being foreign and doing everything wrong, even when I thought I was blending in or doing things right. Reading a book that allowed me to experience those emotions again was kind of exhilarating. I was sad when I finished it. I wish Baldwin and his wife had stayed in Paris a little bit longer. I wish I had stayed in Paris a little bit longer.
I’ve now moved on to Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. It’s a young adult fantasy novel that heavily features dragons. I’ll let you know how I like it when I’ve finished.
In terms of reading things around the internet, there have been only a few things I’ve really liked (or had time to read in full) in the past week or so. “Murder By Craiglist” by Hanna Rosin (in The Atlantic this month but available online) really stands out. She investigates the Ohio murders of several middle-aged white men by another middle-aged white man, who had found his victims by posting an ad on Craigslist for a farm caretaker. Her motivation for writing this story is really interesting and I won’t spoil it by explaining it here.
And I hope that maybe one of these other things will strike your fancy:
Funny: I Want to Make Love to You Like in the Movies by Josh Gondelman (McSweeney’s Internet Tendency)
Beautiful Essay About Family History: Knight of the Swan by Molly Minturn (The Toast)
A Celebration of T.I.: The Making of T.I.’s “Trap Muzik” by Insanul Ahmed (Complex)
An Introduction to a Feud Between Famous British Literary Sisters: “A Narrative of Jealousy and Bafflement and Resentment” by Katy Waldman (Slate)