I feel like I had about 1 free hour to consume media this week, but somehow I read/watched/listened to enough stuff to make this very short list. I haven’t managed to actually write anything in, um, weeks. Please don’t give up on me! I promise I’ll be back to writing some longer pieces soon. For now, here are five things I liked this week.
1. “A Young Adult Author’s Fantastic Crusade to Defend Literature’s Most Maligned Genre” by Kathleen Hale (Nerve)
2. “It’s Raining” by Irma Thomas
This song felt…appropriate this week. Today, especially.
3. “The Trials of ‘Entertainment Weekly’: One Magazine’s 24 Years of Corporate Torture” by Anne Helen Petersen (The Awl)
4. “For Hire: Dedicated Young Man with Down Syndrome” by Michael Bérubé (Al Jazeera America)
5. “Lean Out: The Dangers for Women Who Negotiate” by Maria Konnikova (The New Yorker)
It was my turn to pick the book for book club this month and I chose Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I’d been hearing great things about this book since it came out earlier this year, but I rarely turn to young adult fiction when I have unread, uh, adult fiction on my list. I have to read something if we’re reading it for book club – except when I tell myself that I don’t have to finish a book if I really hate it, which was the case with The Orphan Master’s Son this year – so I really picked it so I would have an excuse to have to read it.
I read Eleanor & Park within 24 hours of buying it at the bookstore.* I imagine I would have devoured it with the same speed had I read it as a teenager. It made me feel like a teenager again. I saw a lot of my younger self in the main characters, especially Park – confident in a limited way, smart but still naive. There were a few aspects of the book that didn’t totally jive with me, but they didn’t get in the way of how much I enjoyed the experience of reading it. (Really, my biggest complaint is that I wanted to know more about the minor characters and their pasts, which is not such a bad thing.)
I would recommend this book to anyone who can stand reliving what it’s like to be young and maybe in love. Eleanor & Park is worth it.
*When I shop for books in the real world, I go to WORD in Greenpoint. I saw Rowell’s latest, Fangirl, on the shelf there next to Eleanor & Park and I’m looking forward to picking it up to read over my holiday break.