Bookish (and Not So Bookish) Thoughts-March 11

Bookish and Not So Bookish Thoughts is hosted at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s a casual weekly meme where we all just share whatever is tumbling around in our bookish brains. For me it’s perfect on days like today, when I feel like writing, but I don’t have any particular subject I’d like to write a whole post about. Let’s go with bookish thoughts first and then I’ll dive into the heavier things that have been on my mind all week:

  •  I’m currently reading Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin and I’m enjoying it, but I keep setting it aside in favor of other things. It’s been more than a month now since I’ve started which gives me anxiety about not finishing it, but I’ll get there. Eventually. I blame James Baldwin. Sometimes he writes stuff that is so stunning I go back and reread it right away.
  • About a week ago I read All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven in basically one sitting after hearing several rave reviews of it. I’d write one too, but I find I can’t talk about it at all without spoiling it, so I won’t be posting one, but it was very good.
  • The other just-finished read is The Duff by Kody Keplinger. I really enjoyed this almost in spite of myself. It’s like I knew that objectively, the prose wasn’t that great, that the plot development was a little weak with its abrupt changes, but I couldn’t put it down. The characters were great and it was snarky, and just different enough to be interesting. Haven’t seen the movie yet, but I hope to go soon. From the trailer, it looks a lot different from the book, but I’ve heard some good things about it nonetheless.
  • The sad news of last week that I didn’t set out to mention, but find that I have to write about was that a friend of mine from college was killed in an accident. She and I were never all that close–we traveled in the same social circle, but never quite clicked one on one–and definitely was someone I had fallen completely out of touch with in the five and half years since we lived down the hall from each other, but I’ve been really broken up about her passing. I’ve lost distant family members to old age and various medical ailments, but loss has never felt quite like this. She was 23 and healthy and her accident should never have happened, but there’s no one to be angry at, no cause to take up in her honor. There’s just a lot of grief and this glaring reminder that anyone’s life can be taken at any time, no matter how confident and invincible we might feel on any given day. All I find I can do is try to shake myself out of my solitary work-home cycle and reconnect with the other friends left in the wake of this disaster, to let go of all the little problems and appreciate the little joys. It’s not much, but it’s the only take-away I can find.
  • A weirdly related, but slightly less depressing topic is that of photographs. I’ve been thinking more and more about experiences had with and without a camera (or camera phone) in front of my face and I’ve been conflicted. I dropped and broke my smartphone on Friday night a few weeks ago, just a few hours before I was headed out the door to a concert with friends. Instead of charging up my ancient point and shoot digital camera, I went to the show without any camera at all and really enjoyed myself. I was more in the moment, instead of scrambling to get my phone out of my pocket when the singer’s on my side of the stage, or the guitarist is jumping off of something or whatever like I usually am. And the people watching between sets without a smartphone to distract you is crazy fun too, by the way. The whole night seemed extra fun, for all that I don’t have a tangible reminder of it. Contrast that, though with freshman year of college when that point and shoot camera was pretty new and I was obsessed with capturing every moment of my new life experience with my new friends. It means I have a zillion candid shots of the most random moments in dorm rooms and on walks to Burger King and other mundane events right alongside shots of Homecoming and the big Fall Break trip. And so when I got the phone call that one of those friends was gone forever I had a stack of photos and an even bigger Facebook album with shots of her face at every angle, captured in moments I would have otherwise forgotten. So I don’t think I’ll drop the camera completely, but it’s good to remember that it’s the memory that’s most important, not just the proof of it.
  • I hope everyone else has had a better week than me! And as always, happy reading.

One thought on “Bookish (and Not So Bookish) Thoughts-March 11

  1. So sorry about the loss of someone you knew, even though you hadn’t had much contact lately. It still hurts, and reminds us of our own mortality. When I was young, my brother, three years older, died mysteriously in a jungle in Belize. He was a professor and researcher, so yes, jungles can be dangerous. But the unanswered questions remain to this day.

    And about photographing things…I love capturing the moments, and know that seeing photos afterwards helps me remember things. But sometimes, the camera can be like a scrim that keeps us slightly distant. My eldest son is a professional photographer living in Europe, and I know that he likes that emotional distance…it works for his job. But I am curious about how that affects his life.

    Thanks for sharing…and as for The Duff, I want to see the movie, primarily because of Mae Whitman, whom I have seen in other movies and on TV shows.


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