Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Be Happy 2014. Read a book.

So far, my first mission of happiness has been a delightful success.

In honor of awards seasons (the most wonderful time of the year), here are the awards given out for the books I managed to read this month:

Best book that reminded me why my favorite author is my favorite author:

MaddAddam. During this really stupid webinar I listened to this afternoon about marketing strategies, the guy leading it said, "use a photo instead of text. Unless you are Margaret Atwood, your text will never be as good as a photo." Its true. This world she has created are sad and terrible, but I can see them. I know what they look like. Read all three books in the trilogy and think about the world we have created. Then be sad but also happy because good books make people happy and then go ahead and be kind of angry because you will never be that good, but be grateful that someone else is. Margaret Atwood makes you feel all the emotions.

Best book written by someone who once borrowed my hoodie:

The Shining Girls. I spent a Jan Term in Cape Town, South Africa. We had an amazing guide who told us where to go drink and told us to stop referring to it as "Africa" because it made us sound like assholes. After we got back to New York, we became facebook friends (as you do in 2005) and I was able to keep track of how successful she was at just about everything. This is the first book of hers that has been published that I have actually gotten to read, and it is about Chicago, which is always fun. It was gruesome in parts, to the point that I had to look away but worth the journey. Anyway, we went up Table Mountain and it was cold and so she borrowed my very loved Juicy Couture velor hoodie. And then she wrote a book.

Best book that kept me up at night (that was not worth it):

The Bloodletter's Daughter. The problem with the Kindle is it is too easy to buy books for 99 cents. I do not even have to carry them anywhere or open a box or anything. I do not think this book would have made it past the first page flip in a store, but with just the touch of the screen, boom. Anyway, this book is full of crazy historical business that I had never heard of before. Apparently some of it is true and I know I had heard the name Hapsberg before, so I will take it. The history nerd inside me paired with a nasty bout of late-nap insomnia resulted in me staying up until 2:30 finishing it. It was not worth it. The time would have been better spent on Pinterest, but whats done is done.

Best book that mentioned someone I know by name:

Meaty. This also gets an honorable mention for making me giggle on the train. Samantha Irby is amazing. I should have already known this because she is good friends with some of my favorite people. It is a big bummer that the name drop was not wonderful and happy but more sad and wistful. It was real just like the rest of the book. It was real, everything about it. Funny real, sad real. Samantha Irby is a delightful human being and now that I have made her laugh once in real life, I hope I get a chance to do it again.

Best book that makes me so sad I can barely breath (again):

And the Mountains Echoed. It is no Kite Runner and it is no A Thousand Splendid Suns, but even this bronze medal winner in Khaleed Hosseni's "also by the author" list is still so wonderfully sad and good. Kite Runner, while I am comparing the three might have actually been too sad. It was sobbing on a train in Brooklyn sad, which makes me, and the three gentleman on my train car very uncomfortable. This was a more comforting sadness. It nearly perfectly matched my dreary January mood. Nothing would ever be nice again and this book just proved it to me. His sadness makes me inexplicably warm though. Cathartic sadness for January.

Best book that kept me up at night (that was totally worth it):

The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I am trying very hard to train myself how to sleep on airplanes. Nearly every flight I try to force myself to sleep sitting up so that eventually I will be able to do it for six straight hours. Our flight to L.A. last Friday we almost did not make it, but we did so we celebrated with a drink and some complimentary oreos (hey, yo!) I also was reading this new Neil Gaiman and had considered trying to squeeze it in before the end of the 31st, but decided a training nap was more important. Just kidding. This book was my everything. It was perfection. It was the real-ist fairy tale made for the most child-like of grown-ups. Read it immediately. It will take you exactly one flight from Chicago to Los Angeles (a flight you should be on anyway becaus it is awful winter up in here).

This experiment turned out perfectly. Six books in four weeks is what I should be averaging and I am so happy that I managed to luck out with five amazing ones and one that only cost 99 cents (and was not actually thatbad). I only missed The New Yorker just a few days ago when someone mentioned David Sedaris had a new piece, but beyond that I have not even thought about it. More books in February, but something else too...

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She's pint-sized and amazing.