Friday, November 8, 2013

Four Things: Fiction edition

The thing I hated most about college was that I never had any time to read for pleasure.  The thing I hated most about the executive job I had at ABC four years ago was that I never had any time to read for pleasure.  So now, I'm kind of OCD when it comes to books.  Just ask the girls in the book club I'm a part of-- they will tell you I'm the only person that's read every book we've chosen over the last four years.  Even the shitty ones.  And since I started a break up blog, it should be no surprise that I prefer to read sad books about doomed relationships.  Here are four of my favorites.
This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
I have mixed feelings about books of short stories.  It's sort of like how I feel about small plate restaurants.  If it's delicious and wonderful, I want more of it, not less.  But This is How You Lose Her will leave you completely satisfied.  Some of the stories are connected to each other, some aren't-- but they all tell eloquent honest tales of heartbreak.  Most of them are also told from the male perspective which just proves that dudes have a hard time getting over break ups too.  It's one I'd like to revisit often.  I mean, you can just tell it's going to be great from the title, right?

Seven Types of Ambiguity by Elliot Perlman
This book is probably in my top five all time favorites.  It tells the story of how one break up permanently impacts the lives of seven people.  Each chapter focuses on one character, giving you a completely different version of events along the way.  The story unfolds like an epic mystery, causing your rooting interests to shift throughout.  It's all very Rashomon.  I have no idea why this book hasn't been turned into a movie yet.  So, Ben Affleck, if you're reading this: get on it.
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
This was the most recent book club pick and one of my favorites.  Lahiri is just too darn gorgeous to be a Pulitzer prize winning writer.  The Lowland tells the story of two brothers from India whose lives take very different paths, but the fate of the younger brother effects the older one for the rest of his life.  It's a tragic and emotional story with blow offs at every turn (between siblings, spouses, parent and child.) It also gives a window into the Naxelite movement in India which was something I had no knowledge of.  This is one of those books you want to savor till the very last page. 
The Hottest State by Ethan Hawke
This book is one of my most prized-possessions.  I read it when I was fifteen, after my cousin Mitra took me to San Francisco for the day (I got to ditch school, thanks mom!) to take me to Ethan Hawke's book signing.  We're talking height of his fame, Reality Bites, Ethan Hawke.  We're talking he just started dating Uma Thurman and she was there at the book signing.  This was a pivotal moment in my teen years.  I remember exactly what I was wearing (a maroon velvet blazer, Doc Martens, Jeans).  When he signed my copy, I said to him: I hope I can write like you someday.  The book is actually really good (according to me at fifteen).  It takes place in New York City (of course) and tells the story of twenty-one year old William-- an actor (of course) who falls to pieces after his musician girlfriend breaks up with him.  It's the stuff break ups are made of.

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