Reading Lately

I stopped keeping track of the books I have read; instead I have been indulging in the art of words. I just nestle into stunning lines, like:

"The Nakano Thrift Shop" by Hiromi Kawakami:

"Masayo took the banana in her own hand and peeled the rest of it. Her gesture was polite but — just like Mr. Nakano — she had a messy way of peeling the banana."

"Mr. Nakano seemed to me like the kind of person who said wild and random things, but when I saw what a surprisingly brisk business the shop seemed to be doing, I wondered if maybe it was because he simply inhabited this very recklessness."

"Whenever this customer dealt with Mr. Nakano or me, his taciturn and fastidious mien never even cracked."

"The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion:

"I began. I cleared a shelf on which John had stacked sweatshirts, T-shirts, the clothes he wore when we walked in Central Park in the early morning. We walked every morning. We did not always walk together because we liked different routes but we would keep the other's route in mind and intersect before we left the park. The clothes on this shelf were as familiar to me as my own. I closed my mind to this."

"I did not yet have the concentration to work but I could straighten my house, I could get on top of things, I could deal with my unopened mail.

That I was only now beginning the process of mourning did not occur to me.

Until now I had been able only to grieve, not mourn. Grief was passive. Grief happened. Mourning, the act of dealing with grief, required attention."

"On takeoff he held my hand until the plane began leveling.

He always did."

"I remember trying to calm myself by seeing it as a Hitchcock movie, every shot planned to terrify but ultimately artifice, a game."

"all about love: new visions" by bell hooks:

"Cynicism is the great mask of the disappointed and betrayed heart."

"Affection is only one ingredient of love. To truly love we must learn to mix various ingredients — care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment, and trust, as well as honest and open communication."

Moved by characters knowing characters; people being known, not overlooked. I wonder how much more we would appreciate someone if we knew how much they knew us. In writing we get to see the inside thoughts and feelings of a character, sometimes unhindered. We see what they notice, how connections reveal themselves. With Didion, I loved how she seamlessly went into tangents, connects them — and shows us the vortex, tells us to see it, and then we realize we were going along with her into the vortex the whole time. Movement with words, like a conductor moving the intangible. 

Reading how characters know other characters gives me hope that it is possible to have those connections. That it's possible for genuine knowing and understanding in relationships. It feels safe when you are known. You don't have to overexplain, justify, or maintain your being. It's not about a person knowing your next move, it's when they hear the unspoken, they see what's behind the spectacle. 

"Very strange indeed — everyone in this shop, Masayo shrugged her shoulders. Takeo let out a whoop of laughter. I joined in, at the same time, but only laughed a little. I thought to myself, it's been a really long time since I've seen Takeo laugh so unguardedly."

Currently I am trudging my way through The Hobbit, still (hehe). I am also reading Green Frog by Gina Chung. I still think about Sea Change often and Chung's characters in Green Frog often linger in my head as well. Her writing has such an affect on me.

Visit my Goodreads page for more recent reads.


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