Friday, December 21, 2012

Read: Let's Pretend This Never Happened & Cloud Atlas

I recently spent the better part of my travel time to Texas reading "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" by Jenny Lawson. Nothing makes a long day spent in air travel and airport waiting areas better than having a good book to read, and I lucked out because this one was thoroughly enjoyable. I'm sure the reason I had so much personal space in the airport waiting area was because of all my snickering and head shaking. Also, I disturbed my neighbour on the plane more than once by accidentally snorting out a laugh. Maybe it was a case of 'right thing at the right time' because I really related to this book. Some examples:

- Jenny is from Texas, and considering I was on my way there, I thought it was serendipitous.
- There is a rather fun account in her book about a flight she was once on. Again, couldn't help laughing consider where I was.
- Her OCD behaviour reminded me a lot of myself, which at first I thought was charming and cute but ended up being a bit alarming once you see how paralyzing it was for her socially. I seriously felt bad for her at points; I think it endears you to her though.
- Her chapter on working in an HR department was insightful and hilarious.
- Her affinity for cute animals and tendency for theatrics (chupacabra!!!). A girl after my own heart!

I considered waiting to read this with my book club, but realized that we didn't meet regularly enough for me to get a chance to dig into it any time soon. So, as per usual, my impulse control struck again and I devoured the book in less than two days. I'm glad I didn't wait, it was just the thing I needed to cleanse my reading palette.

As a point of contrast, I started "Cloud Atlas" by David Mitchell right after the Jenny Lawson book. I tried to justify that sometimes it takes time to switch from one narrative style to another but I just could not get into it. I wanted to read it before I went to see the movie; I generally like to be able to see how a film vs. book stacks up, much to the chagrin of the person watching the film with me. The book is broken up into chapters that each represent separate/connected stories within the book. I found it difficult to get through the first story, it felt unnecessarily detailed and dry. I felt like I was missing the point that the author was trying to convey; or perhaps I was giving him too much credit that there actually was a story underneath all that minutia? I held out knowing that the writing style/subject would change in the next chapter, but unfortunately I liked the next story even less. Halfway through the chapter I skipped to the third 'story' and subsequently gave up on the book altogether. I'm a bit ashamed of myself for ditching the book so soon. I'd love to know what others thought of it. Was it engaging? What of the different writing styles? Was there a 'payoff' in the storyline that would make it worth revisiting?

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