I’ve been reading again and now know why I wasn’t moved to tears when I found myself at the last few pages of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (ELIC). It wasn’t because of my strong will to not look like a dramatic fool on the train, but it was also because, I read it on my Kindle. Before you get the wrong idea, and interrupt me with your important opinion, I have to tell you just how much I love my Kindle. I love my Kindle so much that the last three books I read, was finished on it. But now that I’m re-reading bits and pieces of my physical copy of Jonathan Safran Foer’s ELIC, especially the last sentence and flicking the last pages with my thumb, I feel the tears coming.
This isn’t an argument about whether or not the Kindle changes the experience of reading a book, because obviously, it does. This is about how much more I would have cried if I had read the last few pages on a book. It’s definitely not for everybody, but what thing is? I love words and how they can move me. Not just the figurative, transportation of my physical being into any new world with new people, but also how they stimulate my brain and are able to force my whole body to react. I get giddy and restless when two characters fall in love, and will cry if someone feels pain. I don’t just read for the sake of filling my head with something to distract me from my life, but I’m one to appreciate how writers can make bracelets out of the words they have chosen to use.
I’m really late on the fawning over of this book, but I’m glad to be one of its fans. A lot of my friends read this in college, but I stopped any leisurely reading then, and as a general rule, I try to avoid reading a book at the peak of its hype. I learned this after reading Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which I didn’t enjoy as much as I thought I would. The praise, and my own experience reading it, did not mix well. I bought my copy of ELIC one or two years ago and finally, finished it. I loved it so much that I went on to read his wife, Nicole Krauss’ works, hoping to catch a glimpse of why they fell in love with one another.
I was surprised to read that she was less poetic (not to be confused with the word talented – because that is not what I was driving at), but was amazed at how she mapped and structured her novels. I was definitely not as taken to the first book I read of hers, The History of Love, as I was when reading ELIC, but I found myself feeling heavy and ponderous afterwards. I didn’t feel the need to be emotional, but I wanted to be hugged in silence for a very long time.
I continued to be intrigued by Nicole Krauss, and so proceeded to read her latest book, Great House as soon as I had finished reading The History of Love. Her novels really are intriguing, and yet I found it difficult not to compare her prose with her husband’s. I was ill-at-ease upon finishing Great House, because I felt there was this big thing missing from what I read. However, I’ve since realized, that that may have been part of the message of the novel.
I’m happy I took the time to read these. The variety of books out there, is making me so hyper. Today marks the last day of unemployment, so again, I will probably have less time to read, but I’m still going to try to finish at least one each week.