I'm happy to say I've been reading a lot lately. Most of my reading takes the form of audiobooks. I love that I now enjoy washing dishes, folding laundry and mopping floors-because that's my time to read! In the past week, I've read Nutshell by Ian McEwan, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, Loner by Teddy Wayne and One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. All of them were fascinating in very different ways.
Nutshell was a take on Hamlet, with Claude and Trudy (as stand-ins for Claudius and Gertrude) plotting to commit murder in order to be together. But the perspective from which it was told was unlike any other.
Big Little Lies helped me understand why an affluent woman would stay with a physically abusive man. The story was seriocomic and so much of it rang true (the in-fighting between kindergarten mums could have been set in the Five Towns) but the deeper message was excellent. I watched the trailer for the HBO series and it bears little resemblance to the fleshed-out, entertaining but fully human characters in the book.
Loner was terrifying and dragged me down into the world of T.J. Lane and Elliot Rodger. I realized that young people who are remorseless are the most disturbing type of villain. As an astute friend noted (Lightman), I expect the young to be good, impressionable, desirous of changing the world for the better. When killers are young, it seems worse.
I finished One True Loves most recently so that's the one that's still on my mind. The premise of the book is far-fetched. (A woman marries a man who is lost at sea and presumed dead. In time, she moves on, dates another man and becomes engaged. Then the first man- her husband- returns. She's now faced with an impossible choice.) Despite this, and the extremely quick resolution- unlikely to occur in real life-it had some wonderful ideas and quotes that I would like to write down here so that I can return to them.
1. "You're supposed to be Penelope. You're supposed to knit the shroud day in and day out and stay up every night unraveling it to keep the suitors at bay. You're not supposed to have a life of your own, needs of your own. You're not supposed to love again. But I did. That's exactly what I did."
2. "There is other love out there for me. But it's different. It isn't this. It isn't this exact love. It's better and it's worse. But I guess that's sort of the point of love between two people- you can't re-create it. Every time you love, everyone you love, the love is different. You're different in it."
I liked those concepts. I think many people assume that they're only supposed to love once, and I think it's insightful to note that the people we are tend to change and shift in accordance with the people we love (likely for better and for worse). Or perhaps- who we are at the time dictates who we love.