Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reading Outside the Comfort Zone

I've been reading outside my comfort zone, which, as it suggests, has been uncomfortable and even painful at times, but which has also led me to discover some books I wouldn't have happened on otherwise.

One of those books is The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. O'Brien is a master at capturing detail, nuance and delivering a superbly crafted story. A Vietnam war story, O'Brien goes nowhere near gratuitous violence or gory, grisly scenes, but he still manages to capture the essence of war in a way that made it impossible for me to read and eat at the same time.

Another book I discovered this week was The Hours by Michael Cunningham.
While I feel I would have appreciated the book more if I had read Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf first, I still enjoyed The Hours on its own merit. Cunningham switches chapters between Clarissa Dalloway, getting ready to throw a party for an old (and dear) friend in New York in 1980; Laura Brown, going about an ordinary day in her suburban life in the 1950's, and Virginia Woolf, beginning to write her novel Mrs. Dalloway in the beginning of the 1920's. By the end of the novel the three women's stories have entwined in a story of life, death, and the small daily events of our lives that give our life meaning.

~That One Girl

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