The History of Love

by Ellen in


I really love to read books. All kinds of books--art books, history books, fiction, nonfiction (depending on the subject, I guess), lame-o Nicholas Sparks books, historical fiction (they're probably my second favorite). I like to read anything. I used to HATE reading. I would NOT do it for school or anything else. It was horrible. I remember the during the summer before 4th grade, Nana and I read the Giver out loud to each other so that I would actually do my summer reading. She was a first grade teacher for 21 years...I'm sure it killed her to know that I hated to read. But she always got me to do it. Anyway, I really didn't start reading entire books until my senior year of high school. WHAT? You say. But Ellen, you went to ST. MARY'S. Wellllll, I was a good skimmer. I got most of the high points of things like Peculiar Institution and Heart of Darkness. But I think I picked a GREAT year to start reading whole books. Here are some things I read during my first year of actually reading books:

(It all started with) The Poisonwood Bible
Angela's Ashes (subsequently 'Tis and Teacher Man. How can you not love Frank McCourt?)
The Things They Carried
All Quiet on the Western Front
Crime and Punishment (this is my favorite book. I've read it about 12 times)
A Tale of Two Cities (we were supposed to read this in the 9th grade with Mrs. Ray, but I wasn't really reading then, so I picked it up in the 12th grade with Mrs. Ray. Don't worry, I confessed everything to her)
The Brothers Karamazov (If Dostoevsky wrote a Dictionary, I'd read it from cover to cover)
Some Shakespeare
Lots of things by Henrik Ibsen
The Communist Manifesto
Faust

Since then, I have branched out. In my adult reading life, I have a few that will never leave me: The Pillars of the Earth, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Name of the Rose, The Agony and the Ecstasy, The Book Thief. Golly, how good are these books? Just thinking about them gets me all riled up. They are epic stories just FULL of carefully chosen diction and punctuation. Nothing gets me more excited. I LOVE words.

Right now, I'm reading a book that Heather lent me a long time ago. I admit that I'm just now getting around to reading it: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. OH MY. I'm only half way through it, and it's just beautiful. Heather and I share this weird love and compassion for all people in the world who were affected by the years 1933-1944.

Elie Wiesel has only published about 1/3 of the words he has actually ever written. He is known to so carefully choose his words that he considers most of them superfluous. Could you imagine Night being 2/3 longer?

Whenever I am reading a good book, it makes me think of really good sentences. I love it when a good sentence pops into my head, you know what I mean?