The Things They Dropped
I'm going to write about Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, and if you knew that and read the title I guess you'd think I didn't like it. But it's not that way at all, that's just something I typed and don't much mean... a lot of that going around, but I enjoy myself and the dogs get fed so really who cares?
I borrowed the book from Mollie, she loved it. I'd read the first section in school, but I don't remember which one. It was either the end of high school or the beginning of college. I took so little from it that I'd guess it was high school, but I'm not sure my undergrad days deserve that much credit.
I loved the book for about 65% of it. Then he lost me. He lost me in the section where he talks about which parts are true and which aren't. I don't think it was a bad piece at all, in fact it's the sort of thing I usually like a lot. It seemed to me to be something you might find in a Kurt Vonnegut book (although I'm not sure if you would or not) or something I might wish I'd written. But I don't.
I think it comes down to this: If I know a book is true it means more to me. If I know a book is fiction it doesn't matter because it becomes its own little universe in my own little mind and it's as real as it needs to be while I'm reading it. So that's great, too. But here I wasn't sure what was true and what wasn't and it didn't matter because it was all true to me. Then he tells us what's true. And I lost my real-world-meaningfulness and didn't have enough time left to generate any fake-world-meaningfulness and I was left with a shortage of meaningful, well, ness.
I read the book lying on my floor, two dogs lying near me (they seem to love it when I lie on the floor, if I do situps or pushups they immediately crowd around and lie there, their schnozzles and tails adorably in the way), ripping CD's to my computer to enlarge my own personal jukebox. Every time I finished a section or a CD finished ripping I'd do some situps or pushups or whatnot. I got a lot of dog hair on my face.
I (and that's 6 straight paragraphs that start that way) think I liked reading it as much as anything I've read in a very long time. Kavalier and Clay was excellent. I'm not sure what else, I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but I've had a shortage of impact books lately.
Doug's thoughts on nothing in particular