breaking hearts

Can I geek out for a minute or two or seven?  No?  Fine, this is my blog and I don’t need permission.  I’m going to let my inner-nerd take the keyboard and write whatever she pleases until the moment comes to hit ‘publish.’  

Words are simple magic.  Type and write and scribble and scratch and then, okay, perhaps delete a little because that wasn’t quite right.  Slowly but surely, the white and empty page is transformed into something that didn’t exist just 1 minute ago.  Inspiration took the void and created something that, with any luck, is universal and touching and going to make the world just a bit better. 

Does that sound like a lofty task for literature?  Perhaps, but I’ve read two books back-to-back that have made me swoon and sway and laugh-out-loud and want to hug the author.  Can we make ‘hug the author’ a new rating status on Goodreads?

These descriptions of broken hearts demonstrate the talent required for ‘hug the author’ status:

“Something in her had wanted to call 911, to whisper into the phone, someone’s heart is breaking in apartment 8C.  What a silly thought.  The police could never keep up with it, with all the breaking hearts behind closed doors of New york City apartments.  There were a thousand ways to imagine someone unhappy and so few ways to imagine someone contented.” – Anna Quindlen

“In bed that night I invented a special drain that would be underneath every pillow in New York, and would connect to the reservoir.  Whenever people cried themselves to sleep, the tears would all go to the same place, and in the morning the weatherman could report if the water level of the Reservoir of tears had gone up or down.” – Jonathan Safran Foer

I don’t always feel this way about writers– I’m a picky reader and refuse to finish anything that doesn’t impress or inspire after 50 pages.  I wondered how normal it was to toss a book you’re not loving, and I found this graphic on GoodReads:
Do you finish what you start, or are you all-too-happy to toss something you’re not enjoying?  Image
I nibbled some delicious (4-ingredient) PB&J cookies from SkinnyTaste as I read. Cookies and books is a pretty dynamite combination, right?

16 thoughts on “breaking hearts

  1. I’m glad you loved Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close! So well-written. Most of the time I finish what I’m reading unless I’m just so bored or hate the main character so much that I can’t be bothered. I usually give a book fifty pages too, to decide if it’s worth continuing.

  2. Those descriptions of broken hearts really are ‘hug-the-author-able’! I’m always in awe of people who come up with such unique ways to express something that’s been written about so often before.
    And I try to finish books that I start. But life is too short for that – if I’m not enjoying it or it’s not challenging me or serving some sort of purpose, why finish it? Then I put it down. 🙂

  3. if it’s a book, i usually finish it no matter what, but i have been known to stop reading if it’s horrible. and as a kid, my mom always made us finish our dinner no matter what, so i have that engrained in my head, as well!

  4. I love your take on the power of words. In some sense, that is what is both most exhilarating and most frustrating about writing. When you are able to take somewhat random and scattered thoughts meandering through the space between your ears and transform those into a cohesive story or idea, it is pure magic.

    I try to be patient with my books. I have read some books that are over too soon, and others that I wish would be over sooner. Sometimes it’s the ones that drag on that help me appreciate the others. I like to broaden my horizons, which both reading and writing certainly allow me to do. And yes, I’m a guy. And I’m not ashamed to say that I have had that ‘hug the author’ moment on many occasions 😉

  5. Not all books are excellent, and I won’t continue reading every one just because I’ve started. But when you do stumble across sentences like those–sentences that thrill you to the very tips of your toes–that’s what makes reading worth it. I love the power of the written word.

  6. Wonderful post! I have not finished many a book due to not being impressed. Need to donate those as they are taking up valuable space on my bookshelves! Yummy cookies!!!!

  7. I LOVE Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close! We read it for one my English courses when I was in college and I fell head over heels for it. I’ve never read Still Life with Bread Crumbs, but that means there is another book to add to my list. 🙂 I would say 90% of the time I finish a book once I pick it up, but sometimes a book is just so incredibly boring or stupid I can’t stand it. Sometimes if I start a book I’m not wild about I start reading a second book and just take long breaks between reading the first book.

    P.S. Those cookies look delicious.

  8. I loved,loved your second paragraph, and loved everything else! 😀 I have always wanted to read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but never got around to it. I think I am going to have to get around to it. And soon, very soon! Lately I have been having the hardest time finding a really good book, I think that Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close could remedy that. When I don’t really like a book, for most of those reasons shown in that graphic, I don’t finish it. Unless its for school, I never force myself to read a book. Unless, its a slow part in a book that is ultimately wonderful. Then I force myself. 🙂

  9. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on the situation) I’m a finisher. I have a hard time quitting a book – so I’ve forced my way through some horrible reads.

  10. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close– this book is raw and Oskar won me over right away. I’ve not seen te film adaptation, given my deep enjoyment of the book. Have you or will you see it, Jennifer? There was a time when I felt it necessary to complete what I started, but then it sunk in that life need not be spent reading books I don’t dig.

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