Tag Archives: Hanya Yanagihara

The People in the Trees: Reading While Anxious

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I’ve had some things going on in my life. Some major life things, or Life Events, or what-have-you. As a consequence I’ve been really, really good at not falling asleep, and fretting, and ruminating, and considering pro’s and con’s. I’ve been really, really poor at reading an entire novel. So between the start of March and now I’ve read things that made space for my fleeting focus (which isn’t to say these things don’t require focus, only that I was only able to muster focus for a fleeting period: half an hour in the bath, twenty minutes on the bus): Alice Munro short stories, re-reading for the hundred million-th time the Beverly Cleary Ramona series and starting and then dropping a sequence of novels that in another time would have had me captured (Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad is the most unlucky in the lot – I made it a third of the way in, put it down for a week of fretting, and when I returned could. not. recall. what I had already read and so abandoned the whole project. Even though I recognized in the first third that it was an excellent novel. I digress). A side question for you then is what do you read when you’re anxious? Or unable to focus?  Continue reading

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Filed under American literature, Fiction

A Little Life: The Best Thing You Will Read. Emphatic plea for you to read this book.

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It’s been hard to write about Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life. Hard to find words for how affecting I found the novel, how much I appreciated it. I really, really, emphatically, as loud as I’ve ever claimed it, think this is a brilliant novel. It’s not worth it to have best lists, I get it. But if I was someone who kept best lists (okay, I do) this one would be near the top. I can’t think of a book in recent (or any?) memory that has lived so fully in my mind, has occupied such a significant place in my thinking while – and after – I was reading it. Note I didn’t say “enjoyed” – it’s a hard story to live within, and you really will live within it (and for days and weeks after you finish it – it’s still following me around). It’s a long book, but you won’t notice the length, except maybe the anxiety of realizing you only have half of it left, the worry that eventually the last page will come. It’s a book that wants you to feel deeply and succeeds through masterful – truly – narration and character development in making you feel so. much. Continue reading

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Filed under American literature, Bestseller, Book Club, Erin's Favourite Books, Fiction, Prize Winner