My recreational reading lately has been so tinged with guilt that it’s beginning to feel a lot like I’m back in Catholic school. Thankfully though, there’s less of the inappropriate boy stuff and more of the actually getting work done. It’s quite a transformation for me to eschew any pleasurable activity in the pursuit of work, but it seems to at least be possible these days.
My birthday present to myself consisted of a second-hand Amazon spree that considerably boosted my collection of books by this year’s favourite author Paul Auster. There are many things I love about his books, not least of all that his personal descriptions on the book jacket are mercifully brief. I can’t stand the distraction of feeling like I know the author (and yet, I devour autobiographies at a startling rate, hmm).
I suppose most importantly, I love the way he writes. I do have a predilection for male writers, whether by coincidence or a common thread of how masculinity presents itself in fiction. I certainly find more in common with his protagonists in Moon Palace and The Locked Room than I do with Bridget Jones or those supposedly closer to my demographic. More than that, I get swept up in the love he has for New York, and on a wider scale for America. His descriptive prose is an effortless digestion for me, and I’ve willing lost precious sleep to finish his novels. If I haven’t pestered you to read his work yet, then consider yourself pestered. (Lisa-Marie, the books are in the post on Friday!)
Speaking of guilt about my recreational pursuits, the other day I sat down with La Flatmate to watch World Trade Center. Having seen United 93, which hit every emotional cord possible and put me in a sort of dulled shock, I really expected this too-Hollywood version to leave me cold.
I was wrong. I know what the reviews said, and yes it was clichéd in many parts, but when something is based on a true story you can only adapt the lives that you’re handed. I didn’t find the staging to be melodramatic, how could it be after the sheer insanity of what we all saw happen. I’ll admit to being a little obsessed with the events of September 11th – it affected me then and I haven’t quite managed to shake that off yet. Even though I knew they had to survive, I still felt like I was sitting on a pincushion waiting for those two guys to be rescued. Crucially, I liked being able to walk away after watching and know that it wasn’t another chilling documentary, that what I had just watched was essentially fiction. If the film has any failing, to me it’s only that I was able to retain some detachment, unlike with the aforementioned United 93 where I had to remind myself all that night that it had been a dramatisation and I hadn’t actually watched those people plummet to their deaths.
So on that cheery note, perhaps I should go and feed the cats before they start eating my toes!