“But doctor…I am Pagliacci.”

Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor…I am Pagliacci.” 

d

Alan Moore, Watchmen

Moore was born in 1953, and published his first works when he was age 29.

My god, it’s Gandalf!

But what a great graphic novel. I had no idea that Moore also did The League of Extrodinary Gentlemen (which is sitting on my desk right now–I’d spotted it in the library and picked it up).

I love this paragraph so much. Interesting commentary about comedians and why humanity find them funny… because most of them are depressed and down on their luck. No one laughs when a person talks about how successful they are. Laughter is reserved for one’s failures.

“Marianne answers the door when Connell rings the bell.”

Normal People by Sally Rooney

This is pretty much something Connell would sing to Marianne, by the way.

The last line of the book:

I’ll always be here. You know that.

Don’t you love it when the first sentence of a novel connects seamlessly with the last? It gives the whole story a gift-wrapped feeling. The first line and last line of this book are like the catch that turns a string into a circle. And these two lines basically sum up their entire dynamic: Marianne will always answer the door when it’s Connell ringing the bell. She will always be here.

This book reminds me so much of my favourite book, One Day by David Nicholls. It follows the years of these two people’s lives–two people who keep coming back to each other because of an attachment that neither can explain.

First of all, the book was wonderfully written. The language was poetic without being flowery, and the dialogue felt natural. The characters were very real to me, even though not as relatable. I couldn’t really identify with either of them, but that was okay. In this story I didn’t really need to relate to either character in order to care about them, kind of like when you can’t understand a friend’s decision, but you support them anyway.

I feel that this book is not so much trying to address any issues about sexuality as simply just bringing attention to the fact that there are various different people with different preferences, but they are still just people, even if we cannot understand them. At least that’s what I took away from it. There were no heavy handed morals or judgements being handed down–just an interesting look into the lives of two people and the ones who love them.

My favourite dynamic in this book is the relationship between Connell and his mother. It was wholesome, even though they were not a wholesome family. Connell calls his mother by her first name, which I think shows the maturity and closeness of their relationship rather than the emotional distance it might initially imply.

Overall I would read this book again. This book reads like it has many layers, enough to be discovered by second and third readings. Plus it’s just enjoyable. It was not a suspense novel where you are just reading it to get to the Big Reveal, but I was emotionally invested enough in the characters to want to keep reading.

“There is no such thing as a fact.”

There is only how you saw the fact, in a given moment. How you reported the fact. How your brain processed that fact. There is no extrication of the storyteller from the story.

Jodi Picoult, Small Great Things

Picoult was born in 1966 and she published her first novel at age 26.

It’s all bias, isn’t it?

This was a great novel, by the way. I think it was overshadowed by The Hate U Give, which came out around the same time and covered a similar theme. But as always with Picoult’s books, I was very moved. Would read again.

“If you can’t afford a movie, go to the zoo. If you can’t afford the zoo, go see a politician.”

Stephen King, The Stand

King was born in 1947, and published his first novel, Carrie, at age 26.

I need to read The Stand again. Is the movie ever getting done, by the way?

“She was the reason I was a reader, and being a reader was what had made me most myself…”

Curtis Sittenfeld, American Wife

She was the reason I was a reader, and being a reader was what had made me most myself; it had given me the gifts of curiosity and sympathy, an awareness of the world as an odd and vibrant contradictory place, and it had me unafraid of its oddness and vibrancy and contradictions.

Sittenfeld was born in 1975 and she published her first novel at age 30.

I really enjoyed reading American Wife. It was a while ago but I still remember it being one of those books that I wanted to make last. You know the type. The kind of book that is not just pure suspense, but the book you take with you everywhere you go because you want to be able to pull it out and read the next bit at any moment.

There were alot of insightful and useful quotes from this book, but I chose this one because it says so much of what I want to say about reading.

“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

Bronte died at age 30.

Wuthering Heights remains one of my favourite books. One of the best gothic romances of all time.

“It feels powerful to him to put an experience down in words, like he’s trapping it in a jar and it can never leave him.”

Sally Rooney, Normal People

Rooney was born in 1991, and published her first novel at age 26.

This is exactly how I feel about writing, yet I was never able to put it into these words. Thank you.