Thursday, October 12, 2006

unsettling events, riveting reading

When I woke up this morning, I could hardly get out of bed. It was a perfect day for one endless cup of tea and a stack of books. I begrudgingly got out of bed, deciding that jeans, boots and a nice sweater were perfectly acceptable. A cute cotton skirt and flats were not happening in this damp chill without a giant wool coat and I'm not willing to bust that out just yet.

So off I went to work, or rather, I began reading on the subway. I just about polished off Sarah Vowell's "Assassination Vacation" on the ride to work. Just as I entered the building a colleague who was also on the train commented on what a long ride it was today. I honestly didn't notice. I was so caught up in Vowell's delightful way of mixing sarcasm with sincerity. I'm an American history nerd and a pop culture nerd so this book was quite a treat.

I finished Vowell later in the day when I had to run an errand. I then began Suki Kim's "The Interpreter" (not to be confused in any way with the Sydney Pollack film starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn) and my colleague Nicole was right: I don't want to put the book down. I've yet to put my finger on exactly what it is about this book that makes it so downright edible. So far, it reads like noir. There's a sinister event that is just dangling in front of the reader, just out of reach, but you can smell it. And it's incredibly atmospheric and so very New York.

Given that I read even more of it tonight while running more errands and transferring from train to train to train to train to bus as it continued to rain and leak into the subways all evening. I was in an unpleasant mood when I finally arrived at Columbia to see T, but I think I was unsettled by the grimy ugliness of New York. A place where rich baseball players fly planes into buildings, and the rest of us scatter not unlike rats while underground. There is so much that is liberating about New York that the unpleasant aspects hit you like a pile of bricks when they rear their ugly heads.


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