“Five Children and It” by E. Nesbitt. This book was fantastic.
“My Grandmother Asked me to Tell you She’s Sorry” by Fredrik Backman. My sister gave it to me, with some other books, saying “I liked this one” which is not a resounding endorsement of the others, but I’ll get through them eventually I guess, mostly to get them off the footstool in my living room. I read the 1-star reviews on Amazon, which was actually good in this case, because they gave me the idea that if I pushed through the first 100 pages or so it would get better. Those first chapters were too twee for me, but once things started happening this was a good read.
“Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace. I’d always meant to read this book, just maybe not now. When I accidentally made it active on the library website and it started shipping to me immediately, I was stuck. My strategy normally is to get through a chapter or two every day because I’m afraid if I put it down I might forget who everyone is. There was no point with this book. Some characters you wouldn’t see for like 200 pages, which is ten hours of reading, since I could only read about 20 pages per hour. And I never read 10 hours in one day. Or one week, to be honest. Except for the weeks when I was desperately trying to finish this book before it was due at the library.
There are amazing moments in this book. The scene where Hal is cutting his toenails and describing finding his father’s corpse, that was brilliant. The scene where someone (forget who, female) explains to her therapist that depression isn’t about sadness, it’s about horror, that struck a chord.
I still tried to read some every day, usually before bed. I thought this might improve my sleep, since the internet keeps telling me that spending too much screen time right before bed is bad sleep hygiene. I did not notice any improvement in my sleep.
About 200 pages from the end I realized this wasn’t going to wrap up nicely, since it was becoming endless fever dreams of Gately in hospital. And while I had been wondering what had become of him, maybe I didn’t care as much as DFW did. I cared more about Hal. I suppose I’m satisfied with his resolution, since I feel like his demise was no real fault of his own. There wasn’t one of those horrible moments where he made some absolutely unconscionable choice.
So that’s over.
“Akira” by Katsuhiro Otomo (vol 1). I knew Infinite Jest was fat. This one surprised me with its girthiness. I picked them up from the library on the same day, and well, it was a grim walk home. It didn’t take that long to read. Someone else had listed all six volumes as one book point, but considering that I also read Infinite Jest, I think anything longer than 40 pages counts as a book for the rest of the year.