Sometimes I go through reading cycles. I will tear through 3 short print books in a row, or I will juggle a print book and an e-book, or I will read a print book and listen to an audio book. I’m very much a mood reader, so my type of reading always changes. Lately, I’ve been back on simultaneously reading a long print book and listening to an audiobook.
I just finished listening to Emma Straub’s The Vacationers in an effort to make it feel like it’s summer and I am on a beach in Mallorca. The story was fun and quick. I understand the mass appeal and why people gobbled it up last summer. I think I listened to it in under a week–usually to and from the subway, on the train, and for the last 30 minutes or so, while running on the treadmill. The plot was fine, the characters morally ambiguous and annoying enough to feel real, and the setting provided a tropical prison that the characters, as well as myself, felt lucky to have been locked into. Straub’s writing was just okay, but there were pockets of wonderful observant prose. Here are two:
“They had chosen to make the leap and, having leapt, were delighted to find that the world was even more beautiful than they’d hoped.”
““A good swimming pool could do that—make the rest of the world seem impossibly insignificant, as far away as the surface of the moon.”
Currently, I’m making my way through the absolutely mammoth, but stunningly beautiful, IQ84 by Haruki Murakami. Clocking in at 1157, my paperback copy has made my bag much heavier this week. It’s my first Murakami book and it absolutely won’t be my last. His writing is breathtaking yet clinical; intimate yet distant; inquisitive yet withholding. Murakami feels like a conductor leading an orchestra of words–hitting all the right notes, hiding the majority of the effort, leaving the ending a beautiful enigma. I’ve been annotating my book like crazy–trying to unravel the mystery he’s woven–and I am always excited to return to it, even when my eyelids feel impossibly heavy. It will probably take me another two weeks to finally finish IQ84, but I’m not really in a rush. I’m enjoying the dual narrative and the slowly unfolding dystopia and just the experience of reading this book. Here’s to already planning what Murakami book I’ll read next.
And this morning I started listening to Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians, which I’ve heard pretty great things about. I’ve gotten through barely anything–just the prologue and a little bit of chapter 1–but I am really enjoying the story already. The writing is fun and has already caused me to smile/half-laugh in public a few times. Crazy Rich Asians is also about the culture (or, really, a subset of a culture) that I am more or less ignorant of. I’m hoping to listen to more on my subway ride home, because I’m already hooked like crazy.
* * *
What are you reading? Do you prefer print, e, or audio books? Do you ever read a combination of the two or three? Have you read any of the above books? Did you like or dislike them? Let me know in the comments!