Where I Went, What I Saw (Part IV: The Reading)


Displaying a lack of foresight, I began last week’s trip with two books: my Intellectual Freedom Manual (a textbook for one of my courses) and Love’s Executioner by Irvin Yalom, of which I only had about 40 pages left to read. The well-meaning side of me figured I’d finish the for-pleasure book and then be forced to read the interesting but compulsory one…


I finished the Yalom book right away. And somehow the IFM wasn’t compelling. So I made a point to buy a book in Manhattan on Saturday. I wanted it to be about life in New York (sticking with the day’s theme), and I liked the gnome on the front cover of Adam Rapp’s The Year of Endless Sorrows: A Novel. I didn’t really want a sad book, so I rationalized that the title was perhaps tongue-in-cheek. Nope. The book is really sad. I liked it a lot, but it wasn’t a lighthearted read by any means. It is as much about the human body as it is about trying to make it as a recent college graduate in New York, about the deterioration of the body and mind, and about breaking points. It’s about bright futures and the cruel world. It spoke to me and my 20-something angst, and made my so-called dark years seem less dark but comparable nonetheless.

Anyway, in the book, the (sometimes frustratingly) nameless narrator moves to New York, works in publishing, and works on writing an undeniably autobiographical novel on acute knee pain and the end of the world. There is sex, there is love, there is work, there is frustration, there is self-discovery, there is friendship. And I didn’t realize until later that the author also wrote and directed Winter Passing, a movie I saw a few months ago and really liked. The book was a page-turner, a little gross at times, but unguarded, honest, and upfront.

Now back to that Intellectual Freedom Manual


1 Comment

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One response to “Where I Went, What I Saw (Part IV: The Reading)

  1. Pingback: She & Him « distillation

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