I'm not sure I've mentioned this before*, but I'm a book geek. Ever since I figured out how to tinker (a little) with my blog template, I've had a "Book of the Month" there in the sidebar. I've chosen it by looking over what I read the previous month (I keep a list--of course, I keep a list) and picking the one book that I felt really moved me in some way. (Even if, as in the case of Love and Other Near-Death Experiences by Mil Millington, that movement was almost entirely hysterical giggles.) This month, I didn't get a lot of reading done, but of the five books I did read, two really stood out, and I was having a hard time narrowing it down.
On the surface, Steve Almond and Julianna Baggott's Which Brings Me To You and Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love have very little in common. The first is a novel about a man and a woman who meet at a wedding and rather than give in to the temptation of a one-night stand, decide instead to "confess" to one another, by mail (real mail--with paper and envelopes and stamps and everything) the stories of all their previous romantic relationships and decide where to go from there. The second is a memoir by a woman on a spiritual quest--a woman who has been devastated by a divorce, among other things, who feels lost in the world--who travels to Italy, India, and Indonesia in her search for herself and for a greater sense of meaning.
Though seemingly very different, both books really stuck with me. In the end, they are both about the ways in which our experiences inform and shape who we are--and also, how who we are shapes and informs our experiences. I'm glad I read both of them and I couldn't decide which one I wanted there in the sidebar or which I would recommend more to friends. So there it is--read one, read them both. They both definitely have something to offer.
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