Friday, October 15, 2010

Everything is Illuminated

I may have just finished reading my last paperback ever.

I adore books and the adventures they take me on but they are not the most perfect companion to my travel-minded soul. So, I have purchased a Kindle - since they finally came down in price - and now I can tour with a hundred books at my disposal for those times in my life where books are perfect: waiting for band members, waiting for soundcheck, waiting for show, waiting for van, waiting in van, waiting for plane, waiting in plane, waiting for sleep, waiting for sunshine, waiting for rain. Books fill the gaps in my life that would largely be otherwise terribly mundane.

BUT - before that sparkling new era begins I must briefly reflect on the book I just completed, Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer.

I was recommended this book by a friend. I'm not sure which one because I ask almost everyone interesting that I meet what books they love and I add it to an ever-expanding list on my phone - a highly recommended pass-time.

I'm not into publicly deconstructing books because I think reading them is a very personal experience, but what I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed it and it now comes recommended by me - which is a pretty awesome thing in itself! Haha.

Here are a few passages which stood out to me. Don't worry, they won't give away any mystery the book contains but they will give you an idea of where it can take you.

"This was the world in which she grew and he aged. They made for themselves a sanctuary from Trachimbrod, a habitat completely unlike the rest of the world. No hateful words were ever spoken, and no hands raised. More than that, no angry words were ever spoken, and nothing was denied. But more than that, no unloving words were ever spoken, and everything was held up as another small piece of proof that it can be this way, it doesn't have to be that way; if there is no love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it heavy walls, and we will furnish it with soft red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweler's felt so that we should never hear it. Love me, because love doesn't exist, and I have tried everything that does."

"God loves the plagiarist. And so it is written, "God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created them." God is the original plagiariser. With a lack of reasonable sources from which to filch - man created in the image of what? the animals? - the creation of man was an act of reflexive plagiarising; God looted the mirror. When we plagiarise, we are likewise creating in the image and participating in the completion of creation"

"And this is what living next to a waterfall is like, Safran. Every widow wakes one morning, perhaps after years of pure and unwavering grieving, to realise she slept a good night's sleep, and will be able to eat breakfast, and doesn't hear her husband's ghost all the time, but only some of the time. Her grief is replaced with a useful sadness. Every parent who loses a child finds a way to laugh again. The timbre begins to fade. The edge dulls. The hurt lessens. Every love is carved from loss. Mine was. Yours is. Your great-great-great-grandchildren's will be. But we learn to live in that love."


  1. My top 3 fav books:

    "Grab on to me tightly as if i knew the way" - by Bryan Charles

    "The perks of being a wallflower" - By Stephen Chobsky

    "I play the drums in a band called Okay" - Toby Litt.

    If you ever read all three, you'll get a sense as to the theme of them and why they have my heart as much as they do.

    Let me know if you ever read them.

    when i was 22 I did my OE in Ireland and i must have carried around 300 Cd's with me and added to that while I was away. now they all fit into my ipod, but there's still something about having something tangible to hold that an MP3 doesn't give you... same with books and kindle. If i go travelling again, I'll get one, because it makes sense... but I'll always love the worn out copies of my favourite books on my shelf a little more.

  2. Awesome - thanks so much for the recommendations.

    I totally know what you mean about the physical attraction of books - the smell and almost romantic notion of them will always have a place.

  3. Yeah, as will album covers and liner notes.