Day 009 – Ordinary Life

When I finished reading ‘Beautiful World, Where Are You’ by Sally Rooney, I had two thoughts on my mind:

(a) I wanted to read more by her

(b) This is exactly what I had once imagined writing about

Finding beauty and meaning in the ordinary and everyday of life. Pondering about things which don’t seem worth pondering over. Examining my feelings in all their ridiculousness or ugliness and fearlessly putting them out for the world to see. Needless to say I never did get around to doing most of that. I have occasionally written blog posts that I dare say have brushed the tip of the iceberg but that’s about it. I just haven’t had the guts or the passion to be ruthless about my feelings and experiences to be able to do anything even close to what she has done with this book. I can’t say of course how much of the book comes from her personal experiences and how much is her imagination. But either way, it’s a damn fine job.

I imagine there has been many authors who have written in the same style of prose as she has done but I suppose this one captured my attention because I found it so easy to relate to the characters and their situations. The things they worry about, the way they think about themselves and their lives, their flaws and their frustrations, all of it. The book has no plot, no quotation marks for speech text, entire chapters dedicated to long form email correspondence and I found it all heartbreakingly beautiful. The only thing that really surprised me was the happy ending. I fully expected it to be a completely miserable ending for all involved, just like it so often happens in reality. But it’s fiction after all, and would not have been much of a beautiful world if there wasn’t some semblance of happiness for the characters.

Last night, I had a furious internal debate about whether I should start on another one of her books or take a break and read one of the other ones on my list. Having loved one of her books, there was a genuine worry about whether another one would live up to my expectations. A quick search of the reviews set my mind at ease about that worry. The next thought was that if I started binge reading the books, I’d overdo it and not enjoy it as much. Ultimately, the impulsive side of me won and I found myself buying ‘Normal People’ which I did not know had been adapted into a TV show. I read a few pages last night until sleep took over me. Read quite a bit in the day today and so far I think I liked ‘Beautiful World Where Are You’ slightly better because of the life stages of the characters. I can understand the characters in ‘Normal People’ but it’s like looking back in time through a telescope. The writing is still excellent and I look forward to a great reading week.

I don’t really do the reading lists and targets thing. But this year I am definitely going to keep a record of my reading and properly look back on it when the year is done. It’s all part of my larger plan to become more disciplined and less impulsive (more on that later).

Until then, Cheers!

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