Monday, February 1, 2010

The History of Love

Hello, February.

Oh, how I love this time of year-- when the calendar turns from snowy, contemplative January to lovely and hopeful February. When local businesses tape paper hearts in their windows and Duane Reade starts selling those awesome red sour cherry balls (Laura, you know what I'm talking about.); elementary students craft Valentines boxes, Be my Valentine, Charlie Brown plays on network television, and I have a solid excuse to sit in my apartment all weekend making glittered hearts with colored paper. I love it.

I'm just going to jump right on the bandwagon here with two of my favorite bloggers (and friends), William and Jennifer, and start off February with a "love" post. A love post and a commitment to more love posts for the next 14 days. A Valentines post, you might say.

I have long been a fan of the 'two person book club'-- something I started with my dentist a few years ago. He recommends a book for me, and I for him, and then we talk about those books during my next appointment as he polishes my molars. It works pretty well, but he has a clear advantage on the talking portion of the club.

Well, since Dr. Silver Fox D.D.S. (not his real name) introduced me to this fine pastime, two-person book clubs have sprouted up all over, sometimes without even any real recognition. Alison and I host them regularly (Mystic Lake in Palm Beach, hello), and my entire department at work recently finished Happens Every Day, and you KNOW how much I have to say about that book.

The greatest part of two-person book club is that you don't have to host those high-pressure wine-and-cheese meetings every other Tuesday. You don't need a menu, or a Cabernet, or a babysitter (well, I never need a babysitter, in fact i AM a babysitter! But you get my point.). You just need a friend (or dentist) to call whenever something awesome or terrible happens in the book you are reading. It's nice to have someone there to agree with you when you're disappointed in a character, surprised by a plot shift, or simply enjoying a sentence.

It's helpful to have someone to challenge your conclusions and support your opinions. And if one of you doesn't finish the book-- who cares! You can give lame excuses for your tardiness in finishing like "Shut up, I've been busy!" and only ONE person will be upset, not an entire room. You can even quickly move along to another club without the added guilt of six women in twin-sets glaring at you over their Camembert. (Do I have a skewed view of book clubs? I think its coming from Tom Perralta's description of them in Little Children?) Anyway. 'Two person book clubs are-- in general-- just a good idea.

This month, William (look- he posted about two person book clubs once before as well!) has joined me in the honorable quest of finishing 'The History of Love' by Nicole Krauss for a February edition of two-person book club.

I've actually only just started the novel (shut up, Will! I've been busy!) but I've already fallen head-over-heels for this book. Krauss falls in line with Jonathan Saffron Foer as only the second author to actually make my heart expand. Like, physically expand. And guess what--she is MARRIED to Jonathan Saffron Foer and their writing style is shockingly similar. They were actually rumored to be working on The History of Love and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (my favorite novel of all time) at the same time. Maybe they discussed plot twists in bed and chatted about their characters over cereal. You might even say that in writing these two novels, Krauss and Foer had their OWN two-person book club! Moving on...

The book is fantastic. And I'm somewhat convinced that it was written just for me (see, this is why I am a good candidate for a two-person book club. I need someone like Will to tell me that statements like that one are complete nonsense). Here's a taste:

"Even now, all possible feelings do not yet exist, there are still those that lie beyond our capacity and our imagination. From time to time, when a piece of music no one has ever written or a painting no one has ever painted, or something else impossible to predict, fathom or yet describe takes place, a new feeling enters the world. And then, for the millionth time in the history of feeling, the heart surges and absorbs the impact."

I'm completely smitten.
Happy February, all :)


Jen Pasko said...

Sarah a beautiful ode to the season. I am joining a two person book club our first novel is the Help. I can't wait to add your book as it seems like a morsel of loveliness. Miss you and continue to relish on the things you love this february as it is a reminder to me how gorgeous life is!


Caryn O' said...

Sarah, I am a one person book club following your two person book club.....History of Love - ahhh wonderful - have you finished? I would not want to ruin anything with premature comments. I read it while in Las Vegas with Dan – the City of Love right (or is that City of Lights…)

Happens Every Day - I am not sure how I feel about this book...I was not ready to forgive Josiah at the end, and therefore have not accepted Isabel's epilogue. I still need to process through the betrayal. Hmmm…I guess that is a sign of a really good book - I completely felt her emotions and pain.

Looking forward to hearing what you are reading next. Until that time I will revert to historical fiction and books on how to avoid raising serial killers…

Sarah said...

First of all, next time you go to Vegas with Dan I want an invite.

Secondly, I am SO glad you've read these books! Did you read An American Wife? Its historical fiction (historical as in the 80s), and you have to read it. It's juicy and fun but also super interesting and thought provoking. And its about Republicans.

Miss you, C! Come visit NY soon!

Caryn O' said...

Ugghhh An American Wife was so...easy. I saw it as a cheap marketing ploy for a book that was not very well written. So, we are 2 for 3...

Sarah said...

hmmmm, I agree that it was easy, a very fair point. did you read My Life in France?