What I've been reading (off-line, that is):
Reading The History of Love is like having your chest cracked open.
The truth is, we would all rather recommend unknown novels: books we discovered at our own pace, in our own private wanderings. But there are reasons why some books become New York Times bestsellers, and it is no wonder to me that this book made it on that list.
This post-modern novel contains three narrators: A Holocaust survivor and occasional writer, Leo Gursky is a lonely old man, living New York and waiting to die; 14-year-old Alma Singer is a precocious young girl dealing with both the death of her father and with her mother's subsequent depression; and a third person omniscent narrator who relates the story of a little-known book called (aptly) The History of Love.
"The floorboards creaked under my weight. There were books everywhere. There were pens, and a blue glass vase, an ashtray from the Dolder Grand in Zurich, the rusted arrow of a weather vane, a little brass hourglass, sand dollars on the windowsill, a pair of binoculars, an empty wine bottle that served as a candle holder, wax melted down the neck. I touched this thing and that. At the end, all that's left of you are your possessions. Perhaps that's why I've never been able to throw anything away. Perhaps that's why I hoarded the world: with the hope that when I died, the sum total of my things would suggest a life larger than the one I lived."
The History of Love has become my go-to recommendation.
Its the kind of book that, once you turn that last page, causes a feeling of instant loss because you can never again read it for the first time.
I am, I know, years behind the trend.
This book was published in 2006, yet I only discovered it ten months ago.
But if, like me, you aren't always ahead of the curve when it comes to popular book reading...and if you have yet to read this particular novel, well, please do.
It's simply wonderful.