Currently I'm a librarian and before that I was an archaeologist, a journalist, and definitely a bit of a world traveler. I tend to mostly read science fiction and fantasy, though I do love a good mystery and I'm a bit of a book dabbler overall. I've been doing Goodreads for awhile, but a friend thought I might enjoy this as well. Let's see, yeah?
I’ve found that it’s easiest not to listen to complicated books at work. I get too caught up in the story and slow down or else I get caught up in the work and get confused as to what happened in the story. The solution is to either listen to things I’ve already read – such as Haruki Murakami’s Sputnik Sweetheart, this week – or to listen to regular fiction. No mystery, no intrigue, no tension ramping horror (because if you miss a step on that tension ramp it can all just fall apart), no intricate worlds or futures – like Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments, which I finished today.
I loved Sputnik Sweetheart as a read novel, despite its lack of action and ponderings about romance. I love the voice of the narrator and the way he thinks about life, his isolatedness and his deep friendship with Sumire. The reader for this audiobook, Adam Sims, does his voice perfectly. I hope that guy does more audiobooks for sure. With this listen-through, I’d forgotten the sexual nature of the book, but though that could be somewhat uncomfortable (especially at work!) it fits the theme well. Like many Murakami novels, it’s the surreal aspects that seep into normal life that make it the most interesting story, though. I have a lot of theories about what happened with that ferris wheel ride and about the disappearance… I love how his stories can work on multiple levels.
As for Attachments, that had another great reader, Laura Hamilton. I highly recommend her collaboration on Bruiser! Anyway, another great voice for this story, though I was surprised at first that a book primarily from a guy’s point of view would be read by a woman. It makes a lot of sense, though, because I wonder if his thoughts really more align with what the love interest would have wanted a guy to think about, rather than what a typical guy would? He’s pretty much set up in opposition to how most of the other men in the book think about women.
I spent much of the book trying to decide if he was really sweet or really creepy – since he is hired to read “inappropriate” e-mails at work and warn or flag people, stumbles across Beth’s, begins to enjoy her words, then fall for her through his electronic eavesdropping… All without her knowledge. It’s a bit stalker-y, you know? But we also see that he is a really nice, caring guy and that he’d be a good match. I wasn’t sure how this book would turn out, but was greatly relieved when they started addressing that this wasn’t really cute, that it wasn’t really right… Of course, that added to the tension of whether the two would ever meet and actually want to date or whatever, but by the time that happened it mattered less whether they did or not. Because, yeah, while the set-up seems to be unabashedly a romantic comedy movie (characters even reference this) it’s also very much about introvertedness and social awkwardness and learning to grow up. It doesn’t matter if he never meets Beth face to face, or if he falls for another girl. We’re following his journey from a wounded, insecure man into someone who realizes he can be liked and loved and can make it on his own (though, honestly, it would have been nicer if he hadn’t apparently been super hot, unknown to him). We’re following his journey into confidence and that really just makes for a feel-good novel. Basically, it was the perfect thing to listen to at work. The end was maybe a bit much for me… But it was fine.
At any rate, after hearing this novel and reading Fangirl, I’m really impressed with Rowell’s explorations into introversion and social awkwardness. I like that her characters learn to make lives for themselves and to carve out happiness and socialness that works for them. Perhaps it seems like Lincoln changes a lot in this book and becomes much more social, but I really think what we’re seeing here is him moving away from depression and fear and becoming confidence in his ability to have friends.