This weekend I started reading The Year of Magical Thinking, a memoir by Joan Didion. It sounds hopeful and whimsical from the title but one page in you will realize this is a book about grief.
I actually knew this going in and I decided to read it anyway. For me, a woman with a curious blend of sunshine and brood, this is an unlikely choice. On the one hand, I tend to want the books I read to be life-giving in an obvious sort of way (sunshine). But I am also capable of work myself into an irrational, breathless fear over nothing. I have a tendency to imagine grief-filled scenarios on my own (brooding).
In high school I once wrote in my journal, I’m in the mood to be depressed. Who says this? Someone who doesn’t need to be reading sad books, that’s who.
Still, I’m learning to be intentional about choosing books to read that I may not at first be naturally drawn to and then giving them a fair chance as I read. It seems like the healthy, grown up thing to do.
I haven’t been able to put this book down, sneaking in paragraphs during commercials and lapses in conversation. She tells her story in an immediate and honest sort of way, pulling out ordinary details to describe her unthinkable reality.
To see grief and loss through her experience is for me fascinating, heart-breaking, and strangely comforting. I haven’t finished it yet so it could take a turn, but so far I would recommend it.
Have you read a book you were surprised to enjoy? Or not enjoyed a book you thought you would? Tell us in the comments so we can edit our book lists.