November 2nd 2018
Today I had the absolutely wonderful experience of fully and completely losing myself in a book. I grew up on nights like tonight, where I’d start reading a book, become completely invested in it, and only stop for food if I absolutely had to.
Unfortunately, as I’ve grown older and my attention span has shortened (fuck you, internet) I now find it difficult to read for prolonged periods if there are external stimuli to distract me. So, to really envelop myself in the book I put on my noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones, played some lyricless electronic music, and slid my phone across the carpet out of reach.
Then, I sat in an armchair in the living room, and didn’t move until it was five hours later. Suddenly: midnight. I don’t even want to go to sleep because I want to finish reading this book, yet I’m still over a hundred pages away.
The book, for the record, is Hank Green’s An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and it’s brilliant.
What I’ve enjoyed so much about it is that I had absolutely no idea what it was about. I bought it at lunchtime without even reading the blurb. I bought it because Hank’s brother, John Green, was one of my favourite authors growing up, so I was intrigued to see what Hank’s debut novel would be like. I had no idea on plot, genre, or anything. I just started reading.
It turns out, it’s a science-fiction book. But not really. And it’s a contemporary rom-com. But not really. It transcends genre-definition and somehow manages to be a haunting and astute social commentary without feeling contrived, preachy or taking away from what is a truly brilliant and unique (as far as I know) storyline.
There are so many lessons to be taken from it; in both its cultural message and in the craft of its construction. It teaches me that there is no predefined structure of how you should write a book, or what rules by which you must abide, and it bends the medium like nothing I’ve read before. But then maybe I’ve just not read enough.
I’m not saying it’s the best book ever to be written, but it’s an important one for me to read. And so…
Until tomorrow, if you’ll excuse me, I must go finish reading it.