The best books I read in September, in no particular order.
A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara. Good grief. I almost hesitate to recommend it, because of how intense it is, but wow, what a novel. It eats you alive. And it’s fully deserving of all of the accolades and nominations it has been raking in lately.
Stuart: A Life Backwards, Alexander Masters. A gripping, unusual biography and a riveting portrait of homelessness in England.
Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut. This is the sort of thing I should have read in high school, but I am glad I finally got around to it; so surprisingly funny in all of its bleakness.
I am really taken with this poem, by Rilke, translated by David Ferry:
Now is the right time, Lord. Summer is over.
Let the autumn shadows drift upon the sundials,
And let the wind stray loose over the fields.
Summer was abundant. May the last fruits be full
Of its promise. Give them a last few summer days.
Bring everything into its completion, Lord,
The last sweetness final in the heavy wine.
Who has no house will never have one now;
Who is alone will spend his days alone;
Will wake to read some pages of a book;
Will write long letters; wander unpeacefully
In the late streets, while the leaves stray down.
— Rilke, translation by David Ferry
I am sad to see summer go, because it was full and lovely, but I was a little bit excited to come home yesterday and feel cold and feel the urgent need for a sweater. Just a little bit excited.
Today is my parents’ 31st wedding anniversary. They are funny and weird and delightful and totally crazy about each other. Until I was married myself, I do not think I realized what a profound blessing and relational boon it is to have had (and to still have) happily married parents. We are given domestic gifts we neither deserve nor anticipate.
It turns out that I am simultaneously (a) full of ambition and (b) fabulously lazy.
We have a very busy season ahead of us (e.g., every weekend in October is currently booked with either small travel plans or house guests), and that makes the large portion of my personality that is introverted feel extremely anxious, but I have to keep telling myself that it’s always fine, or more than fine, in the end, because it turns out that I actually like people, despite what I am inclined to believe.