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Mirkat

Mirkat Always Reading

I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.

Currently reading

The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults
Frances E. Jensen, Amy Ellis Nutt, Tavia Gilbert
Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain (Audio)
David Eagleman

Colin and Hassan go to Gutshot

An Abundance of Katherines - John Green

"Delightful."  That's the word that comes to mind when I think of this book.  I listened to the audio version, and it helped me get through a mindless task at work.  Stuffing envelopes.  I can feel my brain dying during a large mailing, unless I can give it something else to do, like listen to a good audiobook.

 

Colin has been dumped by his 19th Katherine (though his 19th Katherine is also his first Katherine, so there have actually been 18).  All of his girlfriends have had the name Katherine, as his "type" is linguistic rather than physical.  Colin was a child prodigy, but now, having just finished high school, he fears he'll never "matter," as it doesn't seem that he'll transition from prodigy to genius.

 

His best friend Hassan suggests a summer road trip to help Colin heal from his latest break-up.  The first attraction Colin is interested in visiting is in remote Gutshot, Tennessee, where signs claim the Archduke Franz Ferdinand (whose assassination spurred the first world war) is buried.  Taking the tour in Gutshot unexpectedly leads to a summer job and a place to stay.

 

If this book were a film, I'd call it a "buddy picture."  (It should be a film, by the way.)   Colin spends much of his spare time working on a theorem that is meant to predict who will dump whom in any given romantic relationship.  He believes that most people are either predominantly "dumpers" or "dumpees."  Colin sees himself as firmly belonging to the "dumpee" camp.

 

Ultimately, this book shapes into a narrative about stories and storytelling:  why stories are important and how to construct a story effectively.  Colin, with his nearly perfect recall and wide-ranging interests, has trouble filtering out the parts of a narrative most would find extraneous.  One of Hassan's roles as his best friend is to interrupt him with "NOT INTERESTING" when he turns his focus to one of those details that are only interesting to Colin himself.

 

This is a book that I only kind of stumbled on because I saw it mentioned so often on Goodreads in one particular thread I was following (it's a "word game" thread, so it was fairly random).  I am so glad that I did.  Curiously, I realized that I've already read (or technically listened to) a book by the same author:  Looking for Alaska.  I will definitely give his other books a try.