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Textbook

Textbook

A delightfully unconventional read, Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Textbook is the perfect antidote to the fear about the future of America. The book's blurb reads that it is "a book about the awe, bewilderment, and poignancy of being alive." It is written in the style that a textbook you once read may have been written in; but instead of facts about the American Revolution or how not to use the passive voice, this textbook constructs a portrait of Rosenthal's life. through little snippets One such snippet:

When my life flashes before my eyes, I hope my subconscious turns out to be a skilled curator. It would be unfortunate to be stuck watching a montage of all the times I bent down to pick up those flimsy subscription cards that fall out of magazines

I found the entire book a real joy to read, filled to the brim with anecdotes that make you appreciate life. Maybe not for those readers that prefer their stories presented in prose, but definitely worthwhile. Also-- due to the highly experimental way of writing (lists, pictures, graphs, short stories), the emotional impact of some of the stories almost seems bigger. The only thing I found frustrating was that she linked some of the chapters to online experiments -- like text in a picture of the sky! Go look at this! But if you ignored those (as I did), there was joy to be found in all the passages. For example, "The Couch Experiment":

  1. Start a family
  2. On a lazy Sunday morning shortly after your first child is born, take a family photo on the couch.
  3.  Put this first photo, and all subsequent photos, in a small 3 x 5 album labelled Couch Photos
  4. Repeat one or two Sundays a year, whenever you happen to think of it. 
  5. When your children are preteens, there will be some nonsense complaints about doing the Couch Picture. Pay no attention. Proceed as normal.
  6. Observe how one day you have an album full of Couch Pictures.
  7. On the first Sunday after your last child leaves for college, take a Couch Picture with your mate, just the two of you.
  8. When it occurs to you that removing the c from the word couch is more like it, do not actually label it as such. Proceed as normal.

I keep wanting to write "delightful" because that is truly the adjective that comes to mind when I think of this book. I hope you, too, find it delightful. Rating: ★★★★

 

J

J

A Bintel Brief: Love and Longing in Old New York

A Bintel Brief: Love and Longing in Old New York