"I love but I get sad"

Photo in a bookstore

Photo by Darwin Vegher

Dear Reader,

Hi there! I’m Ariane, the new marketing assistant intern at Ethos Books. This past week I’ve been adjusting to working from home, which has meant negotiating desk space with a tower of books that’s been there so long it’s allowed to demand squatter’s rights. It’s not like I have nowhere else to put them, it’s just that this stack was initially meant for books I’m planning to read immediately. However, I should point out that reading-wise, I’m a procrastinator and easily distracted by shiny new things, so the stack just keeps growing.

I studied English Literature in University, a fact that always prompts the question “So what’s your favorite kind of literature?” I don’t think I’ve ever answered that question confidently. I usually take a long time to think, then just go with whatever I read most recently. Truth be told I read things from so many different genres (as I’ve said, easily distracted by shiny new things) that I can’t quite pinpoint a favorite. I love some books of a genre and then hate others. It’s as eclectic as my music taste; my playlist of favourites is called “i love but i get sad” because it ranges from heart-wrenching break-up songs to upbeat EDM to angry screamo to headbang to. I have very rojak-like tastes, though ironically (don't hate me) I quite dislike the taste of rojak.

There's novels, poetry, memoirs and whatnot in the stack, but here's a sneak peek:

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel. Something I’ve been meaning to reread for some time, following which I’ll be listening to the musical’s cast recording on repeat.

Mystical Places by Sarah Baxter. This was a beautiful book I picked up in a shop and was immediately drawn to these real-life places that look like something out of a dream. Also something I’d read to convince myself I love and miss traveling, when in reality, “it stresses me out” is an understatement.

The Smartest Book in the World by Greg Proops. A sort-of memoir with titbits from Proops’ comedy career and just multiple chapters on his interests and wide-reaching knowledge ranging from baseball to freedom fighters and the Civil Rights Movement. I listened to his podcast almost religiously from ages 15-18, hence the book.

Spirits of Latin America by Ivy Mix. I have little explanation for this one; I chanced upon Ivy Mix on Instagram, saw she’d written a book, and borrowed it. Sometimes I think I might moonlight as a bartender. But I love, love, being able to go to bed at 10pm, so that’s a problem.

I used to worry about inane things like, “if I say I enjoy fantasy novels, then I HAVE to read (insert canonical greats in the fantasy genre), otherwise it doesn’t count”. These days though, I’d rather just read the things I enjoy, that make me want to keep reading. If it’s not enjoyable or enriching in some way then, honestly, why bother?

Until next time,

(From January 30, 2021)