The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Saturday, February 28, 2009

It's that magical time again dear readers - it's SUGGESTION SATURDAY. - For those of you who are new to the blog, every Saturday I read one of the books that was suggested in the comments section - so keep the suggestions coming dear readers. Usually I read the books in the order they were recommended to me, but I realized today that I was supposed to read a book that Belvia suggested today and read this one next week (sorry Belvia) - but I will get to your suggestion next week Belvia so don't worry. Today's book was suggested by Betsy.

Today's book: "A young woman in love with a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing; one of his mistresses and her humbly faithful lover -- these are the two couples whose story is told in this masterful novel. In a world in which lives are shaped by irrevocable choices and by fortuitous events, a world in which everything occurs but once, existence seems to lose its substance, its weight. Hence, we feel "the unbearable lightness of being" not only as the consequence of our pristine actions but also in the public sphere, and the two inevitably intertwine."

I'm not sure how amusing today's entry is going to be (you've been warned dear readers) because I don't find cheating particularly funny. But I did find the book thought provoking, and that's important too. Not every book can be all fun and games.

Here are the excerpts that I found interesting:

"Dreaming is not merely an act of communication (or coded communication, if you like); it is also an aesthetic activity, a game of the imagination, a game that is a value in itself." - I always get annoyed when I can't figure out what a dream is supposed to mean, but maybe I should just lighten up and take some of the dreams as pure entertainment, or as my imaginations way of strengthening itself (I like to think of imagination as a muscle that must be exercised on a regular basis - or at least that was my excuse in high school for not paying attention in class). There's probably very little point in me trying to interpret my dreams anyway because I end up treating them like magazine quizzes, where I try to guess what the right answer is and then convince myself that it's how I really feel. And on a side, barely related note, I'm really annoyed by the way I still have food allergies even in my dreams. I can be in the middle of a long, confusing dream that makes no sense at all and then in the middle of it someone will offer me some cake and every time I say, "No thanks, I'm allergic." It's so annoying - what's the point of even having dreams if I can't eat cake in them. I also have dreams (and occasionally quick flashes during the day, I guess you could call them daydreams) where I'm falling down the stairs and another one where I'm walking with a pencil in my hand and I lose my balance and accidentally stab myself with it. I have no idea what any of that is supposed to mean, but if any of you would like to share your interpretations in the comments section, feel free. I promise I won't even be offended if you think it means I'm a little off the beam.

"It was there I began to divide books into day books and night books. Really there are books meant for daytime reading and books that can be read only at night." - I thought I was the only one who did that (just like the calendar in my head thing from a previous blog entry). I like to read the kind of books that should be read slowly, thoughtfully, at night. I never like to read mindless, fluffy books at night, or any kind of book that can be read really quickly. I have no idea why I separate books out in that way.

"I have said before the metaphors are dangerous." - I don't know how I feel about metaphors but I think cliches are really dangerous. They seem like such a harmless thing, until I start to watch someone try to completely alter an experience to suite a cliche. Have you ever watched someone desperately trying to convince themselves that the bad (perhaps even tragic thing) that happened to them or someone they know was something that will "make them stronger in the end" or some variation on that cliche that somehow proves that there is a silver lining to every experience. I guess it's nice to be an optimist - and I think most of the time I am one - but I also think that all the vividness (wow, I looked that word up and even though it's listed in the dictionary it still doesn't feel like a real word) can be drained out of an experience, good or bad, when you try too hard to make it fit within the confines of a cliche like "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger". (Crap, and I was doing so well at not rambling until I got to that sentence). There are so many cliches that I think are a bunch of crap. For instance: what goes around, comes around (I think that's just something that petty people came up with to convince themselves that everyone they hate will eventually end up miserable and alone, living in a shack on the edge of town with fifty cats, eating generic oreos that don't have enough filling because they can't afford the real ones.) As easy as pie (I've never understood that expression, because I've always considered pie the most difficult dessert to make. Plus I make the ugliest pies you'll ever see. Maybe I should change the expression to "as ugly as pie." - I kind of like that. Now I'm actually looking forward to seeing something ugly so I can use that expression). The aforementioned "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger (Maybe it makes other people stronger, but for me it usually results in me sitting in the backyard in my pajamas for six months staring up at the sky and thinking "life sucks and everyone is happy but me" until I eventually get tired of the neighbors looking at me funny and decide to go back instead and live a respectable life again. But maybe that's just me). And while we're on the subject, there is actually a website that has a cliche finder - you just put in a word like "cat" and it will find you a cliche with that word in it. What on a earth does a person even need a site like that for - for their job as a writer of Hallmark cards, to annoy people at parties, to learn to talk like an old person? I can't figure it out. Here's the site: (I may have actually spoken to soon about how useless that website was, since I just spent the last 6 minutes amusing myself by putting in random words like tomato and pencil just to see if I could stump the cliche finder with a word it couldn't find a cliche for. I managed to trip it up with the word pizza.)

So, if you've enjoyed watching me completely mangle what is supposed to be a deep and relevant book and turn it into something shallow, mindless, and almost completely devoid of meaning or substance - and you'd like me to do the same thing with one of your favorite books then call 1-800-SHALLOW . . . oops, I got caught up in the moment and was starting to feel like I was on an infomercial for a minute there. I meant to say, leave a suggestion in the comments section.