A new book to add to the list of "books that have meant very much to me": Bluets by Maggie Nelson.
Written in numbered paragraphs, sometimes subsequently related and other times not, she tells, in subtle code, the simplified story of a relationship that effected her deeply encased in her immense and overwhelming love for the color blue.
Blue is my favorite color, and when I spotted this book at the Booksmith, I felt very happy to have found it. I love the way Nelson feels about blue. It is how I have described feeling about birch bark - the endless search for something within it, without really knowing what. The love is in the search.
I read it quickly over the past three days. The book had an odd way of always playing off something I had just heard someone else say, something I had just thought or just written down, or something one of the kids did or said at school. The book is a rarity in that I feel so grateful for having read it, so grateful to the author for having written it. I always feel lucky when I stumble on a book like that.
The day after I began to read it, one of my students asked me, "What's your favorite color?"
"Blue," I told her.
"What's your favorite number?"
She saturated a piece of paper with blue, leaving a white space in the shape of the letter A for my name. In the negative space of the A, she put 3 lines of varying length (a Japanese 3; she said it looked better than the 2). I folded it up and put it in Bluets; it just seemed too perfect. Such a perfect coincidence.
In general, I admire Nelson's touching honesty about what it means to be "blue." I think the way she speaks of it is something that many creative types will relate to, even though that's not the point.
Long story short, it struck a chord in me that has not been struck by a book in a while now. It's beautiful, and I loved it.