I’ve covered music, food, and cocktails. I listen to music all the time and I eat every day; paradoxically, I seldom drink. There is just something about the concept of cocktails, and the mixing of them, that fascinates me. And so I research them, and make them for friends, and now I write about them.
Meanwhile, I’ve yet to write about something that I do constantly– read. I think it’s safe to say that since the age of perhaps 9 or 10 years old, I’ve never not been reading a book. As soon as I finish one, I pick up another, and the cycle never breaks. I think it may be interesting to periodically share what I’m reading with you, and today I am going to do just that.
In July, Sue and I went to Douglas Coupland’s book reading in Oakland. If you’ve heard of Coupland, it is probably for writing Generation X, which was his first book. At least, that’s all I knew about him. He has written a handful of books since that one, and at the reading he read from his new book, Hey Nostradamus!
He’s an engaging speaker, and the excerpt he read was captivating, so I bought the book. It took me a few weeks, actually about a month, to get around to reading it, but at last I did. I just finished it, and I absolutely loved it.
I’m not sure how much plot detail I should go into here, as I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who decides to read it. I’ll simply give you a quick idea of the story, without ruining anything whatsoever.
The novel tells of the aftermath of a fictional high school shooting, based in some part on the Columbine shooting. Unlike the press coverage of Columbine, which focused almost exclusively on the killers, Coupland instead focuses on the victims. The story is broken up into four sections, each with a different narrator.
It’s obviously not a happy story, but there are many comedic moments that break up the otherwise grim storyline. I finished it with the sense that I need to re-read the book someday soon, as there is a significant amount of subtext and social commentary that ties the four narratives together into a one cohesive unit.
Before I re-read this book, however, I will likely find and read some of Coupland’s other works. If they are all on the level of Hey Nostradamus! then I have found a new author to add to my list of favorite writers.