tiny library: euphoria

May 7, 2015

euphoria by lily king | reading my tea leavesEuphoria by Lily King

Five words: Sweaty. Typewriters. Vivid. Tragic. Gripping.

Plus a few more: I had been reading this slowly over the past two weeks, catching little bits on the subway and in the few minutes before sleep. At first, it was a book that I found pleasant enough to return to, but not one that stayed with me when I put it down. By the end, it became all-consuming and I raced through it. Set in the jungles along the Sepik River of New Guinea, the book is based loosely on details about a 1933 field trip by anthropologists Margaret Mead, her husband, Reo Fortune, and the man who would become her second husband, Gregory Bateson. But King’s novel is largely a torrid tale of her own making. Her final chapters make the whole read wildly worth it. (And not for nothing, but if you can manage to read them while curled onto a 1940s canvas cot well, all the better.)

Here’s a tiny taste: “I am learning the chopped rhythm of their talk, the sound of their laughter, the cant of their heads. I can feel the relationships, the likes & dislikes in the room in a way I never could if I could speak. You don’t realize how language actually interferes with communication until you don’t have it, how it gets in the way like an overdominant sense. You have to pay much more attention to everything else when you can’t understand the words. Once comprehension comes, so much else falls away. You then rely on their words, and words aren’t always the most reliable thing.”

For bookshelf of borrowing: Borrowing. This was on the bestseller list at my local bookstore, so I scooped it up during a weekend browse. I loved reading it, but it’s the kind of book I’ll be happy to pass along to someone else next.

Your turn: Have you read it? What did you think? Read anything else good lately?

You Might Also Like

26 Comments

  • Reply Shuang May 7, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    I'm currently reading an oldie but goodie: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I'm only half way through but this one is for the bookshelf! 🙂

    • Reply Erin May 7, 2015 at 4:44 pm

      One of my all time favorites. Might need to do a reread this summer.

    • Reply admin May 7, 2015 at 4:44 pm

      One of my all time favorites. Might need to do a reread this summer.

  • Reply Alie May 7, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Love this series! This is on my list!

  • Reply Loribeth Tanner May 7, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    I'm enjoying The Road to Character by David Brooks. My mom and I have our own little by-mail book club going where we mail each other books when we're done reading and then pass along to someone else.

  • Reply Vanessa May 7, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    I've been on the waiting list for this book for a while…glad to hear that it's worth the wait! Right now I'm reading Kazuo Ishiguro's The Buried Giant (about halfway through, so far so good) and I just started Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish, which just won the PEN/Faulkner award (I've just barely started but I really like the beginning). Cheers to reading!

    • Reply Erin May 7, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      Yes! (Just spotted *five* copies at my local library branch!). Thanks for the recommendations!

    • Reply admin May 7, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      Yes! (Just spotted *five* copies at my local library branch!). Thanks for the recommendations!

  • Reply Anonymous May 7, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Perfect! I'm in need of a good new book. I recently finished two great ones – All the Light We Can Not See and Cutting For Stone.

    • Reply Erin May 7, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      Can't wait to read the Doerr! You're not the first to mention it to me!

    • Reply admin May 7, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      Can't wait to read the Doerr! You're not the first to mention it to me!

  • Reply Heidi May 7, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    I just finished Alice Hoffman's The Museum of Extraordinary Things and I absolutely loved it. Set in 1911 NYC with real events and characters mixed with fiction. I can highly recommend it.

    • Reply Erin May 7, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      1911 NYC! The year my grandfather was born in this fine city! Definitely adding to my list.

    • Reply Sarah M May 7, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      I second this one. A riveting mixture of history and fiction… loved it.

    • Reply admin May 7, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      1911 NYC! The year my grandfather was born in this fine city! Definitely adding to my list.

  • Reply Neurotic Workaholic May 8, 2015 at 12:43 am

    I like the part about the love triangle; I always think that interesting (though sometimes painful) complications occur as a result of love triangles. I haven't read that book; I've been reading funny memoirs by comedians like Jim Gaffigan and Amy Poehler.

  • Reply Lexie May 8, 2015 at 6:40 am

    I am reading always 6 books at once as I am a speed reader. This week I am re reading Chery Strayed WILD- excellent and I recommend it for all independent women that are recovering from grief, The Wave by Susan Casey about the ocean waves and how it affects all the world, The Liar by N. Roberts for a nighttime fast read, The Blood Sugar Solution as I have given up all sugar and carbs and am learning more about balancing blood sugar. Girls of Atomic City about the women of WWII in Tennessee that made bombs for us during WWII. All great reading. Missing Melissa about a missing sister who has faked her death. Excellent book.

  • Reply Kate May 8, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    I love the "to buy vs. to borrow" distinction you have in this little series. So helpful in keeping my bookshelves tidy!

  • Reply J.S. Oxford— The House of Muses May 8, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    This looks fantastic— the cover along would have pulled me in for sure. I don't have a -huge- amount of possessions, but I have to say, I have about 400 books that I just can't part with. They do get lent out all the time, though. 🙂

  • Reply Second Floor Flat May 8, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    I've just started "Look Who's Back" – a book with a cover I was a little nervous about at first, but the premise is super clever. Really enjoying it so far!

  • Reply Emily C May 12, 2015 at 12:31 am

    I just finished reading this for our book club – I listened to the book on tape, and must say they did a wonderful job with it, it was well cast with each of their voices so distinct. It was quite the read/listen – I definitely recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it yet, especially if your library has it on audiobook! What a story though. I hadn't realized it was based on Margaret Mead, but that does make sense (it's been a long time since I took any Anthropology classes).

    Have you read The Age of Miracles? I highly recommend it – I read it last year and we're reading it again for the book club. It's about the world's rotation slowing, and all the ways that it impacts the earth and humans (what happens if we have night for days at a time? then daylight?) and it's all told from the point of view of a young girl whose family is simultaneously falling apart.

  • Reply Nichole Worthington June 16, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    I just finished reading this last night and I wanted to thank you for recommending this book! With a 7 month old baby girl I don't have much time for reading these days but when I do Iove to get lost in a good story. Anyways, thanks again for the recommendation and I love these posts!

  • Leave a Reply to Heidi Cancel Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Comments are moderated.