Reading Jonathan Safran Foer

One of the very best things in the world is a good book. Couple that with a gorgeous day and I’m in glee (not the tv show). I love sitting in my backyard, reading while my kids play.

Recently, I read Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, both by Jonathan Safran Foer. Two people who I respect both severely disliked “Extremely”. One for the  protagonist, one for the writing style. I, on the other hand, read the book and loved it…for the same reason my two friends disliked it. But I’ve heard that said of Foer. Either you hate his writing or you can’t get enough of it.

I can’t get enough.

Here’s why. He is brave. He takes risks in his writing. He takes literary voice, adds in a little magical realism, and sprinkles on heartbreaking situations for his characters. Characters who are quirky and flawed and broken. Oh, how broken they are.

Foer’s novels spurred me on. Encouraged me to write with courage. To risk stepping around the normal plot structure of Christian novels. To write the kind of book that I want to write. Not the kind that I think I ought to write.

What makes you want to be better? What have you read/witnessed/lived that spurs you on to live more fully.

This isn’t just about writing, although it might be for you. This question is about life. And I’d love to hear about you.

4 Comments on “Reading Jonathan Safran Foer

  1. Great thoughts about Foer… I haven’t decided if I’m in the “hate” or “like” category…I’ve been “trying” to read “Extremely” since before the FF&W!!! I find it hard to get through because I only have small chunks of time to read and when I get to it I have often completely forgotten where I left off…I think it’s the type of writing that is better when you can read more consistently….

    I do find the style a bit challenging…but COMPLETELY agree with your thoughts that it is daring and creative. I give him kudos for creativity for sure…For that reason I’m still plugging through it (with many “easier” reads in between!!).


    • Thanks, Lisa. And, yes, I had to suspend all major housecleaning while reading Foer. Or at least that was my excuse. 🙂

      He is brilliant, isn’t he? I would feel completely out of my elephant around him. Hee hee.


  2. What makes me want to be better?

    Seeing how Jesus can use all of us, “least of these,” to do the impossible for Him. It’s fun and inspiring to see how creative He is in using, “Characters who are quirky and flawed and broken,” to show His greatness. He really does use the foolishness of this world to humble the proud (me included on both ends)…

    That, and having such an awesome younger sister! 🙂


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