This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Monday, April 04, 2011

How They Met and Other Stories by David Levithan

I heard about this book from ElfArmyWrites so I decided to give it a try.

David Levithan is apparently very popular with the younger generation. He is responsible for the book, and subsequent movie, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. This particular novel, How They Met..., is a compilation of short stories; love stories. What makes this even more interesting is that each story covers a different kind of love: unrequited, rewarded, lesbian, straight and gay.

I enjoyed reading about love outside of what I am used to reading about: man and woman fall in love. The first story was particularly "corny" (in a good way), where a bit of enchantment is involved in the wooing of one man to another. It's sweet and it made me have butterflies in my stomach.

Not all of them end up so sticky sweet. In fact, many don't and that is probably the one thing that made this difficult for me to finish. First, I am not big on short stories. I thought love stories could be different for me, seeing that I can't help but love a good Harlequin romance now and again (FWIW, I haven't read one of those since I was in my early 20s but I love what they did for me; I think of Twilight as a bigger, one step up from a Harlequin romance which is probably why I loved it so much). Second, I don't like poetry much. I like Dr. Seuss. But beyond that, it doesn't do much for me. Maybe one day it will but as of now, the idea of sitting and attempting to read a book of poetry would make me scream.

To me, many of these short stories are more along the line of poetry. In fact, one of the stories What A Song Can Do is entirely formatted to signify poetry (or a song; sometimes the same?). I read it hoping to "get into it" or find some good quotes to tweet. Nothing stood out for me.

The story, after Starbucks Boy, that I definitely enjoyed because it made me LOL and smile the entire time at it's ingenuity is A Romantic Inclination. The entire story is written mathematically, scientifically, rationally. I absolutely loved it.

It starts with:
Their eyes met across the room, at an approximate inclination of twenty degrees.
Sallie gazed at James.
James gazed at Sallie.
And at once, both were illuminated.

And the entire story goes on with this type of tempo:
And so, to add symmetry to our story, was Sallie Brown. Her attraction toward James was not just one of surface value - she liked his inside parameters as much as his outside exponents. The though of him with her made her head spin like an unbalanced torque and made her heart slide like a kilogram weight on a frictionless pulley.

Isn't that just genius?

David Levithan wrote these stories, separately, for friends and family over several years' worth of Valentine's Days. I think he started when he was 17 years old. And what I find even more interesting is that, so far, there is no bio stating that Levithan is gay. But his novels feature gay characters and he also is a founding editor for PUSH, which commits to supporting new authors, "new voices", for teen literature. All in all, a pretty cool dude and I am pleased to know that he is a writer for a generation that will, hopefully, not be so bigoted about LBGT lifestyles.

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