Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Friendship test: what are my three favorite books?

Fill out your scantrons.

Turn in your scantrons.

There’s no curve.

The answer is: The Life of Pi; Mere Christianity; and The Omnivore’s Dilemma

You better have gotten a 100; if not, there’s the door.

(Look at the door).

Jonathan Safran Foer is making me rethink my list, though. He has written several books, among the most famous are Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; Eating Animals; and Everything is Illuminated.

I read Eating Animals because a fellow vegetarian and friend recommended it to me, and the book opened my eyes to JSF’s style of writing. Eating Animals didn’t change my life, but the arguments were sound and, moreover, the writing was brilliant.


The thing about JSF is that he doesn’t limit his communication with the reader to just text. In his books, he regularly uses entire pages for pictures, text manipulation,  and other ways to send a message. In Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, he underlined and circled sections and sentences of his own writing. I got the book from a friend, and so I thought that she had marked up the book. When I realized that those markings were intentional, I was incredulous. I’ve seen text manipulation (the word “circle” in a circle), but I’d never seen anything like it.

So, if for no other reason, you need to check out JSF because his writing style is avante garde. Personally, I’ve never seen anything like that. Granted, I have very little perspective when it comes to books because I’ve been reading for a scant fifteen years or so.

But that’s not the only reason to read his books!

Especially in ELaIC, the plot-line is complex and his characters are so real. I almost cried at two parts in the book, and books typically don’t bring me anywhere near to that level of emotion. Oscar, the main character, is the perfect kid. You suffer in his isolation and despondency, and you laugh at his candidness. The book is brilliant.

I don’t know that I’ve done a book recommendation on my blog before, and I hope to keep them rare and in high regard. So heed my advice and read this book soon.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

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