Although I’ve only read it recently, no book has touched me more than Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. I cried after I finished it, and I hadn’t cried over a book in years.
This is my favorite quote: ”She was a genius of sadness, immersing herself in it, separating its numerous strands, appreciating its subtle nuances. She was a prism through which sadness could be divided into its infinite spectrum.” I was so inspired by and in awe of this idea of being “a genius of sadness,” that my two closest friends and I decided to, like Brod, compile a list of our own sadnesses. We each listed a hundred things, both tangible and abstract, that made us sad. The only rule was that they had to be original, though it was hard for me not to add Brod’s “Sadness of Love Without Release” to the list, since that is possibly the most beautiful thing I’d ever heard of. However, we also made a list of our joys. I still want to see if I can top Brod’s discovery of 613 sadnesses with even more joys.
The words and phrases Foer uses have weight and life and immense beauty. This book reminds me that there is beauty in sadness and love and laughter and human emotion.