Monday, August 27, 2012

Words: The Things They Carried

I've talked about Uncle Walt, and HDT, so next on the list of favorite books is The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. The first time I saw O'Brien speak, he made me cry. He read from the last chapter of The Things They Carried and I sat in the crowded, standing room only, tent with tears streaming down my face, and I didn't care. I love this book. I remember  after the first time I read it,  I just had to carry it around with me for a couple days before I returned it to the library. I wanted the words to stay with me just a little longer.  So powerful. 

The Things They Carried finds itself somewhere in between fiction and memoir based on O'Brien's time as a soldier during the Vietnam War.  But more than war, this book is about storytelling and that sometimes stories can be the truest kind of truth.

Some favorite quotes:

The entire final chapter: The Lives of the Dead. First line: "But this too is true, stories can save us. "

From later on in the chapter: “The thing about a story is that you dream it as you tell it, hoping that others might then dream along with you, and in this way memory and imagination and language combine to make spirits in the head. There is the illusion of aliveness.” 

“Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.” 

“It was very sad, he thought. The things men carried inside. "

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