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Dave from a city near you is reading constantly October 1, 2013 - 6:26am

“The trees are alive. The grass, the soil – everything. All around you things are purely living, and you among them, and the aliveness makes you tremble. You feel an intense, out of the skin awareness of your living self – your truest self, the human being you want to be and then become by the force of wanting it. In the midst of evil you want to be a good man. You want decency. You want justice and courtesy and human concord, things you never knew you wanted. There is a kind of largeness to it, a kind of godliness. Though it’s odd, you’ve never more alive then when you’re almost dead.”
Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried

 

Post a quote or thoughts on his books or stories. 

 

 

Last year at Texas Book Fest., before signing Tomcat In Love and TTTC.

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Tim Johnson from Rockville, MD is reading Notes From a Necrophobe by T.C. Armstrong October 1, 2013 - 6:46am

The Things They Carried is awesome. For me, what makes the book is when he basically interrupts the book to tell you everything that's happened in the book didn't actually happen, but that doesn't make it any less true. And then he writes an essay on truth. It gave me an interesting perspective on fiction, and I'll always appreciate Tim O'Brien's work for that.

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avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters October 1, 2013 - 7:07am

Tim - YES!!!  That's one of the things that will stay with me until I die.  That truth is all about preception.  That it was the sunlight that killed him, and that is Curt Lemon's truth. 

Twenty years later, I can still see the sunlight on Curt Lemon's face. I can see him turning, looking back at Rat Kiley, then he laughed and took that curious half step from shade into sunlight, his face brown and shining, and when his foot touched down, in that instant, he must've thought it was the sunlight that was killing him. It was not the sunlight. It was a rigged 105 round. But if I could ever get the story right, how the sun seemed to gather around him and pick him up and lift him into that tree, if I could somehow recreate the fatal whiteness of that light, the quick glare, the obvious cause and effect, then you would believe the last thing Curt Lemon believed, which for him must've been the final truth. Sunlight was killing him.

This bit makes me want to cry and laugh and gives me all these very intense feels.  Every single time I read it.  Not just the first time.  That's how you know it's true love.  If you get the feelings every single time. 

This is easily in my top 5 favorite books and O'Brien is probably my favorite living author.  Even if all he ever did was write that one book, he'd still be my favorite, because I think it's one of the most perfect books I've ever read. 

 

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MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions October 1, 2013 - 8:16am

I've read and truly enjoyed If I Die, Going After Cacciato, Lake of the Woods, July, July--but The Things They Carried is one of the great books of our time--though I'd be extremely curious to know what 'non-writerly' types think about it, because I've only ever discussed it with 'writerly' people (Possibly the only Vietnam novel impossible to discuss as movie adaptation?)

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Dave from a city near you is reading constantly October 1, 2013 - 2:11pm

I think there was an adaptation of The Sweetheart of Song Tra Bong (spelling?) with Keifer Sutherland, though the name of it escapes me. A very loose adaptation from what I read. 

The Things They Carried was definitely a game changer for me, not only in the way I write but they way I perceived storytelling, and the ways now open for me to tell some of my personal stories.

I carry a copy everywhere, and will always remember the first time I read it. 

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters October 1, 2013 - 2:25pm

I think there was an adaptation of The Sweetheart of Song Tra Bong (spelling?) with Keifer Sutherland, though the name of it escapes me. A very loose adaptation from what I read.  

I've heard of that.  It was my least favorite story in the bunch, so I'm not all torn up to find it and watch it.  It would be the most adaptable, in my opinion. 

 

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions October 1, 2013 - 4:11pm

I can certainly imagine films being made of the individual stories. Which brings me to one of my favorite lit-geek pet peeves: that The Things They Carried is so often labeled a short story collection rather than a novel.

Tim O'Brien said it was tough to label it one or the other (though it was written over the years as individual stories, parts were rewritten when it became a whole), and it was usually called a "composite" novel at the time (not sure if he came up with the term, or critics), which is a term I kind of like. Anyone else geeky about this? It just seems far richer to me to be approached that way.

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Dave from a city near you is reading constantly October 2, 2013 - 1:24am

I, uh, well...I've never, ah, actually, that is, I didn't know it had been called anything but a novel.  BUT, I will say that of all the non reading retards to whom I've chanced to bring this book up, a surprising number actually know (or know of) this book.  I attribute this to him teaching at a university around here.

Completely useless post.