Did you guys like that little grammar lesson in the title? People helping people. Now, back to regularly scheduled programming.
Whenever I've finished a Jon Krakauer book (or a film adaptation, for that matter), I'm ruined for days. And I'm pretty close to despair for the several reading days, so let's go ahead and round up and say Jon Krakauer messes with my life for a good two weeks any time I pick up a piece of his work.
Reading J.K. Rowling screws me up, too, but only because Harry Potter's universe is so fun (when you don't account for the evil magical warlord and all the death and horror—spoiler alert, it gets really dark at the end).
My latest foray into Krakauer was Where Men Win Glory. In the book, Krakauer distills and aggregates a lot of information about and conducts his own investigation of the fratricide of former NFL player-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman. I remembered the story vaguely (he was killed in action several years ago), but I probably didn't have a stronger recollection because of what Krakauer reveals to have been a pretty large-scale coverup of the true story.
This isn't meant to be a book review, really, but I'm always struck by how Krakauer frames his narratives: He tells you the details of the Main Event at the very beginning—in the prologue, even. The way he tells the story, how he delves into the history of the environments, settings and people, is what gives his books their steam. And in this book, he interviews Tillman's wife extensively as well as quotes heavily from Tillman's journals. The more I learned about Tillman's inner life, the more I dreaded his story's culmination.
It pained me to read how Tillman had been used by the media on both sides of the political divide. Krakauer gave such a multilayered portrait of Tillman, his strengths as well as his imperfections, that I was reminded that you don't really know someone unless you know him. Something easily forgotten, especially in this wacko land of blogging.
I suppose reading and recovering from this book has contributed to my Serious, Introspective Mood lately. Noah quite tactfully suggested that Krakauer may be responsible for some of the complaints I've lobbed in his direction lately, to which I said, "Up yours, but also maybe."
When I was in college, a favorite professor of mine confessed to weeping at the end of Atonement (the novel). She also admitted that she didn't have a favorite book, because every book she loved was her favorite. Another beloved professor told us that serious marital strife happened in her household when she and/or her husband was without a book to read. I get it.
Please tell me you guys are affected by books? We'll even call it "artistic sensibility," instead of the probably more accurate but less grabby "emotional instability."