So I’m an old fashioned book reader. To me this means that I love the tactile component of reading an honest to goodness paper and ink book. That being said I will on occasion read digitally, to try out new authors mostly, but what I am here to tell you today is that I believe some books are even better as digital copies. For instance Emotional Rescue: Essays on Love, Loss, and Life – with a soundtrack by Ben Greenman. This book was on the editors pick list (Amazon) and after reading the title I pondered for less than a minute before I started downloading. They were right, it is every bit as good as the title suggests and then some.

For those of you who stoped at the word essays I urge you to keep reading because they don’t feel like the writing assignments you might recal from undergrad they feel like internal dialogue. Let me explain. Mr. Greenman uses essays to have the liberty to jump topics between chapters which you cannot do, or rather it would be very difficult to do, in a typical story format. As such we can go from talking about pain/pleasure to sense/nonsense to distance/nearness. What is great about the essay format other than the wide array of topics that become available is that is has the feel of listening to the radio. As if, for instance, you are cruising down the highway rocking out and feeling happy and alive then all of a sudden the station plays a ballad and you remember your junior prom date. It was done to such a tremendous effect too. 

Let me also state outright that I love Mr. Greenman’s narrative voice. It felt very comfortable almost as if he was posing the questions he answers directly to me. I do honestly believe he has the large pool of friends who just call to talk that his essays suggest, and who could blame them as his perspective it quite interesting.

Now although I loved the book and I have already been recommending  it to anyone who will listen I’m not sure I would love it as a paperback. With my digital copy I highlighted amazing points that he makes regularly through out the entire narrative. I could also immediately look up songs which I had never heard or needed to hear again. The magic of technology allowed me to listen to the soundtrack of Mr. Greenman’s life while I read about the highlights. Which *gasp* fulfilled my need for multi sensory reading. As such a traditional book read of these essays would have been a completely different experience.

Should you still not be sold on this book please allow me just two more points. First, while Emotional Rescue is a far cry from the typical linear story telling most of us readers have come to love and expect by the end it came to an actual end. By which I mean that at the end all of the story telling (including the hard left turns) makes sense and even comes to a nicely tied up conclusion like a well constructed stand up comedy skit. The second point is perhaps more of a me point but I cannot help myself. In my mind this story would make an amazing musical… There I said it! I can completely picture it and I hope that someone else can too because this is a book I don’t just want to read it’s a book I want to experience!

I’m not saying that all the answers to the questions of restlessness, energy, intensity, and comfort—how long to hold a job, how long to keep a lover, how long to stay in one place before hopping on a train or a plane or into a balloon—reside in two minutes of a never-released song recorded by a virtually unknown novelty singer. But I’m not saying that they’re not.     -Ben Greenman

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