kate and pansy
think about taking over the world
but instead decide to take another drink
Thursday, September 25, 2008

More Books!

So I read Everybody Worth Knowing by the woman who wrote The Devil Wears Prada (which I also read, years ago). Why'd I read? It came free with a magazine and I bought it thinking I was getting the free mystery. What can I say, its about impossibly rich new yorkers and working every minute of the day. And finding true love.

I also read The Outcast by Sadie Jones. Why did I read it? because I convinced my mother to buy it when she was looking for books to buy. What can I say. Period details. bits of brutality. Oh yes, and finding true love. Because people do that when they are fifteen.

Then I read Fame Fatale. Because I wasn't sure I had read it before. I had. Its a typical Wendy Holden. Heroine working under miserable conditions, horribly partner. Truly horrible female lead who is all about materialism and bad fame. Then you find true love.

Read Louise Bagshawe too. I am obviously rebelling against the lit fic I have been reading. Horrible sister. Downtrodden heroine working heroically in today's world. And then you find true love.

I promise I am reading a proper book at the moment.

posted at 6:18 AM
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Saturday, September 13, 2008

What have I been reading, other than the fabulous Brief Wondrous Life? Well, I can tell from my bookshelf that I read Straight Talking (free chick lit with a magazine) at some point and then immediately forgot about it. Speaking of which, I have now had enough of Harlan Corben. Read Gone For Good, had to big up book to remember title, characters, plot. And well, I am tired of it. I've read three stories of his now. Really liked the first. But I can't remember any of them individually and they all seem to follow the same narrative arc and with the same narrative twitches. Love, separation, crime committed in the past, Some one isn't who you think it is. The bad guys get killed in a divine providence kind of way, often there is a minor character of a Jersey crime family and we have had two reunited children too! Don't think I will read anymore.

Read another Tess Gerriston. The Apprentice. Which occurs in time before The Body Double. I enjoyed the novel. I like how its a bit of a literary CSI. Lots of explanation of the tech and forensics. Good villain. However, I could live without the clunky romance and well it builds nicely and then bam! its over. I kept thinking how can she finish this novel in the pages that are left and well she does it with a Hamlet ending. One villain dead (we never find out who he is, why he does what he does, how he hooked up with the other guy). Heroine saves herself and well the baddy ends up with his just desserts. Must admit I will read more but I may be looking to see if this is a pattern.

Read Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. Which surprised me. Old Country and The Road are both quite stark in style and language. This wasn't. It was verbose and bloody and well, I think keeping with the milieu. But much as I haven't watched Ride with the Devil (and I love Ang Lee), I don't think nineteenth century blood thirsty American complete with mud does much for me.

Which may come as a surprise when I talk about my classic for the year, Huck Finn. Loved it honestly. Loved Jim. Thought Tom Sawyer was a twit. Loved the language and Huck's gradual conscious awakening. And I can cross one more 'great work' off my list.

posted at 9:38 AM
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(cross-posted on the bookies--where it did have formatting).
Wow. No tears this time for a book of such brilliance it humbles me even as I watch in awe as Diaz manages to weave so many different currents, different, worlds, different universes together in a narrative both original and yet part of so much great literature. This is a work of genius. At first, I had a hard time imagining someone teaching creative writing at MIT. What kind of a (schizophrenic) person could do that?!? Having finished Wao, I now have no problem imagining Diaz holding his own with the geeks while writing (and I suspect reading) fiction. I think this is a book that could be read several times, and each time, the reader would learn more, see something new, appreciate it in a different light. Diaz speaks in so many languages like Spanish, the new footnote style of David Wallace Foster, incorporating the style of magic realism used by Garcia Marquez and Vargas Llosa. And I am not even mention the comic book/graphic novel references, all the rpging terms scattered about or the hip hop. Each a language telling the reader that little bit more, adding another layer to the compelling story of a family and its curse. I think I am most impressed at Diaz’s calling out to the literary canon(like a rap artist). Years ago, rocks were soft, dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was in an American High School in a small town and actually I was 15, sophomore year, the year you have to do American Literature. More a lot of people that meant The Scarlet Letter. I was college prep. In our classes it was Thorton Wilder and Emerson and Thoreau (On Civil Disobedience not Walden) and a little bit of Hemingway. Specifically, The Old Man and the Sea and the Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber. You think Diaz just picked his title out of then air? He’s running with the giants and I like him a whole lot more than Papa. Wao, like Mr. Macomber, takes life in his own hands, find happiness, if only for a brief time (fyi, Wao’s happiness is of a longer duration that safari participant Francis) Then final year, we had to read a lot (looking back on it now) including Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. And that is what I recall in Oscar’s last words. In his life, it is not “the horror” he sees, but “the beauty”. For all the tragedy and unhappiness of the life of his family, Oscar finds love. But it isn’t just Oscar’s story that captivates me, its all those women: his sister, his mother, his abuela. Great story telling. But more. A book that illuminates on every page. Though I am not sure I am going to give it to my mother to read.

posted at 9:36 AM
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Just like the state of nature, nasty, brutish and short...I was always fond of the nickname 'Craxi'...Sometimes I cook, sometimes I tend bar, sometimes I even knit. Mostly I try not to read the plethora of government publications that cross my desk and write one page summaries.
favorite food: lobster. ben and jerry's ice cream
favorite show: CSI
favorite drink: grey goose vodka (with ice, it doesn't need anything else)
age: far older than I like to admit/contemplate

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