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Saturday, August 05, 2006

catch up 2: books and books and books...

The fact that yall were expecting some sort of Electric Boogaloo joke shows how we all need to GO OUTSIDE sometimes.

***

Alas, though the weather has calmed down and most of my deadlines have been met, I am inside on this Saturday, supporting my life partner and feeling all shaky and nauseous. Can you OD on bacon? I hope not, as bacon is one of the only things I can eat when my appetite is all fucked up.

***

I have some advice for all you book bloggers out there. Don’t wait too long to post about your reading. You will not have quotes because books have gone back to the library or disappeared in your apartment. You will forget plots, you will forget characters, you will forget whole books and then have to create a review from vague feelings and crusty clichés. [Insert a self-deprecating joke here. I am too tired to flog myself cleverly.]

Now that that quasi-disclaimer is out there please enjoy the second batch of shriveled ol’ backlog reviews.

33. George Bush: Dark Prince of Love by Lydia Millet
Lydia Millet can imagine with the best. Her idea of a lone American, buoyed by a secret emotional bond with 41, is a great one. The execution was too jacked up for my tastes (the scenarios became increasingly one-two-punch-y and tired me out by the end of this short book), but Millet’s grasp of presidential politics and the history of Bush 1’s reign are totally impressive. I wish there had been more sly satire and less exploding fancy, but even so, GB: DPL was a fun read, and I am so happy that I found it at Housing Works for a few meager cents on a lunch break from my last job. I need to read her newest, a book about the creation of the A-bomb, but I keep getting distracted.

34. Bigfoot Dreams by Francine Prose
Oh Francine! I love you so!
This book chronicles a lost New York, where you could get by writing for a tabloid where they actually had a staff, a photographer and two editors all up in a musty elevator building in Manhattan. The main character, Vera, is a thirty something woman with a ten year old and a long mostly-lost husband and a creeping feeling that something is missing. When she writes a story that comes true, everything goes to shit in a spectacularly amazing way.

Prose can really write characters. Even her bit players become plump and real. If you want to, you can easily imagine their lives as they fall off the page. This book is worth reading merely for its picture of a looser NYC, but I stuck around for Prose’s Commie seniors, burnout out BFs and subway screamers. Only one character stuck in my craggy craw, the Vera’s daughter Rosalie. She reads unevenly—sometimes like a twelve or thirteen year-old, sometimes like a sixty-year-old. I know Prose was trying to capture that dichotomy between innocence and wisdom that so often exists in precocious kids, but it didn’t totally work.

Read it anyway.

35. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
Steam punk ahoy!
Mieville creates a giant, London world sans digital for this book. I’ve never read anything by CM before and I had no expectations when starting. I just wanted a giant book to read and that is what I got. If you like sprawling stories, full of philosophy, violence and crannies, you will very likely like Perdido Street Station. If magic, flying and humanoid races with occasionally annoying dialects make you crazy, you will hate it. He kind of lost my rabid interest half way through, but I kept reading because the story remained moderately interesting and I wanted to see how Mieville would tie it all up.

I got PSS for a buck, which made the deal all that sweeter. I read it on trains and on floors in sad houses and it is a great traveling book, even with its giant size.

3 comments:

trophycase said...

No comments here? hmmm?

The third paragraph down is some good advice. 50 Books linked to this months ago. That site inspired me to start blogging about what I'm reading, and I'm following your advice.

I blog about chapters, parts, sections of each book and label it (A new Blogger feature). That way the book stays together even if I am a bit poly- in my reading habits.

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