Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The 2006 List

* 1. Hokkaido Popsicle by Isaac Adamson
* 2. 3 Girltalks, 2 by Kochlaka, Bogus Dead ed. by Jerome Gaynor
* 3. Whistle Stop by Maritta Wolff
* 4. Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender
* 5. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
* 6. Camp Concentration by Thomas Disch
* 7. That Old Ace in the Hole by Annie Proulx
* 8. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
* 9. The Secret Society of Demolition Writers, edited by Marc Parent
* 10. Samaritan by Richard Price
* 11. Already Dead by Denis Johnson
* 12. Fascination by William Boyd
* 13. Women and Children First by Francine Prose
* 14. THUD! by Terry Pratchett
* 15. PopCo by Scarlett Thomas
* 16. Counting Heads by David Marusek
* 17. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling
* 18. A Changed Man by Francine Prose
* 19. Lives of the Monster Dogs by Kirsten Bakis
* 20. Life by Gwyneth Jones
* 21. My Happy Life by Lydia Millet
* 22. Clear By Nicola Barker
* 23. The Bad Seed by William March
* 24. My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
* 25. Love Invents Us by Amy Bloom
* 26. Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood
* 27. Come to Me by Amy Bloom
* 28. Inside Vineyland by Lauren Weinstein, Squirrel Mother by Megan Kelso
* 29. My Most Secret Desire by Julie Doucet
* 30. A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You by Amy Bloom
* 31. Astonishing Tales edited by Michael Chabon
* 32. A History of Violence by John Wagner
* 33. George Bush: Dark Prince of Love by Lydia Millet
* 34. Bigfoot Dreams by Francine Prose
* 35. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
* 36. Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
* 37. Meet Me in the Moon Room by Ray Vukcevich

* This is where the numbers get a little hazy...

* 38. Girl Stories by Lauren Weinstein
* 39. Mc Sweeney's 18
* The Day of the Owl by Leonardo Sciascia
* Antic Hay by Aldous Huxley
* Stranger than Fiction by Kelly Link
* Mothers & Other Monsters by Maureen F. McHugh
* Report to the Men's Club and other stories by Carol Emshwiller
* I Like You by Amy Sedaris
* How to be Good by Nick Hornby
* Nekropolis by Maureen F. Mc Hugh
* Floating Worlds by Cecelia Holland
* Black Hole by Charles Burns
* Indiana, Indiana by Laird Hunt
* Persuasion Nation by George Saunders
* Fun Home by Alison Blechdel
* Two Girls, Fat and Thin by Mary Gaitskill
* Pure and Radiant Heart by Lydia Millet

Monday, October 30, 2006

a life lesson learnt

Never put a shitload of Murray's pomade in your hair, even if it is too complete the look for a improvised, yet awesome Halloween costume, unless you are willing to be committed to that costume for at least four days.

Otherwise, you will look like you just need to be committed.

The only plus side to getting in the above predicament is that it could help you finish shortening the back of your hair easily and quickly.

P.S.- anyone know how to get an especially tenacious hair wax out of your hair?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

I will answer your great meme questions on Monday sometime, so if you are cooking anymore up, write them down and send them to me. Ok? Ok.

Events you should be at

Freebird is having a benefit for their most awesome store on the water. There are a bunch of great writers who are going to be reading and hanging out. There will also be the usual Freebird treats, excellent used books, Moxie soda and totebags.
4 til 10pm
$10 suggested donation

Topic Magazine will be belatedly celebrating our Music issue with a night at iheart.
7 til 11pm

A new job without pay for me, more listings for you. At Exit Art, a benefit for clmp (hooray) will be going on- spelling bee style and be called most helpfully, A Better Bee. Writers will be working it out.There will be some music too.
8:30 pm

The Grace Reading Series is going to be hosting Alison Cole & Lauren Weinstein, comic creators of excellence and ladydom. Ariel Bordeaux, another fantastic comic-er, is curating the event.
7pm @ Mo Pitkins
One reason to go to events is the possiblity of having some beers with very nice people who remember your name and pretend to not notice how fandy you are when you have consumed some of those already mentioned beers. More on that later.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

It cost too much, staying human.
- Bruce Sterling

Lost, then found. Too bad.
- Graeme Gibson

Dorothy: "Fuck it, I'll stay here."
- Steven Meretzky

Six word SF from Wired Magazine. Ignore some corny bush-bashing please.

via Maude
I have been listening nonstop to the Bat Segundo Show. It has forced me to use iTunes, which is retarded, but simple minded. Just click, click and there are a million book podcasts to have.

Anyway, I've especially enjoyed Matt's interviews with Daniel Handler, Alison Bechdel, Gwenda Bond and Jeffrey Ford. Matt goes very deeply into plots, themes and other details of the author's work, so it may be better to have read the books they discuss, but since I have read very few of the books he talks about, listening makes me smarter.

One thing I find so compelling about these podcasts are how they wander from topic to topic and really allow for digression and repetition. After listening to one, I usually feel like I've met the author which doesn't happen when I read a tightly edited magazine profile, no matter how detailed.

Get them all, and don't be turned off by the silly intros.

more for the voyeurs.

So here's the deal.
I am having trouble writing these reviews, so I want a little jumpstart. I am going to start with a question about books, which I will post at the bottom. You, my dear readers will email me or comment with some other bookish questions you'd like me to answer.

Then i will put them all together in format that you can annoy your intardnet friends with.


number 1: what book goes best with severe burning with urination?

Comment away.

Monday, October 23, 2006

from me to you, and then the world

In my other life, I am a Senior Web Editor at Topic Magazine. I am also the Photo Blog Editor and I am looking for some new work. Please check the below out and send around to interested, interesting folks who like to take pictures. When they pitch to me, I will be extra nice, I promise.


What’s your story?

Topic Magazine has always focused on contemporary photography and non-fiction first person narrative, and Topic on the web ( is doing the same, point’n’clicky-style.

Here’s where you come in.

Right now, we are lining up contributors for our Photo Blog department. We aren't looking for professional (or even very accomplished) photographers. Instead we're looking for people who have a digital camera and an interest in capturing their life with utmost honesty. As always, we look for contributors whose lives intersect with our chosen topics in interesting and unexpected ways.

Here are the topics we’ve covered so far:
Topic 1: War *
Topic 2: Fantasy*
Topic 3: Cities
Topic 4: Fads
Topic 5: Prison*
Topic 6: Food
Topic 7: Family
Topic 8: Sin
Topic 9: Music
And our upcoming Topic 10: Games
* we are especially interested in these topics for photo blogs.

Feel free to interpret our topics however you want to-- there are no strict content guidelines and we can work together to come up with some great ideas.

Chances are, we'd agree to a short period of time (one week, maybe two) in which you'd be expected to send regular emails that consisted of photos and captions. Also, while we have no budget for compensating our contributors, we would certainly run a bio, byline and links to any of your other work.

Please email me with pitches and/ or questions. I look forward to hearing from you!

Carrie Jones
Senior Web Editor

Feel free to forward…
ooh, ahh.

I like those Tales Designed to Thrizzle, even though I own exactly zero of them. Maybe this would be a good chance to spend some money that I don't have.
I just finished the last few pages of the last story in Maureen McHugh's short story collection Mothers & Other Monsters.

I think I am in love.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

oh and I forgot to mention...


This may be the perfect book notes entry. It is exactly what I am looking for in a peice about books and music. Hunt's entry made me think more about the book, to fantasize outside the plot of a book that I enjoyed. Though Tulip is a marginal character really in The Exquisite, I am not surprised that it is her story that compelled the creation of Henry's.

Check it out.
Sometimes we need all the thanksgiving we can get.

so true.

bicycle fish's blog makes my eyes happy.
Scarlett Thomas has a new book that looks good.

working on something that's not working

It is late. The plumber is coming in a few hours to fix some drips and answer some questions that have stymied our energies.

I am writing and looking and not seeing for a bunch of projects and still looking for a job. I am more frustrated than I have been in awhile.

My body is not responding to my prayers for health. It is also not responding to my demands for fitness or my threats against being gross. I think that means another day in the doctor's office for me.

The day I spent in the doctor's office today was long and only partly helpful. I don't look forward to tomorrow.

My mind is wandering to nowhere good and making me seem morose and ditzy. How lame, especially with an unread Checkov in my bag.

Luck and concentration would be great right now. Got any to spare?

Two Pack

The next two selections from the books of yore are both from Small Beer Press. They are both also long-returned to the library so please try to bear the pale, faded qualities of these reviews.

book 36: Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link

I really enjoyed this book of short stories. I especially enjoyed one about a convenience store on the edge of the known world, where the management has turned against consumerism and the counter staff lives in the storage room. It asks the question “where do I go from here” and stops short of giving the answer, but remains satisfying. I also like Link’s use of details- a Turkish lesson, a sweater, qualities of night and day. The main character is young and lost and knows it, but is not celebrated for it. I am not a fan of idolizing 20-something confusion, especially when it is done humorlessly.

Anywho, the rest of the stories are a grab bag of fable-ish tales of loss and abandon, and how one can sometimes lead to the other. Especially fine is a story about a family that moves into a house that infects its residents with hauntedness. The ending has kind of a misplaced bang to it, but I loved Link’s exploration of what happens when something or someone you love is all of a sudden wrong.

When I finished I felt surprisingly eerie. I think I read the stories too quickly and some of the magic wore off on me and turned sour. If you are a sensitive type, this book isn’t for your lunch hour.

book 37: Meet Me in the Moon Room by Ray Vukcevich

On a Small Beer bender, I immediately launched into Meet Me in the Moon Room, a book of stories with many of the same characteristics as Magic for Beginners. Here, though, the unconventional conventions of the not-quite-fantasy tale wore thin and eventually rubbed me the wrong way.

Many of Vukcevich’s stories in this book are quite short which makes them easy to just plow through. Instead of enjoying each story, I found myself with heightened expectations for each successive story, wanting it to top or be very different from the last one. This never happened. I also remember that there were a few details that reoccurred often in this collection—blondes being one of them. It seemed old-fashioned and bad, somehow.

I think that if I had read one or two of these in a magazine or anthology they might have seemed like a fresh take on modern domestic stories. Instead, they just smothered me and I lost interest in doing more with the stories than just finishing them.


I’m sorry to mention that after Girl Stories, I cannot remember any of the books I’ve read since, much less their order. Since Blogger swallowed my blog a few weeks back, I’ve been working on the sidebar. Now I am finished with the exception of the missing books. I think there were only four or so. Any clues would be appreciated.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

i got the itch, i'm going crazy

So, kids, here's the thing about being a sensitive flower- sometimes you get crazy itches, swellings and other grossness for NO UNDERSTANDABLE REASON. Well, this is what is happening to me now. For the past three days I have been so itchy. My hands, my fett, my scalp are red, burny and itchy. Sometimes, any place that gets touched, by pants for example, turns red and swells a little. My boyfriend fears the infestation of my person (which makes me feel a little offended, I must say) and I am worried that I am allergic to the new apartment. It sure makes trying to read my first Chekov story The Story of a Nobody rather difficult.

In other news, I plan to finish rebuilding the sidebar as soon as possible.

How are you? Got any good itchy stories? How about literary passages on allergic reactions?