Wednesday, February 01, 2017

LA reading or not reading

Los Angeles has the best bookstores. They are big and rolling and usually have cafes. On my December trip, I only went to Stories and, feeling very used up, picked up a copy of I Am Not Ashamed, the ghostwritten Barbara Payton autobiography. I haven't cracked it yet, as the abuses heaped on Payton for being a woman are too close to the bone right now and pulp verve is not the energy I'm looking for these days.

I read Slade House on the airplane, using its quiet British horror to push away the sights and smells of the trip, but also to stall the inevitable end of After Atlas.

Los Angeles was warm-ish but cloudy and darker than expected--good for sleeping and reading, not great for pretending that you are in another life. I finished After Atlas in the vacated house of B's colleague, other peoples' things all around and citrus blossoms on the breeze. The ending felt rushed, and the book felt like it needs a sequel, unlike Newman's previous book in this world, Planetfall. But the heart of the novel, a locked room mystery, definitely held a whiff of the Britishness of Slade House, which was an unexpected connection I enjoyed.

We hit the road and went to Joshua Tree. The National Park (where these pictures were taken) was much more conducive to enjoyment than recording, though I did some drawing of the rocks in the evening, in a quiet cabin recommended by friends. Now the current government is attempting to take away these public spaces, to pretend that selling them, drilling them, sucking them dry is both sane and patriotic and December is very, very far away.

The ride home had me reading Mickey by Chelsea Martin. Though the book had many incisive lines, it didn't build to anything memorable, like the titular boyfriend so hated and desired by Mickey's protagonist. The protagonist--a young, artistic, white lady with (boring) bad behavior--interests me not at all. I get enough of that in my life and definitely don't need it in my increasingly rare reading time. In some ways it was perhaps a perfect book to read on the way back, a reminder that there are other things to do.

1 comment:

the prog lady said...

Beautiful pics! The Payton book is indeed a downer, although I give it 5 stars for sassiness.