Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday Auto-Fun :: 6-14-2008

So, re: Book Club. Ideally, I can find a book most of us haven't already read ... e.g., books that've just come out in paperback. Even better: a novel by a contemporary living writer who I could possibly interview. Obvs I'd have to pitch the interview as if I was not ME but someone cooler, like Deborah Soloman, Oprah, The Chart, Larry King or Lozo.

Another thing ... any books w/blurbs including the following words/phrases are auto-disqualified: Victorian England, Southeast Asia, provincial, Grandmother, Grandfather, dog, cat, bachelor, holocaust, war, widower, the history of bottled water, fish, culinary, Wales, Iraq, family history, lifelong bond between sisters, motherhood, knitting, Afghan, tapestry, villagers.

Here's some ideas, please give me your feelings on them:

No Man's Land: A Memoir, Ruth Fowler
The Emperor's Children, Claire Messud
Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction Edited by Sabrina Chapadjiev, featuring stories, essays, artwork and photography from authors including Nan Goldin, Eileen Myles, bell hooks, Annie Sprinkle, Daphne Gottlieb, Cristy C. Road, Particia Smith, etc.
Girl Walking Backwards, by Bett Williams. (Not new, but I don't know anyone who's read it besides my agent)
I Was Told There'd be Cake, Sloan Crosley
Candy Everybody Wants, Josh Kilmer-Purcell
While They Slept, Kathryn Harrison
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz
My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead: Great Love Stories, from Chekhov to Munro (includes stories from Miranda July, Lorrie Moore, Faulkner, Joyce), edited by by Jeffery Eugenides
Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher

I'll probs take a month to read whatever we pick and I want us to experience the book together, as if we were The Sims, sitting on the couch and watching television as a family while Billy Bob runs into the house plant and Anastasia talks about sailboats and practices her social skills in the bathroom mirror.

The thing is -- and most of you don't know this -- I actually did a report on Oprah in 5th grade. The project required a class presentation, I dressed up as The Winf and related my experiences growing up in the Chi-town ghetto and getting plastic surgery to fix my African nose. I wore leggings, a turtleneck, and an ambitious black-and-white checked blazer. So, you know. There's that.

quote: "Yes, we were stupid for disrespecting the limits placed before us; for trying to go everywhere and know everything. Stupid, spoiled, and arrogant. But we were right, too. I was wright. How could i do otherwise when the violence of the unsaid things became so great that it kept me awake at night? ... All the meat of truth was hidden under a dry surface, and so we tore off the surface with a shout. We wanted to have everything revealed and made articulate, everything, even our greatest embarrassments and fears." (Mary Gaitskill, Veronica)

1. Lozo hadn't even gotten to him yet. (@the stranger)
2. I will take this job if no one else wants it, no probs.
3. Probs a lot of "how to become a millionaire fast" books purchased by people who just got fired. (@publisher's weekly)
4. Really, I just can't get enough. Really, I can't. (@gawker)
5. Via Alex, another cool Mac thing I probs can't figure out how to download. (@lifehacker)
6. Oh, holla. (@tango magazine) (via dirty girls)
7. Right On, Right On. (@emily magazine.)
8. Crazy is the new Gay. (@the advocate)
9. 50 worst sex scenes ever does not include tina-henry copulation. (
10. "I'd always been a night owl, but for years I'd longed to defect to the other side. In my fantasies, I was a Fortune 500-type who threw off the covers at 5 and engineered a hostile takeover by 7. Instead, I generally stayed up until 1:30 in the morning, reading magazines or clicking aimlessly through Wikipedia, waking up grumpy and remorseful at 9:30, if not later. Over the years I'd tried all the usual tactics—multiple alarms, earlier bedtimes, lab-rat levels of caffeine—and nothing had worked." Can a Night Owl Become a Morning Person? (
11. Bonaroo! (Tegan and Sara!) (@nytimes)
12. Women are aroused by everything except dudes. (@nymag)
13. The teen idol is dead, tila tequila and heidi morgan are unfortunately very much alive. (@the fug girls)
14. Revenge of the nerdettes. (@newsweek)
15. We can dream. But then maybe animals will get married. "The rights and privileges restricted to family, they argue, should be given to friends."(
16. Deborah solomon's questions for gore vidal. (@ny times)
17. Haviland and I should take on this format. (@jezebel)


Anonymous said...

Two days ago a friend of mine who is, like, the 85th friend of mine to do so, informed me that I [must] read Miranda July's No one belongs here more than you. (Actually that's an exaggeration because I don't think I HAVE 85 friends right now but whatevs; the point is that a lot of people have told me to read it.) Anyway, I was like, "I'm really sorry but I have A LOT of shit on my table for the next two months so I'll put that on my Visual Bookshelf queue but I'm not reading books again until August. K thx."


Then you come up with this fabulous Autowin Book Club and now I can't say "no". Because, like, sitting around with you and everyone else like The Sims devouring a book, while I dash from airport gate to airport gate and Maui and Kauai and Chicago over the next several weeks? AMAZING way to spend the summer, IMO.

So yes, in other words, I am totally into this idea. I just added Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao to my "Must Read" list like yesterday, so obvs I could do that one, but really any title on your proposed list sounds Fantastic, particularly Crosley's I Was Told There'd Be Cake AND Live Through This: On Creativity And Self-Destruction (TWO of my favorite pastimes ah yeah!).

I will be staying tuned to this channel for more intel! (And to know when and what to start reading, duh.)

Also, I am currently (re)reading Gaitskills' Bad Behavior for like the 85th time (this, actually, is NOT an exaggeration); thought you'd appreciate that.

Also, yes, very much enjoyed the seeming return of Emily Magazine this week, as well.

MeL said...

Oh! Before I forget, if you haven't already read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides... DO IT RIGHT NOW. Okay, maybe it doesn't have to fly to the top of your pile, but it SHOULD. Because it was THAT. GOOD. And I really wasn't expecting to love a book about a hermaphrodite, nor to find incestuous characters incredibly real and sympathetic. My horizons were officially broadened. READ. IT.

The End.

caitlin said...

i vote for while they slept or candy everybody wants . i am upset that my first pick was not on the list. oprah will be disappointed about the surge of book sales her most favoritest books ever will not be getting.

wait, also, veronica is so amazing, i am confused about how i missed out on it all this time, like for reals, sometimes a paragraph totally blows me away. that's all, carry on.

riese said...

Hello atherton and MeL!

I've actually, read both Middlesex and Nobody Belongs Here More Than You! Loved them both, obvs. I'm so edumacated. They were both lovely. Actually Caitlin and I were talking about it yesterday, how so many authors have their novels start out hard to get through (like Middlesex and The Corrections) and it's like they're punishing you to get to the good part, why don't they just start it out with something that grabs you?

OK, Atherton, if you're the only one who's gonna chime in, then you've just casted a deciding vote, possibly THE deciding vote! And it is amazing that you're re-reading Bad Behavior, mine is actually literally in pieces from being over-read. I love her. So much.

I just hope what we can do for ourselves and also for the world is to ensure that The Sims's people are aware that book-reading as a group will raise everyone's little green bar of happiness through the roof! Wheeeeee! Also, I feel like the maui-chicago transition might be depressing.

riese said...

caitlin! Hello, you commented while I was commenting, this isn't unusual for us.

Look you can race with Pancho for the kite runner but I feel like he'll probs win 'cause he's not distracted by sound like you are. Oprah secretly thinks I have great taste!

I know when I first started reading Mary Gaitskill in general, I was like "how did i miss it all that time?" The way she can blow your mind with a paragraph that perfectly describes the human condition using a metaphor so oblique and long and removed from the actual ways people normally talk about how people are you're surprised you followed it but of course you did, it was brill ... that. And her descriptions of people. Also. brill. I wish she wrote a new book right now.

Natalie J. said...

I just gave my girlfriend my surplus copy of 'No One Belongs Here More Than You'. She read it and was like "Even if you hadn't lent me this, I'd totes know it was a book you liked." She knows me too well.

So obv I'd be up for the Stories From Chekov To Someone That I've Never Heard Of, Like All The Other Books On This List, Which I Must Say Makes Me Feel Somewhat Inadequate.

I never got my Sims to read books, unless they needed to learn how to cook, I wasn't having them burn that bolognaise every time cos having fire engines roll in every day was getting tiring. Bring on the easel to learn creativity instead.

asher said...

i'm gonna go w/ my ma's tactic for choosing movies and pick entirely based on the title.

my vote goes to 'live through this'
1) because at first i just thought you were reciting a stars' lyrics, as you are known to do...
and 2) i dunno, looks like a good list of contributors.

so there...
i voted. where's my sticker?

Anonymous said...

WHILE THEY SLEPT by Kathryn Harrison, please. Also, I'm in her memoir workshop at Hunter so that's maybs something.

a;ex said...

Listen, whatever The Auto-Win Bookclub decides on, count me in. I haven't read any of those books (surprise!) so I'm fully okay with entrusting the autp-community with my next read.

Let's get on with it. I'm excited.

You really put the 'fun' in 'auto-fun' today for real.

MoonKiller said...

I think we should all read 'The Bridge' by Iain Banks because it came in the post this morning and I haven't started it. And also I wouldn't have to actually buy another book. I've spent £30 on books this week fo'reals. From here on out all I can afford is bread and water.

chaitee said...

I'll read whatever everyone else wants to read (yeah I was that kinda pushover in school), but really; my best book discussions and reviews are about the books that I passionately hate. So hopefully I'll hate it.

No Man's Land = stripper stories = duh, of course I'll read it (AND LOVE IT, REGARDLESS OF LITERARY TALENT).

I think The Emperor's Children looks fairly shit, goodreads community gives it an average reading of 2.93 which is deliciously bad. Also, one commenter says it's "a gossipy look at spoiled, entitled manhattan". Who can say no to that?

'Live Through This" - I read this far through a synopsis - "...explore their use of art to survive madness, abuse, incest, depression, and the impulse toward self-destruction manifest in eating disorders, cutting, addiction, and contemplation of suicide." before I went, DUH, HELL YEAH. And then I realised I had it on my to-read list anyway. SO I'MA READ IT WITH OR WITHOUT YOU ALL REGARDLESS OF ANY BOOKCLUB.

Girl Walking Backwards looks a bit (I just wrote retarded and had to scrap that, but you know what I mean). Pagans and high school girls cutting with sharp objects. Characters are called Mol, Lorrie, Skye - ugh. It sounds lame. I'm definitely happy to read and hate this one.

"I Was Told There'd Be Cake' - for defs. This is on my to-read list as well.

"Candy Everybody Wants" - defs. I've wanted to read his other book for ages, so I can read both at the same time or something. Just 'cos I can.

"While They Slept" doesn't really interest me. I'll pretend I've read it and write a pretty convincing review though.

The Junot Diaz and the Eugenides ones are on my FUCK I SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT THIS LAST TIME I WAS AT THE BOOK SHOP, WHAT A FUCKING IDIOT list, so FOR SURE. I've been hanging to read these.

"Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher" Good to see you slyly slipped in a mental illness memoir. And dude, to distinguish me from all the other commenters - you may remember me by my lust for reading about other people's mental issues. That's what I'm all about. See, you recognise me now, don't you. We're on the same team. The one batting for all the crazy people to get out there and write about their ills. So of course I'm keen for this one.

BTW, I don't have my own blog. Which is why I have to get my jollies out writing exceedingly long, shite ramblings in your comment section. And I'm not sorry either.

OH, and I'm in Australia. So I need to have like a week to track down whatever book is decided. Because I have to send my order by kangaroo, via barge, to the U.S to get anything decent to read. Unless we choose to go with a Jill Mansell book, there's plenty of them at Borders.

caitlin said...

we're on the same wave length. just a a forewarning, if i don't like the book you/we/whatever choose, i am going to have a MASSIVE sailboat over my head.

supr said...

okay, you have 17 autofun links today, the best being 50 worst sex scenes ever does not include tina-henry copulation, but the BEST involving tegan and sara (i haven’t read any linkd yet)> i am stupid spoiled and arrogant. i wish i could be in the room durint your oprah report. fuckin eh. i will read anything you tell me to./ i LOVED the advice graphic thing. haviland with her diet dr pepper. and you with everything else/. fucking perfect. just fucking perfect. if i had real problems worth verbalizing/writing down, youd be the ones id go to. for reals.

emilymiller said...

I'm not sure if you are into Vonnegut... if so, and if you haven't already, check out U.S.! or Bear vs. Shark by Chris Bachelder - satire at it's finest. I vote for My Mistress’s Sparrow Is Dead, While They Slept, or Madness. I can have 3 votes, right?

Meghan said...

I will try to read any book chosen, especially if it's at my library, though I vote against I Was Told There'd Be Cake because (a) I've already read it and (b) though I enjoyed it thoroughly and thought it was fantastic, I have yet to find much to actually discuss about it other than "hey yeah that part was really funny and/or deep." Though admittedly I've never been part of a book club and wouldn't necessarily know how to book-club-discuss anyway. But if I'm going to be in a book club Auto-Win is certainly the place to do so. xo

Juno said...

I have particularly strong feelings about:

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz

This's mostly because I'm about a third of the way in and finishing it seems the most pleasant way out. Chronically awesome prose.

I also have strong feelings about this desired read:

Veronika Decides to Die: A Novel of Redemption, Paulo Coelho

Anonymous said...

i've always felt like i should want to read the emperor's children but i never got around to it.

and if i may make a recommendation: The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall

description and whatnot from amazon

Haviland Stillwell said...

Riese, where is your Russert link?

shockingly, there are a couple of books on this list that i would actually read! maybe all the way through!

Kim said...

So Riese, hi! We don't know each other. Why am I commenting? Slightly drunk. I just want to say that I hate book lists that are filled with wannabe HOT new writers who give their novels excruciatingly pretentious titles. All the good titles have been used. I prefer to let everyone else read a book first. Give it at least 20 years. Put some classics on the list - Wolfe, Greene, Hemingway, Maugham, Hammett etc. PS - many (most) of the aforementioned writers have books that never touch the awfully boring subjects you have already nixed. Good call btw.

A. said...

Just pick one without a picture of someone half-naked on the front and I'll be happy.

(And don't even think about coming back with "so I'll just pick one with someone completely naked on the cover")

Leah said...

This has nothing to do with books but I SWEAR TO G-D, my Sims name was Anastasia! Miss Beaverhausen if youre nasty...W&G 4 life.

NEP said...

Emperor's Children was meh. The characters all kind of annoyed me and I didn't give a frickin' frack what happened to any of them.

I Thought There'd Be Cake was funny (esp for anyone that grew up in the 90s and/or is enjoying 20-something post-college misery). I'm going to be selfish and vote against these since I already read them and my Sim-self will have nothing to do while everyone else in the room reads.

I vote for Wao. I think it might be a nice addition to my current trio of books being read.

chaitee said...

I just checked back and must say that Wao looks promising, I'm well keen for that, particularly seeing so many others are.

And because it's pretty much my next-to-buy-and-read book.

Dave Lozo said...

man, i point out once how the people who wanted advice from you were in situations that needed no advice, now i'm Negative Comment Jones.

and seriously. no russert love? doesn't your heart go out to him? isn't he your brother, like sean taylor?

ha. heart goes out to him. hey-oh!

riese said...

I'm not responding one-by-one, 'cause I'm taking everything into consideration in my little baby mind and will respond in a more general sense when I make my final decision! Thanks for all your inputs you are all awesomes!

It seems like Wao is the popular choice so far, but that's probs the one author on the list who for sure is way too famous to let me interview him or send me free t-shirts ... but would I really do that ( try to get something from the author) anyway, I dunno. Probs not. Maybe. Hm.

As for Tim Russert, really, you need me to tell you that Tim Russert died? (sidenote; obvs Haviland! you were actually the one who told me that Tim Russert died, lolz) It's the auto-fun of the day where I try to point y'all in directions that brought me pleasure, not recap the day's important news. Also I'm sort of generally put off by the media's obsession with all reporting the death of someone. Has anyone noticed that, like how people will just say a name, to test you if you've read the news that day. "So, Heath Ledger." (pause) "Yeah." (silence). Anyone know what I'm talking about? Lozo does, which brings me to

OMG don't talk about Sean Taylor like that you know he was like a first cousin and a lover to me. And my baby daddy, obvs.

The Brooklyn Boy said...

I vote for The Brief Wondrous Life ...

b/c I need a reason to actually read it after meaning to for so long. Let's do this, ha.

Yay, selfishness! Mememememe.

Anonymous said...

i vote for wao too. but basically anything except messud