Some of April
If you've ever felt jealous of how much I read, this six-month period will quell your envy.
Howevs, it's occurred to me that since I read a ton of stuff online in addition to about 20 magazines cover-to-cover every month, it's not that I don't read enough, it's that I don't read enough books.
Probs I'm basically illiterate at this point. Where do I begin? I hope at least 2-3 people will read this blog post and maybe if just one comments I will feel good about life & literature. Hey have you seen Autostraddle? It's so cool! We had a team meeting on Sunday. It was awesome. Right now actually I'm reading Keeping You a Secret for a feature Green & I are working on about YA novels for lesbians.
Everyone's talking about this book Wetlands . It reminds me of how people talked about 100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed , which was about a teenaged girl in Europe who has a lot of "erotic adventures." Wetlands is also the work of an anonymous European girl who talks explicitly about sex, but more explicitly about her bodily fluids, and my number one feeling Sam Anderson is leading a book club on the topic over at New York Mag . In fact Sam says you can participate without having read the book. Here's a slice:
"For those who have managed to steer clear of the hype, Wetlands is an international bazillion-seller about an 18-year-old girl named Helen who is obsessed, above all, with her sexuality and bodily fluids. It's hard to describe the full mind-blowing extent of its raunchiness: Helen puts, among many other things, dirty barbecue tongs, avocado pits, and a hard-boiled egg in her vagina; she leaves a used homemade tampon in an elevator; and once a week she gets her entire body shaved, with a straight razor, by a total stranger she met at a fruit cart."
Have you had your period? Had an orgasm? Experienced female ejaculation? Urinated? Wouldn't it be funny if I suddenly started talking about that stuff on here? Maybe? Anyhow participate!
Speaking of my book club, um, I will update you soon. Brooklyn Boy will be the first to know. Autumn & Brooklyn Boy have both already gotten the book I want to do (Reborn) so we will definitely do it. Possibly looking at a late May deadline.
In March, Tao Lin mailed me some books: eee eee eee (short stories), you are a little bit happier than i am (poems), and bed (novel) and Ellen Kennedy's sometimes my heart pushes my ribs . Before I got these books I liked the idea of Tao Lin and even said to facebook that I wanted to read all of Tao Lin's books but I hadn't made any steps towards doing so besides putting "eee eee eee" on my amazon wishlist which my Mother ignored and probably thought "what a strange name for a book, what is wrong with my daughter" which is actually a thought she has all the time so it's not a big deal. I saved the package in case I can sell it on ebay one day, thought 'i bet everyone does this when tao lin sends them packages' and then i 'felt like everyone else' and then I sat on my bed and stared at my hands until I fell asleep.
The voice got into my head and I felt I 'identified' with the 'loneliness and isolation,' also that they're inventing a 'new literary style' as the critics have said. Tao Lin feels very honest, but sometimes when you read stuff about him it's almost like he's daring you to dislike him. Also he googles himself all the time so he will read this. It's like when I said I stole prescription medication from my mother's medicine cabinet and she called me that very afternoon. I was kidding obvs/maybe.
Ellen Kennedy feels like Tao Lin, but also in a way that is not exactly like Tao Lin, but like the IRL acting out of "Better Together - Customers Also Purchased." After reading Tao Lin & Ellen Kennedy's poetry I felt like all my 'thoughts & feelings' were very important, including my g-chats and my meals.
Before I got these books from Tao Lin I was reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. So I have about 25% of this book left to go. So far there has been a mute who I am pretty sure is gay. Actually I think they're all gay, and I am progressively confused when various characters turn out NOT to be gay.
Before starting The Heart is a Lonely Hunter I read On the Road: The Original Scroll by Jack Keroauc, which Crystal gave me for my birthday because I love her. Or because she loves me ... you decide.
On the Road TOS has about 100 pages of critical essays in the front. Because I'm obsessive about books like that (I don' t think you can say you've read a book when you've actually only read part of the book) I had to read all of them before I started but once I got past that stuff I was on a roll.
The first time I read this book I was 12, it was confusing, I remember only the part when he had sex with a Mexican girl and said he loved love and I thought one day I'd like someone to love me like that.
I read OTR again at 18. I was depressed cause the boy I was dating wanted to date someone else, and my BFF Ryan told me I was wasting valuable brainpower on such things and instead should be focusing on enlightenment. I could begin my journey, he said, by reading On the Road.
So I walked to the Border's Bookstore from our apartment and bought it and read it and Ryan was right, I felt better right away and remembered that the stupid boy would never understand me anyway because he only read Tom Clancy books and had no sense of "IT."
It's one of the only books I've read more than once. The voice gets in your head. The original scroll is even better, and it has more gay raunch in it, and you feel crazy too, but in a good way. This time I read it as a Sancho story. I read it knowing Neal was manic, and wondering if he would've been better off on Depakote, wondering about the children and the wives and if they'd put up with that now, and then that made me think about how people like Neal would be on Depakote now, which is better for his potential wives and neglected children and other discarded children but not as good for literature, and how that's fucked up, and I couldn't really reach a definitive conclusion on that.
I don't know if other people spend time thinking about these kinds of things.
This Book Will Save Your Life , which a. told me to read and I didn't really want to 'cause C. said she wasn't that into it, although I love AM Homes (fun fact: she wrote for the l word before it started to suck). At first I was bored like "oh, it's another book about a rich guy who suddenly has an epiphany etc etc --" you know like American Beauty and Fight Club.
But after the first 50 pages or so I just got into it. Like I started to like the guy in a real way, and care and turn the pages in excitement. I can't explain it really, it just became awfully lovely by the end. I read it on my way to Michigan and back on the airplane and stuff. The voice was good, 'cause it made me write good, like the best voices will do for you.
Just like Music for Torching, could've done for a better ending. But it's a good book, read it!
I also read Two or Three Things I Know For Sure by Dorothy Allison, which my brother gave me for Hannukah (I asked for it). It was short and full of goodness. Dorothy Allison is a very magical writer and I love everything she's ever written. Interesting w/r/t sexuality & storytelling & "honesty," three of my favorite topics.
Cool for You by Eileen Myles, 'cause she's my favorite poet and I think I ordered it off Amazon 'cause I needed to hear one of my favorite writers talk to me again. It was cool to read two tough lesbians back to back, with all their hard experience and coarse shell surrounding poems & near-insanities. Cool for You has a really embarrassing book cover so I had to hold it special on the subway so no-one would see. I quoted Cool for You when I wrote that letter for my Dad in December. About how not all of us are put here to work.
Before that I read The Best Nonrequired Reading of 2007 , edited by Dave Eggers. Again as per ushe I forced myself to read the entire anthology, and this was generally a rewarding experience. I felt smarter afterwards, and had read a lot of stuff about the Middle East.
Before that An Invisible Sign of my Own by Aimee Bender, which I picked up on a reader recommendation for inspirational books I could read during National Novel Writing Month (I wrote over 30K words, but as publishing began to collapse, I began losing steam on it) and though I did like the voice in a Lorrie-Mooreish way ... it seemed sort of small. Like I don't think it grasped anything larger outside itself. I liked it, I did, and I would recommend it to me too, but I've been thinking a lot about timelessness of literature -- like what of all this will last? What's been cast to the wayside from prior generations?
I don't know if other people think about those kinds of things.