Friday, June 13, 2008

Stuff I've Been Reading: April & May Edition

I'm 26. It's possible I have a few vital organs that've been less-than-impressed with me for at least eight years, I regularly step into busy intersections without regard for traffic's deadly possibilities, I haven't been to the doctor in two years, my teeth are probs rotting out of my skull, and I live in a neighborhood where two people getting shot is a brief aside tossed at the end of an article about a dude opening fire on a crowd and shooting 8 people on Memorial Day 'cause someone took his basketball. I don't remember the last time I ate a piece of fruit.

I work out every day, but that's only because I'm neurotic and anxiety-ridden and 'cause if I didn't, I'd officially never leave my apartment for days at a time. I wouldn't even know what the weather was like.

So, I figure I've got about 10-15 good years left. If you think about it, that's not really a lot of time to read every book I want to read. At this pace, I'll be 40 before I embark on the most recent round of recommendations, including:

This Book Will Save Your Life (AM Homes)
Crime & Punishment (Somethingosky or Soemehingoskyov)
Shantaram (Gregory David Roberts)
Savage Detectives (Roberto Bolando)
Orlando (Virginia Woolf)
The Yellow Wallpaper (Charlotte Perkins Gilman)
The Night Watch (Sarah Waters)
The Broom of the System (David Foster Wallace)
Class Dismissed (Meredith Marin)
Fingersmith (Sarah Waters)
Norweigian Wood (Marukami)
Electroboy (Andy Behrman)
The Sound and the Fury (William Faulkner)

Is that everything you guys have told me to read? I think so. What if I gave a really bogus recommendation but acted like it was real? If I was like, "You guys, everyone needs to read Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants RIGHT NOW," or like, "Have you ever read Jurassic Park?" We had a convo about Jurassic Park last week actually. Raise your hand if you'd never heard of veloca-raptor-whatevs until you saw the movie/read the book, now raise your other hand if they seemed very real and you used to have nightmares about raptor attacks. Now lower your hands, and gimme a hug. That's right! Hug it out. Model through it. You WORK.

Also; still haven't finished Don Quijote.

Welcome to "Stuff I've Been Reading." Inspired by Nick Hornby's "Believer" column by the same name, "Stuff I've Been Reading" examines the wide terrible gulf between what I'm buying, what I'm reading, and how smart I'm becoming.

The Best American Essays of 2007
, edited by David Foster Wallace
Frantic Transmissions to and From Los Angeles, by Kate Braverman
Have You No Shame? , by Rachel Shukert
Drown, by Junot Diaz

The Savage Detectives, by Roberto Bolano
Final Cut Express 4: A Visual Quickstart Guide, by Lisa Brenneis
Have You No Shame? by Rachel Shukert

BAE '07 was given and suggested to me by someone I'm now prohibited to talk about on my blog, so I'll just say that "someone" lent me this book, "someone" took it back, and now I can't reference it or my plethora of underlined passages. What can I say, clearly if I remembered things I've read, I wouldn't feel the need to cart 200 books with me every time I move. I recall! The introduction was golden. David F-W is a superior introduction writer.

First off; The Dog Whisperer. I'm not a fan of animals, but Malcom Gladwell's essay about the Dog Whisperer was pretty engaging ("What the Dog Saw")-- this master-of-movement stuff. How do I get him to come fix Caitlin's dog? It's his birthday today and he bites people. Do we have to move to L.A. to get the Dog Whisperer's help? Anyone know the Dog Whisperer? Tell me.

Due to my "must read everything in an anthology" rule, I was subjected to several unpleasant experiences in this anthology. All BAEs and Best American Non-Required Readings have the same problem; by the time the book hits the shelves, I already know that the U.S. uses torture unethically and that we shouldn't be at war with Iraq. I'm totally over reading anything else on either of these topics, unless the headline is "We Are Getting out of Iraq today." It's just depressing, and old news. Yet I soldiered on. (Get it? "Soldiered on?")

I was reading this book during some of April's cruelest days, and so my attention was erratic. There's entire essays I don't remember reading, though I know I did. I remember most acutely: a study of stage fright called "Petrified" (John Lahr), "Afternoon of the Sex Children" (Mark Greif) from n+1 and "Shakers" by Daniel Orozco, which was about something I don't remember, it was well-written though. Oh yes! Earthquakes. I think. Sigh.

I read Frantic Transmissions to and from Los Angeles on my way to and from Los Angeles way back in April, which's poetic, yes? The subtitle, "An Accidential Memoir," drew me to it, as did Kate Braverman's oft anthologized short story "Tall Tales from the Meekong Delta." The book was like a long prose-poem about ice cream and streets that got dirty and women growing up and out and the history of a place that seemed all veneer the first time I went there. I like urban history; until I feel that a city has roots in something, it's easy for me to feel it's just all gloss. It probs subtly affected my impression of the city this time around.

Although I didn't think I would -- I really loved this part: Interview with Marilyn Monroe. If you've ever been intrigued by the dichotomy of image and reality, you'd enjoy it too.

At a party in December of '05 (which I barely remember, except for the part where, inspired by the sexual avant garde spirit of the party's host publication, I left with a boy I'd just met 'cause he looked good on paper (Ivy League alum, an artist, rent-controlled West Village apartment, friends w/a nerve editor) and good enough in person, at least that night), I met Rachel Shukert. I was thrilled, 'cause I loved her essays muchly.

In a state of disorderly drunken-ness, the following exchange occurred:

Me: "I really love your work."
Rachel: "Thanks!"
Me: "No, I mean, I REALLY love it, you're one of my top ten heroes. You know what I really liked, that essay where you said, [I go on to misquote a section from this essay about how the author's pissed and confused that her boyfriend's not okay about her kissing other girls]."
Rachel; "That wasn't me. I didn't write that essay."
Me: "Yes, it was, I'm sure it was."
Rachel: "No, it wasn't, I'm sure it wasn't."
Me: "It was you."
Rachel [laughing, backing away]: "No, it wasn't me."
Me: "Are you SURE?"
Rachel: "Yes, I'm sure, I didn't write that."
Me [turning away, muttering]: "I think you did."

Humans generally make those mistakes when they don't recognize their conversation partner; but I did know Rachel's work. Her personal essays reminded me of -- well, mine! -- and I'd wanted to make a real connection to express my genuine love. However, like most situations in which I attempt to communicate love, I screwed up big-time.

In retrospect ... I know why I thought she'd written that essay -- she hadn't. It's cause at the time, Rachel's bio photo on nerve (which's changed now, to something more professional and new-book-writer-worthy) and Carrie Hill Wilner's (the actual author of this essay) both featured girls with long brown hair who looked kinda drunk and maybe Jewish. I have this weird photographic "memory" that lumps images together thematically and confuses me. Howevs, it's possible I'm wrong about this too (their previous author photos), my memory clearly isn't stellar, that's why I keep such fastidious records.

I loved reading Shukert's recent excerpt from the book -- "The Anorexic's Cookbook" -- on nerve and so did Haviland ... and so I bought the book. I ate it real fast. It was fun and light and funny but also sad sometimes and poignant and you should read it. In fact, I'd recommend it for the apparently imperative "beach reads" list so many people are making these days. It got me through a one-hour wait for a prescription at CVS and also affirmed many of my opinions about my overall unemployability. I quoted a large section about temping to Natalie, and even LOL'ed a few times.

Shukert deftly mines a (relatively) unremarkable life for gems of comedy and tragedy -- moments of explosive tenderness and LOLity -- displaying brightly how entirely possible it is to write a solid book without making shit up about being in a cult a gang or spending time in jail after a dangerous bout of drug addiction. Her parents actually seem kinda nice. So, James Frey and all ye like him -- write this down: you don't need to sensationalize. Have you no shame?

RKB's recently done an interview w/Shukert: watch it here and here.

Junot Diaz - "Drown." Beautiful. "The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao" won every award possible this year, "Drown" was shorter, so I picked it up. I've enjoyed Diaz's stories in The New Yorker on more than one occasion, even though I thought I was maxed out on Latino-American lit after taking an entire course on it and o.d.'ing on Cisernos in high school. Clearly I prefer reading novels and stories about suburban housewives with dark secrets or young girls in big cities with lots of opinions and sexual deviance. To really expand my horizons.

In fact, Drown's compact size means I've carried this book all over the country, but hadn't started it 'til (obvs) recently, 'cause I thought: 'it is time.' There were a lot of characters named "Papi," which's always good. His sense of place is thorough and vibrant, his sentences precise and perfect. If you haven't read his work, then you are stupid and should be drowned in the local swimming pool. It will be a hate crime, but you will deserve it. Read!

I just heard a gigantic explosion, what happened? Maybe it's Al Queda.

Thoughts on my Inability to Read as Much as I Should:

I keep thinking I must be missing something on this list; surely that's not the sum of my accomplishments? It is. It certainly is. When left to my own devices, I'm sometimes not such a good reader, and I don't really know what to do about that. I mean -- I feel extra-motivated to start a book when someone near & dear to me forces it upon me, but when people who are far-away & dear, or near & not-incredibly-dear force books upon me, I take my sweet time. Unfortunately that time is running out, so omg, what am I gonna do, someone hit me over the head with a book right now.

I feel guilty as I believe it's my personal life mission to revive the art of reading, which's dying. How do Bookslut and RKB and Sam Anderson find time to read all the books they write about? [Someone] told me that speed-reading is about recognizing words as symbols rather than a series of letters. I've been trying to do that but then I realize I've just "read" four pages and don't remember a thing.

A few other ideas:

Situations that force me to read faster/at all
-Reading contests (e.g., Tipping the Velvet contest w/Alex)
-Someone I'm trying to impress asks me to read something specific
-A new book by one of my favorite authors
-Beach vacations
-The subway/train
-Desperate for writing inspiration, facing "the block"
-Waiting rooms
-Eating a lot in the kitchen instead of in my room, usually a result of critter-related paranoia, requiring a book as I must be entertained at all times.
-Stability w/employment and overall position in life, subsequently enabling relaxation and concentration
-I claim to have read something I have in fact read, but it was a long time ago, and so if I'm gonna keep up with this new present-tense conversation, I'll need to play catch-up fast
-A book totally grabbing me -- or a new writer totally grabbing me

Situations that make me not read something I've been told to read:

-A suggestion being contradicted by a counter-suggestion --
Caitlin: "Don't read This Book Will Save Your Life, it's not that good, but if you want to read it, I own it."
Adam: "I would only read The Savage Detectives if you're willing to give a couple of days/a week to it and just do it all in one big rush. The form is just too confusing/convoluted otherwise. I mean...he pulls it off...he really does have a cast of like 25 characters all of whom have distinct voices and can narrate and contribute...but gah... also, I'll prepare you now, after 150 pages of making you like your rather unlikable friend and narrator he's going to take him away and not give him back for another 300 pages."
Haviland: "I could never really get into Night Watch, I don't think I finished it."

Auto-Win Book Club?

Perhaps I should start an Auto-win Book Club to force everyone to read a book with me, like we're all having reading contest. I know fo'sho that Caitlin and Alex would participate, but that's sort of a My Friends Book Club. The thing is it'd have to be a new book so that no one would've already read it, but it'd also have to be a paperback 'cause I'm not going to make y'all go get hardcovers. Perhaps we'd have to choose a new book in trade paperback. I'll think about this and amend this section. Then if you wanna buy it, you'll click through from here and for every book you buy, I'll make .005% of a cent, and when I save up enough I'll buy a dolphin and we can all go swimming.

Suggestions? FYI; no chick lit, nothing about people dressed in period costumes, no Native Americans or really any stories involving native peoples/tribes especially if it's about the clash of the white man and the natives, no pre-electricity lit, no "Bright Shiny Mornings" of any kind, no spiritual quests in Southeast Asia, nothing by a guy who beat up his wife, no memoirs by television actors and nothing over 500 pages. I'll probs be amending this list too.

Also I have another question; is it strange that while you have a visitor from out of town, it's rude to just sit and read in front of them, but it's okay to watch television together? I understand why this is, but I don't like it.


Adam said...

Wow...I fail at concise.

For the record, that paragraph wasn't intended to discourage; I emphatically recommend the book. It's just difficult and standoffish, and I don't think I would have stuck it out long enough to be rewarded if I'd been reading in fits and starts.

MoonKiller said...

I was going to order This Book Will Save Your Life but then I didn't because I already had loads of books in my basket which I had to narrow down.

I recommend Even Cowgirls Get The Blues and/or Still Life With Woodpecker both by Tom Tobbins.

I always go through phases of only reading a couple of times a week and then phases of reading reading reading reading. I'm in the latter phase now. It started with me reading Fight Club and then when wondering which books to order off amazon I dug my Tom Robbins books out and am now reading two of them and now I've started reading Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas. And in my head they've all sort of merged.

nep said...

Lately, I've had this problem where I am reading like 3 books at once (not on purpose but because I leave/lose them places and then by the time I find them I've started something else). I had to go to CA for work for 3 weeks and I brought like a suitcase full of half-read books. I managed to finish 3 in their entirety, one of which was BA Non-Req'd 2007 and I totally agree with you re the BA series since I had read like half of the stories already.

I have alot of feelings about book clubs, but I think it could be good motivation for all of us. Umm as for book suggestions, I think that Amy Bloom book that came out last year is going to paperback in like a week? Amazon likes to send me emails like 100 times a day so I know these things.

Sidenote: I saw a sign on the metro today announcing a BETTY concert tonight for the start of pride. The girls get Betty and the boys get Christian Soriano. Hahahaaa. said...

LOL -- This post isn't going to help you if you're trying to find a date. LOL

Especially with, "my teeth are probs rotting out of my skull" LOL!

...thankfully you're readers know better. :P

a;ex said...

You were on a reading rampage not too long ago. What happened Marie?!
If we had a reading contest for I Am Not Myself These Days I would've gave you a run for your money... I think I did it in 2 days? What do you think?

Ok, I choose The Yellow Wallpaper next. Are you ready? GO!
We have an upcoming travel adventure... just sayin.

You're teeth are fine, weirdo. But you know, even if they were rotting out of your skull, you wouldn't have trouble finding a date. Just saaaaayinnnnn

caitlin said...

i am totally in for the book club. i suggest kite runner or water for elephants i'll smoke you all.

also pancho says thanks for the birthday shout-out, but he does not want to move to la, something about the plastic people and smog. if we could get the dog whisperer though i feel like all our lives would change. or just mine.

and in fairness when i said that this book will save your life was not good, you said you'd heard that before, just saying, i am not the only one. to each his own, etc.

asher said...

uh. not to fault you (too much) cos i had to look it up to verify i hadn't, in fact, lost my mind. but faulkner wrote sound and the fury. not hemingway.

carry on.

i'd recommend nadja by andre breton. i've read it before, but that doesn't matter. it's kind of like mulholland drive, i still don't know what happened.

A. said...

YES! Top of the list. Take that Orlando by Virginia Wolff... which is also quite good, but I digress. It's going to be internet awkward when you're like "yeah I didn't really like This Book Will Save Your Life that much."

As for reading everything you recommend, I don't think I'll ever read Whores on the Hill. Jurassic Park though...

Currently reading three books at the same time and slowly driving myself crazy:
Veronica - Mary Gaitskill (Thanks)
The Man Of My Dreams - Curtis Sittenfeld
Slash - Slash (A recommendation I had thrown at me)

Maggie said...

I would totes do an autowin book club. I'm reading approximaly three books right now: Lolita, A Wolf at the Table and Born on a Blue Day.
Just to add to your to read list, I would recommend Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres. It's kinda Girlbomb meets Jesus Camp.

ABeos said...

Orlando is totes worth it. Get on that. The Yellow Wallpaper should be listened to and not read (
The Night Watch was pretty good. it has electricity which you'll appreciate, but not one of her strongest unless you're really into post-WWII era british social dynamics. Fingersmith i wouldn't bother with at all (watch the movie - the girl who plays blake in tipping is the lead), but definitely go read Affinity if you haven't already. That book was hot.

caitlinmae said...

seconded on the yellow wallpaper. I sort of despised it, but I was also sixteen and I despised EVERYTHING.

Crime and Punishment is on its way... or will be when i go back to nJ. It might not be sexy enough for you though. I'm having second thoughts about sending it.

Also- is it rude to read in front of someone because you can't share the experience? Isn't it then rude to take someone who knows less about something to a cultural event/exhibit? (I've been trying to come up with an example of this for the past five minutes and have failed three times. Hrm. maybe it's moot.)

dewey said...

I have to admit in the last 2-3 months I have read a total of zero books....well not totally zero, I’ve read Redfern and Skinner's Advanced Geography and a Core 4 maths book, but books read for revision purposes don't count.

I do intend to start reading again in two weeks, once my stupidly large amount of exams are over, but for now all I have to look forward too is The Communist Manifesto and Political Ideologies.

Anyways, my point, I think we should start a book club here on auto-win, but not for another 11 days.

Jo said...

I also vote for The Yellow Wallpaper, but mostly because I believe I was the original recommender. Also, it's short- only 6,000 words. I actually remember liking some of her other short stories and poetry more than TYW, but that is her best-known work I think.

Anonymous said...

Norweigan Wood--Excellent. Start with Kafka on the Shore though, if you haven't read it.

Water for Elephants is good but something about it seems insubstantial. Don't know. Maybe it was just an impression I got of the book based on the person who recommended it to me.

Yay for the Autowin book club idea.

To read more: camping trip, travel, the whole chapter before bedtime schtick, and...painful I know...NO INTERNET. ---blackbirdfly

chaitee said...

I've been wanting to read The Yellow Wallpaper for so long, but need to order it in as none of the bookshops here, stock it. I second whoever told you to read Electroboy too, it's awesome. If you like mental illness memoirs (I'm a sucker for them) - Dying for a Cure by Rebekah Beddoe was really good, it might be hard to track down a copy though.

Have you read Candy Girl, by Diablo Cody? It's an easy read, not like Amazing Literature, but definitely worth the read.

Also, Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body by Jennifer Ackerman was a pretty interesting, quick non-fiction read.

I recently read Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison, and thought it was excellent. Add that to yo reading list, if you haven't already. I also really enjoyed Self by Yann Martel.

And lastly, Amy Bloom's work (whom I discovered because of Jennifer Schecter on The L Word; she writes some pretty cool stuff.

dani said...

you have to read "electroboy" book ever.
drunk as usual.

Liz said...

who ever said books make you smart? did anyone ever actually say that or is it just something my memory made up?! Idea: Instead of working out every day, how about not leaving the apartment and just stay at home reading. might work for a while. Until someone calls the landlord/police cos they think you might be dead cos you haven't left your apartment and a peculiar smell is oozing from it.

book you need to read: The curious incident of the dog in the night-time. It's by mark Haddon. I think you would relate to the main character. I did.

a book club is a great idea. But people might cheat cos they cant finish the book on time and they'll just read a summary on wikipedia and pretend to be enlightened by it.

Haviland Stillwell said...

It's awesome and you can read it here:

also, "bastard out of carolina" and "kite runner" were excellent films.

about 10 people recently have told me to read "atlas shrugged." hm.

Meghan said...

MeL said...

Do not mock the summer Beach Read list. It's much healthier than booze or hookers, both of which are off the summer menu this year. *le sigh*

Also, I may add This Book Will Save Your Life to the "Required!" list for my summer reading. Based solely on your recommendation. So if it sucks, you will be in my debt. I am easily bought off with Oreos right now, though. (See? STILL a cheaper pastime than hookers OR booze.)

riese said...

ok listen up -- what i want is something you haven't read so we can all read it together! as a family, so you can't say books you've already read. THey need to be new books, like the amy bloom idea. Anyhow I am an evil dictator and am going to pick something spectacular, like OPRAH!

adam: No worries, I too fail at concise. I'm not into difficult and standoffish. See: James Joyce. Sidenote, I like the term "fits and starts."

moonkiller: Me too, I go through periods where I read constantly , and though I never have periods where I stop reading altogether, it definitely slows down. I've oddly never read Tom Robbins, though I feel like I should've.

nep: I keep doing that too, reading 3 books at once. Sometimes it's satisfying to find one I never picked back up and start back into it on its own later, like it's almost better 'cause at one time it seemed I'd never give it all my attention and possibly never even finish it. Like The Bachelor, but with books. Oooo, I heart Amy Bloom, I will look into this. I want a bookc-club. I know, it's a good thing I already have a girlfriend who doesn't seem to care that my teeth sometimes fall out in her mouth,.

a;ex: well, luckily haviland the super-saver has included a link for the yellow wallpaper so we don't even have to support the publishing industry for the contest. I WAS on a reading rampage, and you have totally won the reading contest for this month that we were having between our brains to see who's the smartest.

caitlin: I hear the kite runner was an excellent film. As you know, I like all books that involve water or elephants. Pancho secretly wants to move to L.A. to meet the dog whisperer, he just needs someone to tell him what to do like we could have an intervention.

i totally had heard that before, in reviews. You're right. I just like um, being a weirdo.

asher: that is the most amazing error ever for only you to notice. in honour of everyone else being even dumber than me, I'm leaving it. I also don't know what happened in mullholland drive.

a. : what is internet awkward? I know no such thing. I AM ALSO READING VERONICA RIGHT NOW and so is Cait! The secret is; I've already read Veronica. But I just wanted it. well, I'm basically already writing next month's installment in this comment and it was supposed to be a big surprise. I heard "Man of my Dreams" was a dissapointment after Prep, let me know what you think of it.

maggie: You WILL totally do autowin book club.

I love that we're all reading three books right now. Girlbomb meets Jesus Camp sounds amazing.

abeos: Oooo I'm gonna have a multimedia interwebs experience w/the yellow wallpaper. Now all I need is extra wallpaper, and more electricity. I wish that "Fingersmith" was as porntastic as its title suggests. Not like that would make me read it, as obvs my head isn't in the gutter.

caitlinmae: hi! Yeah i feel like Hav didn't like yellow wallpaper either. Oooo exciting for Crime and Punishment! Maybe I will like it.
Yeah, it's 'cause you can't share the experience, but it's so weird still. LIke maybe when people are thinking about why people are more into tv than books, they should think about that people possibly just want stories everyone can experience together.

dewey: Well just wait for auto-win book club, you'll quadruple the amount of books you've read in the last 2-3 months. I forget Geometry, I think that I remember algebra though, and communism, and 11 days, okay. It'll probs take me that long to actually follow through on this.

jo: omg, I could totally just read the yellow wallpaper at the gym! You probs were the original recommender, then you'd auto-win an autographed wallpaper sample from haviland stillwell dot com.

anonymous: You're defo right about the "no internet," 'cause I do read so much on the internet and it takes away. Also, foserious, I feel the same way about water for elephants, 'cause of the person who recommended it to me. but cait was kidding just then when she recommended it. I thought she was serious and she was like "No Oprah weirdo."

chaitee: You can read or listen to the yellow wallpaper online, I am now aware. Someone in a comment thread told me to read Electroboy. I think my next mental health memoir will have to be Marya Hornbacher's new one. I was really into them for a while but am trying to get back into fiction, since I think that's what i want to start reading, and also I think I possibly spend too much time already thinking about mental illness. It's hard though, it sucks me in at the bookstore! I do want to read Candy Girl too. I loved Bastard out of Carolina, one of my favorite books and that's why I read Amy Bloom too and I also loved her.

dani: sober as usual. xoxo. JK as usual!

liz: I am 95% sure from anecdotal experience that I am smarter when I read books, I think it gives me more thoughts. So I don't even need a study sponsored by the NEA or anything.

haviland: I love that you just busted out with two movie recommendations on a book thread. I read Bastard out of Carolina, though the Kite Runner sounds like fun, I like running and kites and haviland stillwell!

meghan: grazi, auto-fun

mel: Oh, I haven't endorsed This Book Will Save Your Life, someone told me to read it and so I need to read it ... hm. Of all of AM Homes's work, I'd probs most recommend the Safety of Objects. I love oreos, but mostly with pinkberry, and hookers and booze, I love oreos, I wish I had one right now. Hm.

rosiethejafa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

On the realz, I was thinking just minutes before I saw this post in my reader that I needed to read a good book, because I havn't in a while, and I have alot of time on my hands these days. Which aids itself in my brain power reading time.

Alot of the books you mention sound interesting, and I'd definitely be down for some sort of book club situation. I don't even have a criteria for suggestions that's how open to it I am.

Also, if you havn't already, you should check out Best American Short Stories - I read it earlier this year (2007 ed.) and I really liked most of it. Like 70/30ish.

chaitee said...

At first I was like, wah, novel online; but when I realised just how short The Yellow Wallpaper really is, I promptly printed it out. Maybe that can be the first bookclub 'book', considering it's so easily accessable? Maybe do a poll for bookclub book ideas? I am well keen for this idea.

Yeah, mental illness memoirs. When I went through a really shite few breakdowns, in a really bad two year period; I found that reading mental illness memoirs could either make me feel not so alone, or make me feel a hell of a lot worse. Some of them are real downers (though, what would you expect really, haha). I found Prozac Nation really intense. It's been a while since I've read a MI memoir, I've never read Marya Hornbacher, but she's on my to-read list. I wonder what the fascination is?

& excellent, it seems we're totally super similar with our reading tastes, so keep on reading and recommending :D

(I'm currently reading My Jewish Face by Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz. I'll totes keep you posted, but it's good so far (if you haven't already read it).

A. said...

Internet awkward is a little like this:

"I may add This Book Will Save Your Life to the "Required!" list for my summer reading. Based solely on your recommendation."

...Muahaha see if it sucks, I'm interupting the lives of at least two people.
(It won't suck because the ending is like whoooa)

ABeos said...

ha! fingersmith has a character who collects porn, but that's about as porntastic as it gets. affinity, howevs, has ghosts and takes place partly in a gaol - which is way sexier. sort of like victorian "bad girls" meets "hex".

also, i totally had nightmares about velocaraptors when i was a kid. does that make me weird? maybe that's really a question for the advice column...

Adam said...

I'm calling you out on "I'm not into difficult and standoffish." See: ...oh wait, you just meant books.

Anonymous said...

you have a girlfriend? inquiring minds want to know: is it semi or cait? or a lucky lady we have yet to meet?

in any event i think the book club is a great idea, let us know what book you choose so we can get crackin. Cheers Xxxxx

riese said...

chaitee: I read Prozac Nation and felt in comparison surprisingly normal and un-depressed. There were so many passages that really struck me, but I also cringed a bit at how vulnerable to attack Wurtzel had made herself in some sections. There was a great article in the Observer I think about how, in the tradition of Wurtzel et al, Emily Gould discovered the hard way how the media chews up smart women and spits them back out, lying seductively on a bed.

I don't know if the fascination is a car-accident thing, or if its just that mental illness is somewhat fascinating when you consider the limits of the human experience on a daily basis. It's our brains taken to an extreme, and the experience is intense and a bit of a breakthrough in consciousness, even when it's negative. I have a lot of feelings about this clearly I should stop talking.

A.: I will read it eventually, I promise. Just not necessarily right this minute. And I do like it. I think the title is prettttty suggestive all on its own ...

ABeos: OOO I like gaols. I also had nightmares about velocaraptors (after reading Jurassic Park), I'll have to check in with Haviland on that one, were you to ask the advice column ...

Adam: Yes, obviously I am into it in people. 'Cause that describes my personality, pretty well. Though not my writing. Ta-da!

Anonymous: OOO, I feel like "Riese's girlfriend" and "lucky lady" are probs not to be used in the same context ... but I guess you'd have to ask her. la-di-da. Semi is my wife, we have a beautiful family!