News for June 2011

29: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

by David Sedaris

another late comer!

this has got to be one of the most depressing books that i’ve ever read on Americana life.

I have read David Sedaris’ work before, well only engulf your families in flame which came out later than this one right here… it’s another set of essays about his family. See how the word family is used in both titles?

there’s a sticker that says ‘laugh out loud’ stuck on the cover of the book, by the library no less to inform me of its hilarity, hilarity will ensue and you better laugh out loud.

oh god.

david sedaris is a great writer, and it’s very funny at times, i’ve laughed, out , loud, SEVERAL occasions.

but for some reason, most of it left me feeling depressed, which is a feeling that i felt at the end of his engulf your families in flames. funny too, but also…very..depressing.

i don’t know why but man, growing up is hard.

Posted: June 27th, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS
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29.5: The Lake

by Banana Yoshimoto

ooh so many things to say, where to start?

No quotes either, i never know how to quote her books, it’s very..flow…? so if you take a chunk out of it, the whole feel that you were suppose to get from that passage is completely lost.

maybe it’s because i’ve been reading too much of her stuff lately so i’m saturated in that..state of mind but this is by far, the weakest one yet.

let’s start off with format: it’s one giant chapter, YES! there’s no breathing space. I don’t like that. I like to breathe, I like chapters I like parts, I like blank pages that indicate that this is an end and an beginning. As much as I understand her point of view of doing it like this but it was extremely contrived.

also, i feel like she’s writing these books out of a formula now.

i read an article a few days ago callled how to write a book in 3 days. And you know it, it’s a freaking formula. You get your characters, you get your weapons, you get your bad guys and you get your dilemma.

I know she’s not one to publish extremely often but there is that sense that it’s kind of become a formula for her.

The first time I read her books was N.P. and it completely blew me away, there was that eeriness that i’ve never experienced before and i really though kafka on the shore was eerie. But it made me so optimistic in a way, it was so fresh, like..okay i get that this is some really sad stuff but that’s okay, you must believe. It really gave off that feeling, such a good feeling.

For me, there’s that incredibly romantic factor of soul mates in her books. That means the characters are off, they are strange, they are anti-social and they’ve all had some death and or extreme childhood/ family trauma. But yet, they find this other person and instead of being doubtful or suspicious they completely throw themselves in the middle of it. WOW! I’ve never read such a sincere beautiful recount of such an honest feeling, it even made me, who hates love, love it.

and it was a beautiful thing to witness. but this book, the characters were completely broken in their own way and they are more broken than ever, but this time, it felt so forced. i got no feeling from the narrator and instead i felt like she was constantly talking for the sake of talking…

there are are a lot of …self-doubt in her books from the narrator / protagonist, and there’s always a lot of, how do i continue to be with this person? and every other time i felt so much sincerity but this time it felt..forced and extremely contrived.

and even the big mystery at the end gave me a yawn since she’s used the same … “thing” once more in a previous novel. So I was disappointed.

and the whole lake thing, not enough detail, it was suppose to be hardcore awesome magical realism, i didn’t get any of it. i didn’t even realize that so and so was speaking out of so and so until i turned the page and really thought about it.

hmm..

disappointed..!

very disappointed

but the inside cover told me it was one of her most emotional work yet…

really?

not saying that there weren’t good parts…but still, contrived..
contrived!

Posted: June 26th, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS
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30: Apocalypse for Beginners

by Nicolas Dickner

i actually finished reading this on sunday night and i didn’t have a chance to properly blog about it.

now i have 9 minutes to speed blog about it so please excuse me if i make any mistakes

earlier tonight someone texted me to invite me to a birthday party from a number that i did not know. but im sure it used to be in my phone? id on’t know actually if it were or not. i thought perhaps it was a stranger, but then i realized that i got a happy new years message from this person.

i never get invited to parties and i mean never so while being timid i kind of wanted to go…
so i lied and said that i accidentally erased my sim card of information and i asked that person who they were

naturally i did not get a response
so im not going to a party or at a party or anything i just want to watch an episode of this variety show before i sleep
and maybe read some The Adults..

my life, tres sad

anyways right
so this book was really interesting…is that a good thing? i’m not sure. i was actually really rooting for everyone but one of the characters started listing a bad of things, and we’re talking about atomic bomb level of bad here, and the last thing that he listed was the People’s Republic of China.

China does have a bad rap in the western media, but i really think it’s one of those situations that it’s like.. oh, if you only got to know us. of course i am not defending it for all the bad things but there’s no need to drag in regular citizens into a political fight.

ther’es this girl at my work place who is Hong Kong descent and I told her how nice people were to me while I was in Hong Kong even though I only spoke english and mandarin. Then she said, yeah to your face. Then I asked what? Then she said, well they were probably making fun of you behind your back, low class mainland people.

yes she’s chinese too..

that kind of thing really irks me. i didn’t say anything and i just walked away but i feel like i really can’t be her friend anymore. but anyways, that’s rare, people aren’t all like that, just some.

this book is about this girl Hope, and her lineage, her whole family is obsessed with the end of the world and she gradually becomes this way too. the narrator is the a young boy that grows up with her and they become good friends and he falls for her at the first sight of her even though she’s not the most normal girl on the playground…

we learn about their life in the 70s..this is in an era when people were definitely scared of things like air raid and had things like bunkers in their houses.

i’m glad we’re out of that phase…(if only)

It’s interesting and easy, each chapter is only like 2 pages so there are 97 chapters.

but i feel like..while the ending is good, the last 3/4 of the book that leads up to the ending is very rushed and much too convenient for Hope. As much as I understand that this is fiction but man…wherever she goes everyone speaks French?

Oh yeah this novel is translated from French and is by a Canadian Author.

everything was great, the china comment irked me a little bit but i dgaf … so…. if you don’t get offended easily like i do it’s fun and also i don’t think i was even all that offended more like surprised because that chapter was set in the 2000s.. so…

why yes this book does span 3decades.

what else to say, umm…. good easy read if you’re bored and want to know how people lived in that time that’s not that historically accurate, also there are some interesting anecdotes about Hope’s family.

12 minutes, good job.

Posted: June 20th, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS
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30.5: Good bye Tsugumi

by Banana Yoshimoto

it’s weird, if I didn’t find out about Banana Yoshimoto through that literary dictionary I would have anyway. A book came for me at the library and it’s Banana Yoshimoto’s newest book, the LAKE it’s suppose to be her darkest work yet.

anyways, it was on the recommended list.

I love it when the library book is so spanking new. I know quite a few people have had their hands on this book already but it still looks so new. Good job everything, good job at keeping nice things the way they should be.

Goodbye Tsugumi was nice, I always say that her books are faintly optimistic. Not at all in an annoying way, like when someone tells you to drink carrot juice because it’s good for you even though you hate it, not someone who tries to explain you the threat of heart disease on women. It’s not at all like that, faintly optimistic, so faint that you can barely see it, but you can feel it, some what anyway.

Tsugumi is the cousin of the narrator, and she’s beautiful but frail and sickly but no she’s not those annoying girls that you want to slap till they get well. No no, she’s spunky and she’s mean, she’s horrible and sarcastic. She’s amazing…

so the entire story basically talks about nothing but of Tsugumi, Maria (narrator) and Tsugumi’s sister; Yoko’s summer together alongside with this boy that they meet, Kyoichi.

A nice pleasant read, nothing too sad, it’s actually a lot less sad than kitchen and the other ones.. hmm

I haven’t been taking the time to record down the quotes, i’m sorry, i’ll try harder if i feel like it.

Posted: June 19th, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS
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Shoplifting from American Apparel

by Tao Lin

Trying so hard to remember what I felt about this book before the internet came at me after my tweet.

I was at the library many moons ago bored and this thin little novel with its look-at-me-now title got me interested and i sat on a red velvet chair (my libraries are nice, we pay really high taxes here – i lied, it was like pink velvet, or maybe even corduroy) and read this book, the first 10 pages or so.

It’s a novella, by the way, so maybe it’s like, i’m trying to guesstimate at 10000 words.

I remember telling several people that I wanted to punch him in the face. Little did I know, so many people wanted to punch him in the face…

Today, I was at the same library, sitting on a bench, bored, so I went to look for his book, of course it’s not taken out, who would take this out. So I went and took this book out, I was writing a bit earlier, re-formulating the plot lines for my fourth rewrite of this one damn chapter. anyways, whatever, i started reading it. It’s so short it’s a very very fast read and believe me, you don’t need any brain cells for it.

It’s very simple writing…

so simple, but not like Hemingway’s kind of simple. I can’t describe it.

Several times, it made me feel disgusted. Not at any of the characters, though i have a feeling that this Sam character is based on the author himself. I felt disgusted because it made me recall several bad childhood memories, several repressed memories…

so i had to stop several times to try and not think about what had happened.

anyways.

so i made this tweet upon finishing..

and then i realized someone new followed me on tumblr!

http://fuckyeahfucktaolin.tumblr.com/

oh..okay, so its a tumblr account dedicated to shit talk about tao lin.

so controversial, then someone retweeted my tweet, so whatever. i don’t really care. but i just think it’s funny, i wonder if he (tao-lin) runs all of these mini reincarnations of himself.

he’s an ‘artist’ more than anything else, all about performance art but some people really hate him.

but i wonder if it’s for publicity.

anyways..i forgot what the point of this was.

um, well, try his stuff if you want to. but i dont know how i feel about his ‘novels’ ….

or his poetry

as someone who might potentially want to be published one day…
i dont know, i just don’t know..

he’s different than people like snooki or that kim kardashian lady, they are famous by default, making them publish books is just good business..

someone who was on a panel with him once said he’s a nice guy that’s just really quiet. I don’t know what that means at all because quiet people scare the fuck out of me. I am not quiet, if i am quiet with you it just means i really don’t want to be talking to you. i’d rather stand deadly silence than make small talk or talk by myself. I hate silence…

I can’t say I hate him because I don’t know anything about him.
Is he a douchebag? I think so because I googled him and the few pictures that came up were douchey looking.

yeah, weird, if from this blog post a few more people read his work i guess his master plan worked. ha ha.

so yeah, okay the end.

Posted: June 12th, 2011
Categories: Uncategorized
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31: Lizard

by Banana Yoshimoto

a collection of 6 short stories.

i keep trying to diagnose, well not diagnose, but dissect her writing.

It’s strangely optimistic in the worst of the conditions. That’s a weird feeling. You kind of know that it’s all gonna hit the fan but while it hasn’t, it’s alright….

I do feel sorry for most of her characters most of the time, but all of her characters make it eventually, and with a soul mate in tact.

nice, she writes a lot about lovers like that, she writes about them as if education/job/status doesn’t matter. Soul mates really exist in her novels.

interesting six little stories.

Posted: June 12th, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS
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31.5: Fear of Fighting

Words by Stacey May Fowles
Pictures by Marlena Zuber

Hmm, I’ve resorted to reading picture books have I?

I both love and hate this book, a lot of hate in the beginning, a bit of love near the end. I’ll explain why in a second but let me tell you about the format of this book.

This is a book that’s divided into 51 chapters and an epilogue in 200 and odd pages.

on why i hate it:

this girl, marnie, who is the narrator of the story is crazy.
why are all girls crazy?
i feel bad saying this because i am a girl…
why does no one write about a chill laid back girl and write about some crazy guy because that stuff does go down..
so anyways marnie..
this entire story is about marnie trying to get over her break up with some guy named Ben. Ben sounds like a dirty grownup that refuses to grow up. He kind of sounds like Andy from Parks and Recreation…
but Marnie is not awesome like Ann, she’s crazy.

why i say that she’s crazy, she does the usual stuff that a guy thinks a crazy ex girlfriend would do.

(this book is written and illustrated by women. i’m not being sexist by thinking that Stacey and Marelna are girl names right?)
this book reads like watching a car crash in slow motion, except it’s not a car crash, it’s your best friend and she’s drunk at 3 am and calling you on the phone telling you about her most recent endeavor and you’re sitting there sleepy and wondering why you’re friends with her in the first place?

near the end of the book she rolls it back a bit and gives us kind of a half-assed ending. Because duh, she recovers, the ben & jerry’s are placed back in the freezer and the bottles of vodka are bought no more.

no fun, let her go nuts, just go nuts.

yeah even marnie knows that she’s a drama queen near the end.

but it’s a very fast read, each chapter is like at max 4 pages with one page dedicated to a drawing…

interesting idea but the writing felt wayyyyyy too forced.

it’s like when i use to be a correspondent for this magazine (in high school omfg 100000 years ago) and i wrote a review of the first Utada Hikaru English (YEAH THAT ONE) album and they put it on their webiste! Some utada hikaru fan site found it and said my work was shit even though i praised the album (only because I got a free copy) and that i was trying too hard.

of course i was trying too hard, i was 16!

anyways, yeah it kind of reads like that…

Posted: June 12th, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS
Tags: , ,
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on loneliness

There’s that feeling of knowing something and not knowing something. The thing that I don’t know is the thing that I think I know. The other day, I felt lonely, this loneliness that I couldn’t really explain. I couldn’t explain it because I was oddly happy. I haven’t been this happy in ages. So why would I be feeling lonely? That’s the feeling that I didn’t know. But I did know the feeling of loneliness, and it felt exactly like that, whether true or not. I thought about it a lot, but it came to my mind suddenly just now as to why I would be feeling lonely. I am too happy to be by myself. That isn’t right, my body is making me feel lonely so I would go make some friends, just so that I’ll go outside. I don’t think my body understands, but I’d rather be this way.
Somehow I reasoned my way out of feeling lonely. That’s too incredible! I didn’t even need any drugs or alcohol!

Posted: June 8th, 2011
Categories: random things that i write
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32: Kitchen

by: Banana Yoshimoto

I feel bad doing another one of her books for this week but they are too easy to read! Seriously, 1.5 hours in a near-drowsy state and i’m done.

i am still reading Life of Pi on the side. No I don’t think it’s a difficult read but it’s what i’ve been reading at work these days.

I really can’t describe the state that her books put me in. For one thing, they’re hella sad. But the sadness is tinted with hope, hope for happiness. That’s really cheesy stuff and normally I scoff at it like nothing else.

People are constantly dying, but I realized for one reason or another, that writing about death is immensely easy. Perhaps people who are bad at facing death in real life choose to write about it instead.

I don’t even have any quotes for this week because that’s how fast I read it and I also was feeling sleepy and I chose her book to not be sleepy. The descriptions in her books are also beautiful; it’s really amazing because she points out very small details about nothing yet they conjure up enough of an image for the entire scene.

I also always really like her narrators, they are always living in a state of distress but the way they deal with things, often by not really reacting to it, is the most human reaction that i can possibly think of.

so much that this one part is too similar to something that i wrote and i’m freaking out lol

ah wells, i really did think of it on my own, funny how coincidences are.

anyways. sorry but also not sorry, try her stuff :D

Posted: June 5th, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS
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