Sunday, September 21, 2008
A Little Sunday Reading v. 16 Short Story Edition
I have read a couple beautifully written short story collections in the last week or so. I'm working my way through a couple dense books, so the short stories provided a nice relief. I read Miranda July's No One Belongs Here More Than You. And I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The thing about July is that she is quirky. While I normally love quirky, I often feel she is a bit too quirky for me. Like maybe I'm not getting everything that I should be getting out of her work. Take her movie, You, Me and Everyone We Know, for example. Just didn't *get* it. Spent more time scratching my head and less time laughing. But I found her unbelievably charming despite my discomfort with the movie. Her short stories were much of the same. She is charming. Her stories are just a little bit off. But I enjoyed myself. In fact, I would probably be waxing eloquent about the collection had I not read one of the best collection of short stories EVER around the same time.

Sorry, Miranda, you're getting the bump. I need to take a moment and regale my good readers with excerpts from Simon Van Booy's The Secret Lives of People in Love. I read this book as part of the Dangerous Reading Challenge and I thought I would read a couple stories one day and scatter the rest throughout the month. But! I started reading and could. not. stop. Seriously. I couldn't. I stayed up way past my bedtime and read all the stories in one night. The whole time I was moving toward the end, I was begging myself to stop and savor all the stories. I devoured it all while wanting it to never end. This collection of short stories is fantastic. FANTASTIC. It is both romantic and bleak--often times both in the same story. The language choices are always appropriate and moving. Characters perfectly developed. And the flow between stories could not have been more smooth. I wish I could type in all the gems in this book but I'd be typing the entire collection.

Here is a sample of Van Booy's fantastic style:

A filthy homeless man is squatting with the American tourists and telling jokes in broken English. He is not looking at the girls' shaved legs but at the unfinished bottle of wine and sullen wedge of cheese. The Americans seem good-natured and pretend to laugh; I suppose the key to a good life is to gently overlook the truth and hope that at any moment we can all be reborn.

We walk arm in arm through twilight. Paris never gets too dark, because when natural light dissolves, you're never too far from a street lamp--and they're often beautiful--set upon tall black stalks, each lamp a glowing pair of white balls in love with its very own length of street. Sometimes, they all flicker to life at the same time, as if together they can hold off darkness.

Some daydreams seemed to want to swallow him up for good. Like wild horses, they would follow him in the day and then wander the plains of his dream life, but always upon him--until he would barely remember his own name.

Gabriel wonders how many people occupy one seat in a day, and if the seat could record the thoughts of the occupants, what it would say about human beings.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008
Brought to you by Sexism and Ridiculousness
During some internet browsing, I stumbled on this little gem...

PMS Buddy!

Yes, sign up! Keep track of the biological functions of your dearest female friends and receive advice on how to "handle the moodiness" of women. I keep looking and looking but I don't find any advice on how to keep from being a sexist jerk who assumes that women's anger over any number of issues can be attributed to PMS. But I do find lots of absurdity under the tab "PMS Stories."

My favorite quip so far is from Killer Joe-- "I should just become gay. Women are impossible."

Dear Killer Joe:
People in the LGBT community don't like you either.

Dogmatically yours,

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Wherein I say hello...
And that I've missed you. You know I don't apologize for neglecting this (optional) blog. But I will say that I'm missing the blog. If not the blog, the things the blog is indicative of. I miss having time to watch movies, read for pleasure, and think critically about political happenings. Generally speaking, if the blog is silent, my life is out of whack. I'm not in balance. I'm spending too much time thinking, obsessing, self-loathing and not enough time writing, arguing and enjoying. Alas, I fear this will be the story for the next 9 months or so. My dissertation is staring at me. And, believe me, it has crazy eyes. Most days, I do as well.

So bear with me...and think happy, intellectual thoughts for me.

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I-Tues v. 16
I've made no secret that I love living in the ATH. One of the main reasons is the incredible music we get in this sleepy town. There is so much music here that we miss most of it. Unfortunately, the town is geared toward young people who can go to concerts during the week. Normally, we have a strict NO WEEK NIGHT SHOW rule. It is strict, I tell ya. But D and I have agreed to break our rule. For a week straight. Yes. That's right. We are going to an entire week of concerts. We are naughty adults.

Ladies and Gentleman, I introduce you to Rock-Tober
Monday, Sept 29 - Mason Jennings at 40 Watt
Tuesday, Sept 30 - Fleet Foxes at GA Theatre
Wednesday, Oct 1 - Old 97s at GA Theatre
Thursday, Oct 2 - Avett Brothers at GA Theatre
Friday, Oct 3 - Modern Skirts at 40 Watt

To continue the month of rock, we're also headed to Atlanta on October 17th to see....wait for it...RYAN ADAMS!

To all my Athens peeps, please come along! To all the rest of you, check out all these lovely artists and have your own Rock-Tober!

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