Moving for Love

I don’t usually post twice in a day, but the lines in Ada Limón’s poem above are so beautiful and it is raining so hard that I couldn’t bear to witness alone.

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The Best “Best Book” List

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“The New York Times'” list of the Ten Best Books of the Year is the best such list I’ve encountered thus far. Half of the list is composed of fiction, a category that has been notably, and increasingly, dwindling from book lists. The rest of the “Times'” list is made up by non-fiction works that are international and introspective in their reach.  Not a single book tries to explain the world in terms of money and its flow.

I’d only heard of two of the ten books on the list, one of which I am reading. My plan for 2016 is to read all ten. Can’t wait for January to begin.

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Crazy Wallpaper

  
I’d never heard of Charlotte Perkins Gilman (b. 1892) until I read her short story “The Yellow Wallpaper.”

Now I want to read everything about her, which I hope to share right here. But, for starters, above is an excerpt from her story, which is her most famous work. 

It’s about an intelligent woman’s descent into madness, apparently instigated by the disturbing wallpaper pasted in the bedroom of the house she’s renting with her husband and infant son. 

It turns out the story is highly autobiographical and that Perkins suffered postpartum psychosis.  Her then husband’s efforts to cure her consisted of locking her in a room to force her to rest. No doubt such an ill conceived “cure” only made things worse. 

The story is a quick read and readily available. Highly recommended for those who enjoy losing sight of reality at the hands of a twisted narrator puppeteered by a skilled writer. 

Credit Where Credit Is Due

 Just read the above book review on Milan Kundera’s latest novel “The Festival of Insignificance” and felt like chucking the paper itself across the room. Maybe Kundera’s last oeuvre isn’t up to par with his past works, but come on — show the man some respect!  

When a critic is drastic like this I lose all trust in their judgement and actually feel more inclined to go out and buy the book. 

The End

I finished reading Ian McEwan’s “The Comfort of Strangers” this past weekend and am still spooked. But, it was so deliciously and erotically dark that I can hardly lament its disastrous end. 

I usually stay away from noir/horror but this novel was short enough for me to enter and exit unscathed. Plus, it offers a valuable lesson: keep clear of unsolicited tour giudes, especially if you are hot. 

Kafka, I Tried

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Mister Kafka, I gave it my best, my all. I tried getting through it in waiting rooms, in immigration lines, by the pool, by the beach, on a balcony, at a farm, on vacation, on a Monday, sitting up, lying down, after yoga, after coffee, and even over several layovers. But, it is official. I give up — I cannot read another word of “The Trial.”

As a committed fan, I have taken the liberty of identifying why this book is so, simply put, dull.

  1. Length – Perhaps it’s your editor’s fault. We will never know. But this novel would have worked so much better as a short story.
  2. Lack of Wierdness – Joseph K. takes too long to panic when he is put on trial for no reason. Following a solid start where he is mysteriously accosted by government men, Joseph K. then goes back to work, for months and months, as a bank teller. Not fun!
  3. Formatting – Shorter paragraphs, with generous dialogue, would have breathed fresh air into the book’s page-long blocks of bureaucratic jargon.

That being said, my plans to reread, and re-love, “Metamorphosis” in 2015 still stand.