this was a fast, fun read and - dare i say? - inspiring as well. and also fall out of the bed laughing funny. sandwiched in between are some super smathis was a fast, fun read and - dare i say? - inspiring as well. and also fall out of the bed laughing funny. sandwiched in between are some super smart observations and actual advice about being a woman in any job, especially the entertainment industry. ...more
i bought this because elizabeth is my friend and i was so proud of her for getting it written and published and it getting such a good response in thei bought this because elizabeth is my friend and i was so proud of her for getting it written and published and it getting such a good response in the YA world. but it made me reconsider reading more YA novels in general and especially anything that can be similarly unconventional and honest in the way my favorite books growing up were.
here's what i wrote to elizabeth then:
"i loved that you never let easy assumptions lie, i fucking laughed the hell out loud on a quiet plane when dave wasn't gay and she was so annoyed by that, i loved (of course) that her friend had a not-so-secret girlfriend, and that you layered all this really intense young speculation about class and privilege and where we, like, are and aren't welcome in the world around us just because of where we start off or who people think we are. and the whole evan story was so engrossing, and nerve-wracking in that perfect of ways where i get all tingly and worried things will happen or that they won't or that it might end before i need it to.
i know a lot of my family-of-teachers will appreciate such an honest, fresh take on the neverending confusion of high school and young love." ...more
this book blew my fucking mind. so good. so strong a sense of itself and its characters and its narrative. i need to read it again so i can do any kinthis book blew my fucking mind. so good. so strong a sense of itself and its characters and its narrative. i need to read it again so i can do any kind of review justice....more
i read about 75 pages of this on the "search inside" function on amazon, almost by accident - i kept expecting to run out of pages, but there'd be onei read about 75 pages of this on the "search inside" function on amazon, almost by accident - i kept expecting to run out of pages, but there'd be one missing for every 20 or so. i should probably just pick up the paperback because the perspective and pov is such a compelling point/counterpoint (at times) to generation kill. ...more
The poem's ending is also highly optimistic, a promise to put his "queer shoulder to the wheel," although the original draftWiki just taught me this:
The poem's ending is also highly optimistic, a promise to put his "queer shoulder to the wheel," although the original draft ended on a bleaker note: "Dark America! toward whom I close my eyes for prophecy, / and bend my speaking heart! / Betrayed! Betrayed!"
Which only makes me more excited about my long-ago decision to get "america I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel" inked on myself (today!). it's strangely reassuring to know that even in the middle of that disciplined rage there was desperate despair, too. i first had the idea to make it into a tattoo a little after the 2004 elections, when i felt torn between, you know, "I'm sick of your insane demands" and "I've given you all and now I'm nothing" and yet filled with resolve and respect for Ginsberg, for being a crazy queer in another time and never even trying not to say so. i wanted to honor that radical beatnik perspective, pre-Stonewall, pre-gay, back when we were still/already queer.
our copy of this is actually MIA, last seen in shoemoney haus I, but i did buy it at City Lights bookstore before i moved to SF, so probably 1999 or 2000. can't remember when i first read it, but somewhere around here i also have an audio recording and i remember at one point Ray put this, or maybe one of the other poems from Howl, on a mix tape for me at the very end. ...more
i'll admit it: i had a certain fondness for Tragic Cancer Books when i was younger, all those sprightly but quirky young girls who suddenly suffer thri'll admit it: i had a certain fondness for Tragic Cancer Books when i was younger, all those sprightly but quirky young girls who suddenly suffer through a growing cacophony of confusing bruises and fainting spells only to learn there was some deeper, darker diagnosis behind all the minor medical mysteries. they were glamorous and romantic, i guess -- always romantic, of course.
then i spent the better part of 10 years writing about, advocating around, and fighting against not only the death of friends and strangers from AIDS but also the cliche-ification and trivialization of the narrative of surviving, or not, a life-threatening illness. i've read a lot of books about dying -- i've even read a lot of truly profound, beautiful books about dying. but i can't remember the last one i read that was so strongly presented from such a self-aware young woman's POV.
this wasn't an easy book to read -- i did cry for probably the last 2 hours straight, just tears running down my face, kleenex fisted in one hand -- but it was a very honest and beautiful one. ...more
this book challenged and changed everything I thought I knew about narrative non-fiction and storytelling. it is equal parts mystery and eulogy, a whothis book challenged and changed everything I thought I knew about narrative non-fiction and storytelling. it is equal parts mystery and eulogy, a whodunit with no one culprit but a hundred ways to prove that the most dramatic moments in life, no matter who experiences them, reveal we have more in common than not. (I need to read it again--it's been a couple years.)...more
after seeing stark sands in american idiot on broadway i was seized by an intense need to do nothing but watch him in anything anywhere - which led meafter seeing stark sands in american idiot on broadway i was seized by an intense need to do nothing but watch him in anything anywhere - which led me to finally finish watching the seven-part HBO miniseries based on this book, which led to me finally finishing the book that HBO sent me a couple years back when they were promoting the series. (i'd actually read the rolling stone articles on which the book was based when they were first published, my only timely achievement.)
it probably helped to read this as a companion to the HBO series - i always struggle a bit in war shows to tell one buzzcut white guy from another - but it also left me so impressed with the adaptation from book to screen. not so surprising, given the show was made by david simon & ed burns of the wire/treme, two men who undeniably know how to dig into a subculture and just let you eavesdrop, even if it doesn't always make sense or flow like you'd expect a story to.
there's more of evan wright, the reporter, in the show - he's a character, not a mostly transparent narrator - but deservedly so. this is a complicated, nuanced, painful investigation into the soldiers actually required to carry out a dubious, often completely fucked up, badly communicated, possibly unnecessary war. every soldier is a character, a person, and though there's plenty of larger lens military strategy underpinning the narrative, because no one knows that until after the invasion is over, the storytelling is all in the interaction, in this small group of men trying to make sense of their own role in a giant clusterfuck, to be honorable in the face of confusing, contradictory orders, to continue respecting this machine to which they voluntarily submitted and subjugated themselves to for some larger (usually) reason.
it's rare to find a book and a movie/series that only enrich each other, never detracting with too much "but in the book it said" confusion. there's some conflation, some focus, applied to series, but also i'd say some 90 percent of the dialogue is verbatim from the text. ...more
i have no idea how i got to be 33 years old, have an entire bookshelf sagging with the gay books i've acquired over some omg 17-ish years of collectini have no idea how i got to be 33 years old, have an entire bookshelf sagging with the gay books i've acquired over some omg 17-ish years of collecting and taking classes and i all but have a degree in queer studies, people -- and yet i'd never read any christopher isherwood novels before last month. i don't even remember anyone telling me i should and me having some snarky eh, another old gay white guy response. (i vaguely remember reading some excerpts in a magazine, possibly out, but so vaguely i don't think it counts here.)
after we saw a single man, i read berlin stories, the collection of two novels he wrote (which in part later became cabaret). then i found this book in a bookstore in austin -- i was for a moment incensed when i couldn't find it in "fiction," thinking it'd been relegated into the smaller gay section upstairs, only to find it instead shelved under "classics." (you win, book people of austin. good call.)
here's what i wish someone would have told me, spoiler-free:
this book -- published in 1964, set the year before -- is more forthright, less ashamed, more delightfully lusty and yet undeniably domesticated in its queer love than probably anything i ever read that was written at or before that time (and more so than a great many books written since). i am only shocked at my own surprise and ignorance, and in that delightful way that i always feel when so boldly reminded that we are inventing none of this whatsoever, no matter how much freer we are to live it as we want....more
this is one of my favorite books, and i go back to it every year or so. or i did, until i made the mistake of loaning it to my ex-roommate's barely-lithis is one of my favorite books, and i go back to it every year or so. or i did, until i made the mistake of loaning it to my ex-roommate's barely-literate drug dealer in a misguided attempt to add to his nascent education. SPOILER ALERT: he never gave it back. nikki loaned me her old copy, the first british paperback edition from when she lived in england. the title on that copy is spelled Less Than Zer0. this is approximately 1/100th of what i have to say about this book.
one of the best suspense books i've ever read - can't believe it took me this long. it's not a quick read, but that didn't stop me from trying to makeone of the best suspense books i've ever read - can't believe it took me this long. it's not a quick read, but that didn't stop me from trying to make it one - i read for hours and hours on end, heart ACTUALLY pounding, waiting to find out what comes next.
and the brilliance of it is that you know the ending, or part of it. (historical spoiler alert: DeGaulle doesn't die.) and yet the planning of the assassination, and the investigation to uncover and stop it, and even the day of the attempt are so full of tension that what the "end" is still remains in question throughout. WHY doesn't DeGaulle die? who among all these professional criminals and cops will get a lucky break or make a stupid blunder or simply rely on meticulous planning and hard work.
this is as much a detective novel as a spy thriller, and reads very cinematically. i don't mean in the sense that it's underwritten, might as well be a script. but every scene and moment is SO visual, and the pacing is so strong, that i nearly expected to hear that little "24" sound effect every time we changed scenes.
i like this especially because it sets a standard of competence, but yet exposes all the human weaknesses of relying on individuals or groups. (it's interesting to think how an updated version of this would play out - basically it becomes "24," i guess. towards the end the reliance on speed of human intel becomes more obvious and more of a weakness for the characters - but an evenly distributed one among the criminals and cops. no one has cell phones - everyone has to risk much more to get information they need and wait longer for the results.)
bonus points for a sort of obvious yet still surprising ending....more
saskia called this book "generous" and i still can't think of a better word to describe it. a very smart, detailed inside look at running an independesaskia called this book "generous" and i still can't think of a better word to describe it. a very smart, detailed inside look at running an independent film company during the '90s. great daily production diaries from the making of "velvet goldmine." plus, line by line explanations/summaries of production budgets for various sized indie films.
vachon has a steely fierceness but also a remarkable amount of candor about how often she has to either make shit up or just leap into some unknown. the tone is really set very early, where she talks about the early days of her work with director todd haynes:
Many people think that if you're not in a state of crisis on a movie, you're not really working... When we started making movies together, he said, "Don't yell at me and I won't yell at you. Let's just not be like that."...The amount of time spent trying to blame somebody else is simply not worth it. The bottom line is, you cannot be a producer unless you understand that it's all your fault.
looking forward to reading the newer follow-up. (i'd read parts of this one before but never the whole thing - despite some very dated specs around technology, the underlying principles are totally the same.)...more