And the Pursuit of Happiness reads like a children's book written for adults. That probably sounds far less complmentary than I mean it. When an authoAnd the Pursuit of Happiness reads like a children's book written for adults. That probably sounds far less complmentary than I mean it. When an author (heck, you can take this to other media as well) takes a style intended for one audience and successfully transfers it over to another, that is a monumental (too buried to be a pun) task.
Kalman writes like you're having a conversation with her and given some of the subjects present, you're probably talking over lunch at a place you never knew existed. Like a hole-in-the-wall Turkish cafe that has more refills than charm and it has a lot of charm. She speaks in small essays on various famous figures in American history, portraying not only some of their contributions but also on the recognition they receive now and how the two do not always match.
AtPoH is whimsical. It's like the first week that you date a girl raised in the Village by Beatnik parents - even the simplest things can appear as magnificent as a dream.
That is my best description - it reads like a dream. But not one of those boring ones that your sort-of-but-not-really friend approaches you with. Like that time in college someone starting hitting my friend because, in her dream, he wouldn't tell her how to jump in some video game she made up. Not like that. It's the daydream you lose yourself in....more
Even though this is all available online for free, I picked up a physical copy because I want to make it more difficult for myself whenever I move. BeEven though this is all available online for free, I picked up a physical copy because I want to make it more difficult for myself whenever I move. Because it reads like a website, it's best not to plop down with your Cliff Bar and scan through the entire thing in one beanbag-sitting. The humor is formulaic, but with very good results - imagine a slightly more sadistic Joey Comeau.
Some of the pieces here are legendary. We're talking dragon-slaying, kingdom-saving, Beowulf-punching comedy here, where the dragons are your sadness, the kingdom is your emotional state, and Beowulf is Beowulf. Metaphors are much easier when things represent themselves.
Some pieces are not legendary. Fantasy metaphors need a plebian caste to handle the harvest and bootblacks to blacken the boots. Those pieces are like the peasantry, not great to look at, but you can appreciate them in a larger context. Plus they'll also die pretty early.
If you average all this out, you get a mean of "Upper Middle Class" and a standard deviation of 2.7. Using a normal distribution, I find that this book is recommended to everyone who has a bitter side. Everyone who, every so often, finds themselves whispering their anger and futility of the crushing world around them. Everyone who ever, as the author writes, "stares at the wall wondering what happy people are doing." By all this, I mean everyone in the world....more
Another book in the series suffering from Middle Book Syndrome, nearly every bit serves as setup time. All the tropes Martin has used in the past areAnother book in the series suffering from Middle Book Syndrome, nearly every bit serves as setup time. All the tropes Martin has used in the past are now becoming overused and predictable now - such as the last paragraph of a chapter shouting at danger that's never really there or is promptly dealt with in a swift manner and never discussed again. Characters have their catch phrases that are repeated time and time and time again. I don't need half a dozen "You know nothing, Jon Snow"s per chapter or "where do whores go?"s. It's like every character is Indigo Montoya and you, the reader, just have to clench your six-fingered hand in a fist and shout "Stop saying that!"
That being said, those are relatively minor quarrels. It's still a solid read on its own.
Just please no more of this "suddenly introduce a seemingly important character out of nowhere!" nonsense....more
If you're unfamiliar with Josh Wilker's baseball card analysis and self-reflection, take a look at his blog (http://cardboardgods.net/). Here, Josh WiIf you're unfamiliar with Josh Wilker's baseball card analysis and self-reflection, take a look at his blog (http://cardboardgods.net/). Here, Josh Wilker tells the process of his life through 1970's baseball cards as if the stages in his life had been the original subjects in the photos and not the particular baseballsman pictured. Each Topps card is dissected so that every aspect, the background, the facial expression, the possible photo doctoring, the stats on the back weave a story tied into the author's personal memories which such seemingly exact precision that I must wonder how many cards the author sorted through to find the perfect moments. The perfect influence. Only here can I imagine anyone having Kurt Bevacqua as their perfect muse.
The familial relationships centered around his trading cards is something I've experienced myself, not only in sports cards, but also in my binders of Marvel Superhero trading cards. Despite having never read many comics, my older brother and father had, and thus could regale terrific stories pulled from 1960's issues of Fantastic Four as I completed a binder page with a Human Torch hologram. This shared fantasy brought about a kind of male bonding through this supernatural physical extravagance that I ultimately tagged along with just to fit in with the family. To this day, I may be able to recite the origin story of the Thor character Beta Ray Bill (great name, only behind Alpha Ray Al), while not having actually read any Beta Ray comic. To me, the character felt purely a creation of my father's imagination and was meant to be cherished, for even then I knew how rare creativity was in my family. When I go home for the holidays, I'll go back through my Marvel sets and see what I find, even if it's just some arbitrary stat ratings so I can compare how strong Ghost Rider was compared to Sabertooth.
There is mention of a Buster who works for the sports monopoly conglomerate. I asked Buster Olney on Twitter about his wiffleball pitches.
@Buster_ESPN: I had a full Wiffleball repertoire, born out of living an amazingly boring and sheltered farm life. @cardboardgods: Think Pedro's repertoire plus a Niekro knuckler, a Sutter forkball, and some Bob Gibson chin music. No fun. ...more
Note to self: Stop reading the bleakest of books during my work lunch breaks.
On the Beach is strangely a light, heavy read. Structurally light, thematNote to self: Stop reading the bleakest of books during my work lunch breaks.
On the Beach is strangely a light, heavy read. Structurally light, thematically heavy. The entire thing is various people coming with the inevitability of their upcoming death!
Having been written in the 1950's, On the Beach somehow makes completely relevant present-day points while also containing some hilariously dated dialog.
Example 1: "We liked our newspapers with pictures of beach girls and headlines about cases of indecent assault, and no Government was wise enough to stop us having them that way. But something might have been done with newspapers, if we'd been wise enough."
Example 2: "He glanced again at the carton of Lucky Strikes, but the captain was right, of course; they would be hot and it might well be death to smoke them."
Having not been alive anywhere near the 1950's, I can't say for certain, but I'm guessing that this was originally a logical statement that turned into delightful irony over time.
Anyway, it's a rather quick read where the character interactions and the burden of obsession between life and death is sure to bum you out, so go on! Read this and see how many different emotions you can feel at the same time! I think I counted about 4-5 at my peak....more
Hey! The copy I got from Amazon came autographed! Either that or one of the guys in the warehouse played a mean prank, imitating Kurt Braunohler or soHey! The copy I got from Amazon came autographed! Either that or one of the guys in the warehouse played a mean prank, imitating Kurt Braunohler or something.
Upon finishing Ravenna Gets, I audibly yelped and launched the book across the crowded Panera Bread I was sitting in, purely as a self-defense measure. I chastised the folks that stared at me, telling them "If you've never gotten this sort of reaction from a book, you need to read better things."...more