You sexist racist man of your time elitist with a big heart and a sensitive, aggressively observant nature and a horrible drinking probOh Fitzgerald.
You sexist racist man of your time elitist with a big heart and a sensitive, aggressively observant nature and a horrible drinking problem all too familiar with death and loss.
I just watched Casablanca for the third time and was struck by Rick Blaine's character (duh). By struck I mean I spent two solid days googling things like "causes of cynicism," because the great non-committal emptiness of Rick is clearly caused by deep heartbreak. And that level of heartbreak speaks to that level of love. Then it all gets redeemed because it turns out the love was real blah blah blah. And maybe that level of love speaks to deep human sensitivity. Humphry Bogart is so good in that movie, when he is in love in Paris, you see someone so deeply complicated allowing himself to feel almost naked joy, fulfillment and happiness. And what a relief that must be to him, and what a relief that must be to his expectations of his life. And how it must have hollowed out all of those places when she doesn't show at the train station. I wish during the movie someone could walk in with an Oscar right during that scene and give it to him. And then also walk in with an Oscar during the scene where they sing La Marseillese and give it to the screenwriter. Or I look forward to the day when my id fully takes over and I ask the projectionist to pause the film and then walk to the front of the audience and scream and howl and rend my garments about human pain in the world. About complications. About life. It would be ridiculous and dramatic and I would have to swear everyone to secrecy and possibly poison them all, but I would finally be living my truth.
“I'm not sentimental--I'm as romantic as you are. The idea, you know, is that the sentimental person thinks things will last--the romantic person has a desperate confidence that they won't.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald
There's something in that with his stories. Something Rick Blaine-y. This book sparked more googling of F. Scott which is all googling I've done before but whatever. What other writer of the time will talk about the dapper Filipinos in Hollywood? Or describe smoke and moments so vividly you feel like you are biting into a triple decker perfectly made grilled cheese sandwich. Is he a wizard? How is he totally dead and lighting up entire sections of my brain and vividly turning me into a rich, delusional Yale graduate who can't commit to women in the 1920's and breaking my heart in the self-caused desperation?
I know there is too much blah blah blah white man blah blah blah, and really the women are objects for him sometimes and he is obsessed with their looks and their beauty and the degree of color in their cheeks and how long it's around. My instinct is "fuck you they're people don't dehumanize them into status-providing widgets" but I wonder if I'm missing something from that. Like what is the symbol of these beautiful women? F. Scott himself was a huge hit with the ladies and very very good looking and so was his wife. What does that beauty buy you? Inner vs. outer? A sensitivity and fear so profound and great that maybe it could be safe with a beautiful woman? Maybe his sex drive trumping his fear is a great freedom for someone that scared? And then when love comes afterwards, is that a healing so profound, so personally redeeming and the power of it is so life altering that any loss of it is a horrifying return to the abyss?
After I howl in front of the audience and everyone applauds and then Marc Maron comes on to sensitively ask me about my howling, I'd just say how much I know how Rick feels in that moment. How much disillusionment and disappointment and how deeply that makes you feel like a stupid fool that life would be rich and textured and open up to you. Thankfully, Rick gets redeemed. In F. Scott's work, you're not shocked when people shoot themselves.
I hope F. Scott is wrong, I wish he lived longer, and someone please point me to really terrific essays about the motor behind his writing....more
Extremely specific book for an extremely specific audience. This audience will love it to death and I would totally recommend for: ivf couples, post-dExtremely specific book for an extremely specific audience. This audience will love it to death and I would totally recommend for: ivf couples, post-divorce couples, breast feeding moms and the fans of wait wait don't tell me. Also hot women.
Listing the men who have said "I love you," for me personally, is possibly the most hostile and envy inducing thing for another woman to do, particularly when we are the same age and there is like such a radical difference percentage wise. Did it almost feel like an ad for anorexia? Yes. This is a small sample of what will make this a challenging read for people who can't relate.
I enjoyed her approval chapters and she handled her divorce really well and empathetically and I'm happy to read how well things turned out.
Just know that there is a very long list of places where men have said "I love you" to her first. If you can think about that and not forget that she is also a child of God and no journey is easy blah blah etc etc I think you will enjoy this book. I turned my personal feelings into chocolate covered almonds and sauvignon blanc. Thank you. ...more
I could stare at the last end paper for one day solid.
Also: the hype. There was too much hype! Ugh! When there's hype like that, I mean?? How can itI could stare at the last end paper for one day solid.
Also: the hype. There was too much hype! Ugh! When there's hype like that, I mean?? How can it possibly live up to it???
A very intimate, melancholy look at little stories of people. Cinematic passage of time almost and time jumps the way it feels in a story that you live. Almost like an outside observer seeing things you didn't when you told the story. Like you'd never ask someone if they got a haircut and what it was like, but if we told a story of ourselves that spanned 7 years or something, or even 3, you'd catch your hair in different stages of length, baldness, color, attempts to be hip, and it would be totally outside of the story you're telling, but somehow symbolizing life and death and change I think. I could give at least 3 solid TedTalks, and 6 TedEx shorts about hair.
Lots of death and failed artists and unexpressed loves. And people acting in a way you'd judge at first but then later discover the why behind all of it. People trying to be invulnerable and good and falling short.
I think this one is a thinker. I feel 13% nauseous, 6% like I hate it, 9% like I want to cry, 12% like I need to stay the numb robot that I am, and the rest unidentifiable.
I'd like to talk about that last end paper and the arabic alphabet. That's how I would enjoy ruining a dinner party at this time.
I was in the market for some chic lit at the airport and was thrilled to find a new book by Marian Keyes. Rachel's Holiday (one of her books) is justI was in the market for some chic lit at the airport and was thrilled to find a new book by Marian Keyes. Rachel's Holiday (one of her books) is just fantastic and fun and a little dark and funny and uplifting. She is a very good writer and I think a fun observer of human nature. I did not like this book and it is way out of her normal swing zone and I'm looking for someone to blame on her behalf.
I'm happy to buy whatever she writes and help her in any way necessary, but someone is polluting the genre and the demon's name is 50 Shades of Grey. I read it, I get it sort of. Marian's strengths are in people's emotional lives and these sex scenes are like--who is bullying Marian? WTF? Her sweetheart main character just casually gets into light S&M? What? Her self-effacing main person has a sex swing that her family members and children see and talk about? Without vomiting? I'm confused.
If you ever want to watch an educational movie, may I suggest Wimbledon? It is probably the worst and most instructional movie I have ever screened. A woman literally goes running in her boyfriends Converse after losing her virginity which went really really well. Afterwards, I was like "ah yes, this is all a fantasy." So a lot of Marian's book is a fantasy, which is what she usually doesn't deal with. Maybe she's sick of real life stuff? Fair enough. I hope not. Everything has an easy solution and generally goes well with light Cinderella themes. So, I guess a beach read, or a confusing book you want to argue about at work if you are a longtime fan. ...more
I started this, put it down, then came back to it and inhaled it. An interesting book that provoked a lot of googling and the possibly inappropriate rI started this, put it down, then came back to it and inhaled it. An interesting book that provoked a lot of googling and the possibly inappropriate reaction I allowed myself to have at work: "yes, hal ashby does look like a hippie. Did you know there was a very hippie looking guy in Canada that painted a room green and locked naked psychopaths inside, gave them LSD and if they wanted to eat, the sipped food from straws coming out of the wall?" So. This book can offer you this experience in your life. I do not regret it, only that I couldn't find photos of that room online and that the guy I was talking to didn't ask me 900 follow up questions. He actually didn't even ask 4. It's hard in an office.
Ronson mentions "the madness industry" a lot, which is interesting, especially in relation to the complicated cases of, well, crazy amoral murderers. Like people who kill again because it had been soooo long since the last time. He also talks about the Puritan fascist zeal and confidence that knowing the psychopath checklist can give you. Which is sort of any checklist.
I also like this quote: "there is no evidence that we've been placed on this planet to be especially happy or especially normal. And in fact, our strangeness, our anxieties and compulsions, those least fashionable aspects of our personalities, are quite often what lead us to do rather interesting things."
What can I say. I just got spoiled by Angle of Repose and keep waiting to vomit up an unexpected hairball when I read his books.
Similar themes, similaWhat can I say. I just got spoiled by Angle of Repose and keep waiting to vomit up an unexpected hairball when I read his books.
Similar themes, similar central sweetheart, weird almost mystery-storyish reveal and I think a bunch of things I didn't totally understand, or just now at this very second am like "oh wait, genetics and fate. Right. Genetics and fate and the hollowness of the idea of one single answer that fixes everything. Oh right."
So I think I read it kind of distractedly which is great because it cuts down on the 3 a.m. emotional tsunami heart-rip-out(tm) and follow up paradigm shift that comes from Wallace. Also I relate to the idea of a marriage and parenting intellectually as opposed to emotionally, so there's that. This is the third book where he's thrilled his wife stayed hot. I get it, etc, etc etc and kind of want to get mad at feminism for ruining my life and making me notice that kind of crap, which feels like a thing giving a man status. I guess is better than "she became a pig." Oh, wait. I just realized that she stayed hot for thematic reasons--it might be part of his genetics point heh. The dad is dealing with the death of his son which is maybe a suicide maybe an accident. What is nature, what is nurture, what is class, what is birth etc etc etc. parenting. Well.
Also this book hovers around the teenager inside all of us and the complexity of the human heart. Grief, loss, all of that good stuff. Lots of the silent generation relating to the baby boomer hippies, which is sort of the idea of middle age and youth. I am reminded of a Joseph Campbell quote. (please re say that very loud and in public where people can be impressed): we are all born, we age, we grow old and die. Now, I actually am not sure if that is a quote from him and I can't find it anywhere via my tool "google." But I saw it on some youtube video, okay? It was good. Maybe if my mom was different, I'd remember, right Wallace?
The list of movies to watch at the back of this book is probably the most surprising and best I have seen. I am looking for it online somewhere. I wouThe list of movies to watch at the back of this book is probably the most surprising and best I have seen. I am looking for it online somewhere. I would never ever ever think I would love Martin Scorcese. I love him. And the Third Man? Terrific.
This is a reference book and I still haven't really read it cover to cover. But what I've read is good. He's British so the list of like "hey check out the onion--it's a great satirical newspaper" will confuse an American. But the interviews are great and I am not sure if it was this book or another one that was like "guys, this is a solitary endeavor so make sure you have someone to hang around with or you will get lonely." Good advice....more
A Beach Read. I read it in like 6 hours in one shot. Not nearly as dark as her first one--fluffy, fun, and good to know she's having a good time. My pA Beach Read. I read it in like 6 hours in one shot. Not nearly as dark as her first one--fluffy, fun, and good to know she's having a good time. My preference would be that she would not list her weight but I will cope. Is she busted for having two different birthday stories where she turns 39? Regardless, very fun....more
The first Faulkner I've ever read. It felt like chaos until 100 pages in.
“...I would think how words go straight up in a thin line, quick and harmlessThe first Faulkner I've ever read. It felt like chaos until 100 pages in.
“...I would think how words go straight up in a thin line, quick and harmless, and how terribly doing goes along the earth, clinging to it, so that after a while the two lines are too far apart for the same person to straddle from one to the other; and that sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words.”
"Ay, best," he said, fumbling again. "It aint the best thing, the things that are good for him.......A young boy. A fellow kind of hates to see.......wallowing in somebody else's mire......." That's what he was trying to say. When something is new and hard and bright, there ought to be something a little better for it than just being safe, since the safe things are just the things that folks have been doing so long they have worn the edges off and there's nothing to the doing of them that leaves a man to say, That was not done before and it cannot be done again.
I read this book right after Angle of Repose and right before So We Read On--that book all about the Great Gatsby. So like a trifecta of love triangleI read this book right after Angle of Repose and right before So We Read On--that book all about the Great Gatsby. So like a trifecta of love triangles with a desirable lady in the center. Before reading it, at a party, someone quietly asked if maybe her boyfriend was bipolar then paused and said "I think it's just because I'm reading the Marriage Plot. But he does have insomnia sometimes."
My favorite part of this book is that it shows all three characters as themselves before the romances, or alone in the romances, or after. If I told you a love story featuring myself, the preamble would have a lot of "I didn't make my bed for some reason" or "there's obviously garlic in my sink somewhere but I cannot find it" and "I keep offering spider plants to people but they don't seem into it" before I met the person who'd make me get dramatic and talk about life possibilities and fireworks. I would be the subject, the guy would be the object. In this book each person is the subject and each person is also the object. There's a point in the book when the woman comes to help out a very depressed guy in his repulsive apartment. We hear it from inside her head--trying to care for him and impress him and seem sexy. And we hear it from his side--he knows his apartment smells because he can't shower and his back is covered with acne. Totally repulsive. And such a chasm between them. Or another time when the bipolar guy's mania kicks in and he and the main woman have mind blowing sex. No one's recognizing that it's a symptom. You kinda understand why they wouldn't want to. The main woman says "oh he's finally being himself" when his mania is kicking in, which makes you wonder about when you say a person is being themselves. Is it only at the most flattering point?
The book becomes an exploration of people's relationships to themselves reflected in their relationships to other people, to love, to their ideals. There are light themes of class and money. And lots of semiotics. I took effing semiotics in college, so I especially related. Some boring book was about signs and signifiers, which is basically the precursor to market research and behavioral analytics that they use so much in advertising. I bet that would be very confusing for my professors.
Gestalt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's what I think Goodreads. Gestalt.
"Have you read Wallace Stegner?" "Who?" "Wallace Stegner? He'Gestalt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's what I think Goodreads. Gestalt.
"Have you read Wallace Stegner?" "Who?" "Wallace Stegner? He's like a western writer kinda guy?" "Stegner, no I've never heard of him." "Oh okay." "Why." "I'm reading this book of his and I want someone else to be reading it."
I finished this in a shitty coffee shop my friend found on Yelp. The bathroom had a full tub and shower and the owner had his motorcycle parked in the hallway in front of the bathroom. It's what you passed to get in there. The owner kept stretching out on the only couch in the coffee shop and told us to just pay him when we left. Our coffee cups were mismatched ikea from probably 2004 via someone who was moving and said "Gustavo, take these." The owner had a ponytail, was balding slightly and was either Persian or Brazilian, but I'm betting Brazilian. My friend was working very hard on a presentation for her job with a laptop and a wireless mouse. A couple and their friend were looking for an apartment and a guy in his late 20's came and sat by us, still wearing the hood part of his hoodie. I didn't realize he was watching something on his computer and the whole time thought he was just sitting perfectly still because he was about to flip out in a psychotic rage.
My friend, who is the most honest person I know, said "I know you're intense, but you try really hard not to be."
These are the reasons I did not fully and emotionally experience the ending of this book. I feel like sitting there with bad posture and crossed legs, I privately experienced a birth and a violent car wreck and filled myself with cat litter and wanted to vomit out whatever tar is within me all over the floor until it was 4 inches deep, minimum. That is dramatic and intense, and I know the Brazilian could handle it. "Nice motorcycle," I said when I paid. "I take care of myself," he said.
When people I know have died, it is so eerie to think "well that's it. That was their life. That's how their life went." And so easy to think of mine as different, as a weird non-path, a place of observation or something. This book follows a man writing a story at 58 about his Grandmother and Grandfather, who he idolized. As the book goes on, you get more and more sucked into the story and into the narrator's life, who the narrator is. All the while finding out who made the narrator, how much hope and promise and loss we all secretly have, or try to paste over. How the narrator gradually realizes his work of art is dragging out something so deep within him, so central to himself that he's accidentally facing his own pride and how much that has pushed people away. Seeing the same things in imagined moments through his father and his grandfather and even his son. He's living as a "these kids today" curmudgeon but with the same open heart, or the memory of that open heart as himself at whatever age when we all felt it was just promise. That big giant heart that uses integrity to protect it, or as something to make sense of the world. The stubbornness that masks deep vulnerability.
So much loops back on itself in his writing, and as the narrator gets closer to the heart of the book, the writing gets more vivid, putting you the reader there, but also seeing how much the narrator is putting himself there. So that you start to imagine why that guy is writing a book. He says, basically "I'm making up a scene here now" and as it goes on and on, he is so fully living and breathing in that scene. Here's a fav:
"The wind pushed them, flattening his shirt against his back, shaping her legs under her skirts and petticoats. There was wild pink phlox spreading in a mat from near her feet into a bay of the sage."
I don't know what the hell phlox is, but otherwise I'm right there.
Or this one, from a July 4th in the late 1800's--
"Another rocket seared across the sky at an angle and bloomed with hanging green balls. Another went up through the green shower and burst into an umbrella of red. Then three together, all white. Then one that winked hotly but did not flower. BOOM! went the cushioning air. BOOM! BOOM BOOM BOOM! BOOM!
You think the narrator is writing about his grandmother, but it's almost really about his grandfather, which is at the heart, truly about him. What is free will? What is choice? What is being a person of culture deciding how the world is--all of us safe and in cities--and what is it to live it? The grandmother believes things without realizing she doesn't really--or that she does, but with a time limit. The narrator is writing a love scene, but he can write it because he felt it, and he knows the loss because he felt it too--so much connecting so many people with a kind of gentleness that is just the desire to understand. And the mystery of "why do I want to understand?" and what is the longing underneath all of it, and how much you love someone, how much that is hiding behind so much. How maybe "look, I want to write this important book about my Grandmother" is really in a layered, subtle, and true human longing type way of saying "I want you to know who I really am, and I don't want to be awful."
So much reality, so little horseshit. So little convenient endings or plot twists, or good guys getting good things, or bad guys getting punished. Such a terrific tonic for thing getting you down, or worrying about being a person because of the news or facebook, or all the times you're laughing and agreeing but there are 900 wars going on inside you, and everything you're hiding. Basically, it fights the tar. And makes you ask yourself "will I be all those people I never knew?"
Here's a quote from the back, from LA Times: "Brilliant....Two stories, past and present, merge to produce what important fiction must: a sense of the enhancement of life."