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QUOTE(mr_falljackets @ Nov 26 2006, 06:41 PM) *

I suspect the college friend that recommended it to me as "the greatest thing I've ever read" of having read only one book.
LOL! Ouch. That bad, eh?

bunny, I loved Middlesex! How are you liking it so far?
I've started damn zen and the art... twice and never finished it... that bad. We were recommended it as part of our philosophy course at school... I liked the story bit, but the philosophy was interminable. Pirsig's written another book, and I'm semi-curious. Mostly to see if it's any better.

I found the more poetry we did, it became more about how quickly we could get through it. I prefer longer poems; I'm dipping in and out of Carol Ann Duffy's Rapture and have been for a few weeks.
Hahahaha... I'm another one who could never get through Zen and the Art..., too.

Bunny! Chugging? What do you think of Middlesex?

I've been reading a lot of NF as of late, so nothing really to contribute here. Thinking of picking up The Best of Everything (Rona Jaffe) for some fluff.
Anyone reading Special Topics in Calamity Physics? Just finished it & I'm still processing... (blogged about it at Right now I'm reading Ursula LeGuin's Wizard of Earthsea.

QUOTE(raisingirl @ Nov 27 2006, 02:10 PM) *

I've been reading a lot of NF as of late, so nothing really to contribute here. Thinking of picking up The Best of Everything (Rona Jaffe) for some fluff.

I loved The Best of Everything, but I really like reading popular novels from that era (like Marjorie Morningstar, Peyton Place, etc.), and love the career-girl story. It's a cut above the rest, even though it's soapy as all get-out. The movie stars Joan Crawford and it's deliciously bad.

OMG, maryjo, that's great!!

I've got to stick up for Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

It works best if you dip in and read his riffs, episodically.

Or maybe it's a generational thing, where I don't see the reason for the divide between mechanics and art, and people don't care about that any more because there are no more mechanics. Ha!

The very idea of a middle-class, educated person noticing and caring how the windows are hung, perhaps hanging windows themselves -- heresy!

Pirsig's amusing segments include:

Going back and talking to DeWeese, the sculptor, and remembering clashes of their mentality.

The overturning Aristotle in favor of Plato, while teaching at the Navy Pier.

The beer can shim.

Annihilation ECS. "I don't even have a hangover!"


Understand that I come from a long line of engineers on both sides of the family. Father's side: farmers who went into factory, Dad who went to MIT/military flying planes/schizophrenic episode. Planted trees, built fences, fixed machinery, pointed out the errors in a friend's house building blue prints, read books, sculpted, got up to go to a factory, and saw no contradiction in these things.

Moms father: Engineer from Neuchatel, Switzerland.

There is still a divide, or perceived divide, between "those who work with their heads" and "those who work with their hands" and, most engineers are non-athletic, but no-one cares about this issue any more.

Pirsig had something to say because he was informing people of other worlds they did not deign to experience.

oh, I don't disagree with Pirsig's ideas. I just didn't like his prose. There were good bits, but... I never could work through it.
Yeah, I think it fits into the category of "cannot just read this straight through, need to dip in"

the way some do.
I just finished Trumpet by Jackie Kay (thanks to mj for the recommendation). I loved it. It's obviously (loosely) based on Billy Tipton's life, but it's more a story of love and loss and longing, and how we never really know another person, regardless of how close we are. Good stuff.

Just started Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. It's interesting, but I find him pretty annoying. But, it'll be a quick read.

Next up: one of the 12 library books I currently have checked out.
Glad you liked it, supersci! smile.gif
I might be 10 years behind but I just finished The Sandman epic by Neil Gaiman. I was shocked at how much I loved it. I adored it. I devoured it in two weeks, and will be rereading it again soon. Such a good yarn, and I am not one for fantasy/mythology except for a few books from my youth.

And I have such a raging crush on Dream. Everyone's crazy for Death, but no. I like mine tall, dark and skeletor appparently. Just call me Dingus of the Endless.

Right now I'm reading Forever Barbie by M.G. Lord. Didn't we used to have a barbie thread, like, years ago? I remember many of admitted to Barbie swapping more than clothes with Midge.

My Barbies were all straight. Unfortunately for them, my Kens weren't.
I'm reading Girlistic Magazine. Feminist, free, and immediate access. Can't top it. biggrin.gif
thanks for that link, femme. i've never seen that mag before. on first look it seems a bit basic, but i look forward to checkin' it out.
I just downloaded Girlistic, too. And, then sent the link to all my friends. It looks great! Thanks, femme.
psst. girlistic actually looks half decent but all 6 of femmespeak's posts are plugs for it. beware, spammer.
yeah, I noticed that too and now upset as thought my favourite thread was getting some action!

eventually finished Middlesex: um, it's not the best book I've ever read. Parts of it were great but I found it dragged a lot and I prefer The Virgin Suicides.

now reading Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere and it's fantastic and shaping up to be better than American Gods (or different, at least. I have an attachment to Shadow which reminds me: in which volume of short stories is Shadow's "sequel"?)
they featured Girlistic on Feministing. It's a good read, and I don't think it's spam, per se.

and besides, better pro-fem spam than spam telling us to go to hell.
Bunny, is it wrong that I am kind of glad I'm not the only bustie who wasn't blown away by Middlesex? smile.gif
COCL, that is a very good point - it's not offensive or harmful.

maryjo, I am glad there are two of us, at least! It was disappointing.
I just bought Thomas Pynchon's new book Against the Day and started reading it. I just love Pynchon. This book is 1000+ pages so it's gonna take me forever, but that's ok, the longer I can live in TP's crazy world.
The only Pynchon I've read so far is The Crying of Lot 49, which was messed up but very good, I would like to read some more and have V and Gravity's Rainbow on the bookshelves.

Still loving Neverwhere and dipping in and out of the first two volumes of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time (going to a Proust reading group tomorrow).
i didn't LOOOOOOVE middlesex but i certainly enjoyed it.

i should read proust again. i've only ever read swann's way and it was a while ago. and pynchon's on my list. oh, so many things are on my list.....

re: spam--regardless of whether it's harmful or not, i still get pissed off on principle by someone coming in here, making no introductory posts at all or bothering to get to know and understand the crazy internet microcosm that is the bust boards, posting the same plug in six different threads, and then disappearing. if femmespeak comes back to have a discussion about this, i'll revise my stance, but for now, i'm saying it's spam and i'm miffed.
Neverwhere was fantastic! Oh, and can any of you Gaiman fans tell me whether Door is the character who is based on Tori Amos? mando, how are you getting on with it?

Now reading Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One (based in a Hollywood funeral home and a satire on the (then) Anglo-American cultural divide).

So, book-lovers, what books (if any) are you giving this Christmas or hoping to receive? I'm holding out for Gaiman's back catalogue and I'm giving Scottish books to my s-i-l living in Vancouver, a beautiful copy of Peter Pan to a friend, the Harry Potter audio books for my lil sis and the Penguin boxset of Sherlock Holmes for the boy (re-issued in the classic orange and cream cover) amongst others.
According to an interview with Tori, Delirium was the character based on her. "Neil thinks I'm really crazy! He has this girl saying things like, 'Suppose there was ice cream in really weird flavors, like chicken or telephone' "
Ah, Delerium is from Sandman, yes?
I read that Delirium was based on Kathy Acker... not that that invalidates the Tori Amos thing, but it's interesting. I like Kathy Acker's work a lot.
I'm 200 pages into Against the Day now, and I'm sucked in.
bunnyb, I haven't read V or Gravity's Rainbow, but I have them so I should really get to reading them sometime smile.gif
maryjo, I read some Kathy Acker book a long time ago--I think I was 14. I can't remember what it was though! In the book she was kidnapped and forced into prostitution... or does that describe more than one of her books?
anna k
I really like Gringa Latina, the memoir of an Italian woman raised in Peru, and Isabella Rosselini's autobiography Some of Me. Both present old-fashioned Italian traditions and make me wish I was there.
I'm having a hard time getting through Love in the Time of Cholera and Notes From the Underground . Great books but... just cannot find it in me to finish them. I'm stuck in the middle parts of both. So I put them down and tried to find something that would energize my enthusiasm. I flipped through The Heart of the Matter, The Magnificant Ambersons and The Big Sleep to see if one of them would pique me. I finally settled on Their Eyes Were Watching God. You'd think I would have read that already back in high school being from North Florida and all but, no. Then again, they used to name the high schools in our district after Confederate generals who became klansmen. So anyway that's what I'm hoping will kick start my waning reading addiction.
I'm giving three copies of I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris. It's freakin' funny, and I think my friends will dig it. I'm getting The West Virginia Encyclopedia for my step-dad. And, Pippi Longstocking books for my neices. I hope I get some books, too.

I just started reading Half Life by Shelley Jackson. Anyone read anything by her? I'm only a couple of paragraphs in, and feel like I'm going to have an extreme love-or-hate relationship with it, but I'm not sure which way it's going to go yet.
QUOTE(superscience @ Dec 11 2006, 10:15 AM) *

I'm giving three copies of I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris. It's freakin' funny, and I think my friends will dig it.

I was about to buy this on amazon but I scrolled down and saw a bunch of negative reviews... I know, I know, amazon reviews don't count, but I hesitated and picked something else. So what's the real deal on it???
go_kayte - I bought a copy of the Amy Sedaris book, and LOVE it. It's got lots of recipes and entertaining tips. Plus, tons of her bizarre humor. If you're a fan of Strangers With Candy or David Sedaris, I like you'll love it. You should stop by a bookstore and page through it; they have it everywhere because it's on the NY Times Bestseller list.
my friends gave a dinner party after buying the amy sedaris book. we ate cheese balls and bacon-wrapped meatloaf and were going to do a craft but got too drunk. i have to say though, i do think she's really funny, but at a certain point i get really annoyed/bored by her. "wigfield", in my opinion, was awful, but only because i've lived in that sort of town and the hipster-making-fun-of-people-and-not-realizing-they're-humans bothers me a lot. she just never stops. i like david better because, as snide and hilarious and mean as he is, he also clearly GETS humanity. and i don't think amy does, i don't think she ever cracks the surface.
I thought Delirium (from Sandman) was based on Amos. Now I am confused. Either way, they are both fabulous.

I am hoping to get more Gaiman stuff for xmass. I am also gifting Amy Sedaris' book to a friend of mine who loves Strangers with Candy. I have flipped through it and it's wonderful. Other books I am giving: On Beauty by Zadie Smith, a biography of an 18th century female gardner (I think it's called Darling Heriott), a book on the cinema of Kirostami for my partner, a book on the art of Mizaki (sp?? you know the animator of Spirited Away) for my sis-in-law.

I think I am going to buy my sister the Amy Sedaris book for Christmas, at her request.

Right now I am reading a good book...Heat by Bill Buford. He is a home chef who begins working as an apprentice for Mario Batali. I love cooking and I love reading about cooking, and Buford's writing style is captivating.
I haven't read Amy Sedaris but I did read Barrel Fever. I just didn't think it was as riotously funny as the friend who bought it for me said it would be. Is there a difference between amusing and funny? Can you recognize the wit of something without it causing you to actually laugh or even curve the edges of your mouth into the semblance of a smile? If so, I'm willing to concede that Barrel Fever was amusing but it wasn't Confederacy of Dunces funny.
Oh, I read the definitive source on the Sandman's "Delirium" character being Tori Amos. It was "Comics Journal" or something, a long interview with both Neil Gaiman and Tori Amos. I should have kept it, but, arrgh, we moved and were tired of keeping magazines.

I'm interested in what I've heard about Kathy Acker but have not read any of it.

I'm glad I am not the only one that is annoyed by the Sedaris' condescending cluelees rich kid humor. "Oh I suppose I should feel guilty that I've been given so much and I'm still such an ignorant lazy fuck-up, but I don't, ha ha ha!! And aren't THOSE PEOPLE ridiculous?" Well-put, mouse!

And so many kind of little snippy guys with wealthy parents who still haven't accomplished much by the time they hit 25 - 30- 40 .... just *love* them.
For the record, the Sedaris family weren't kids-of-rich-parents. I'm sure that Amy and David are super-wealthy now, but I'm not sure where the snippy rich guy thing came from. And, for the record, I grew up poor, and I think they're both hilarious. I think it just depends on your sense of humor.

Mr.falljackets--you should try Me Talk Pretty One Day. It's definitely laugh-out-loud. But, then again, I'm not a huge fan of Confederacy of Dunces... I had the same reaction to that one that you describe for Barrel Fever--I got the wit, but just didn't find it all that funny.

Karianne--have you read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain? I just read it. I found it to be a quick, entertaining read, but found Bourdain to be really annoying. But, my friend also read it, and is now obsessed with him.
I have found that I enjoy David Sedaris' work much more when I hear him read it. I've tried just reading his books, but some of his stories fall flat for me when I read them on my own. But I can hear him read the same story on This American Life, & suddenly it's great.

I never detected any classism in the work of either Sedaris. I always felt that David was just exploring the quirks inherent in human behavior. A lot of David's stories seem to make fun of himself and his family. I'm not that familiar with Amy's work, though, other than the plays she wrote with her brother, episodes of Exit 57, and a few other things.
i haven't necessarily detected classism in amy's work (and please note, any of my criticism is directed only at amy, i LOVE david....and i love amy to a point) but more a sort of disregard of humanity at large. i've met a lot of people like her, actually, and they're fun and hilarious until you actually need them to be serious, and they can't do it. the thing i didn't like about wigfield--which, to be fair, i only flipped through at the library--was the attitude of, sort of, "people like this aren't ever going to see this book, so we can make fun of them with impunity". it's hard to articulate...i don't know. it doesn't seem like an understanding sort of making fun, it just seems mean and ignorant.

that said, i think a lot of her stuff is hilarious, i really do--some of it just rubs me the wrong way, and maybe because i've met so many people like her it doesn't seem as original and groundbreaking as it probably should.
I'm a big David and Amy fan, and I don't think they were particularly wealthy growing up. Solid middle class, I think, but by no means rich.

I think different people react to their humor in different ways- I LOL quite a bit at David's stuff, but a lot of it is more "smirk-inducing" than belly laugh. I like Amy as a person and as a character (caricature?) but I found Wigfield to be a little disappointing. If it was just pictures of Amy in costumes with silly background stories of the characters (which is what I was sort of expecting), that would be funny, but there was all that continuing story and plot in that book (I use the term "plot" loosely there) that was so distracting. I have the hospitality book on my list because it does sort of have a point and purpose, and I like her as this sort of anti-Martha Stewart.

I got about 1/3 into Confederacy of Dunces before I just couldn't take it anymore. I thought it was funny, and really well-written (ever read O'Toole's other book The Neon Bible? Excellent. Don't waste your time with the movie, though) but I just hated the characters so much. It was like that movie Welcome to the Dollhouse. None of them are likeable and there's a small part of you that thinks they all got what was coming to them. I'll try CoD again though. Someday.
Polly...ditto on A Confederacy of Dunces . I wanted to like it but couldn't even get through it.

superscience..I haven't read Kitchen Confidential , thanks for the rec! I will check it out.

I love both of the Sedaris siblings for different reasons. You're right, Polly, some of David's stuff makes me laugh out loud, other bits just make me smile. Amy's comedy is so much more physical than David's and it usually cracks me up.
This CoD/Sedaris thing reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend of a friend once. She was a huge film buff and had just seen The Thin Red Line and Saving Private Ryan which opened the same weekend (I think) and was raving on and on about The Thin Red Line. I'd just seen Saving Private Ryan and thought it was exceptionally moving, so much so that I assumed it would have been a universal sentiment. So I asked her how the two films compared. "Saving Private Ryan was great," she said derisively. "If you like your movies served on a platter."

It's just funny how we take to things differently.
If "simply solid middle class!" is taken to mean your parents move with you to Southern France, and you never have to work a job a day in your life, and you can make "your own" money from "making your own fame" by living in expensive Manhattan and having a ton of media connections and just copying old hipster clich├ęs-- a woman wearing a fifties mom apron!! How "cutting ede" hilarious!! - then I guess they're "simply solid middle class" and "have made all their own money off of just their incredible art, making such sacrifice, struggle, and risk taking", ...... rolleyes.gif

but, that would be MY definition of "wealthy"

Oh yeah, and, everyone will stick up for them at all times. *-- precious! -- * rolleyes.gif

NEVER criticize the privileged! They're just like you and me! You don't need to be wealthy to move to France or live in Manhattan without a job!! Of COURSE not!

They did it all themselves...
--- eta --- Sorry to be pissy, there, and I don't mean any disrespect to people, but I am somebody who really busts ass to use my creative mind and intelligence and public image to escape my small-town, kinda middle class, kinda poverty life.

And people with pampering and connections that are not recognized for what they are is a peeve of mine.

A big peeve. I mean, I feel like I am held by my feet, dangling over the abyss, trying to prove myself again and again, while what I work for is handed off to people straight out of grad school whose rent is being paid for by their folks.

They're the best, by golly. Well, really they're not, and it kind of makes us *uncomfortable* so -- will you just never, never mention it?

But, I respect people's feelings about works they encounter.
I'm confused. I've read a bunch of David Sedaris books and it didn't seem like his family was rich. And then he had regular-guy jobs like moving furniture and being a personal assistant. And I thought he moved to France with his boyfriend? But I guess the rich/middle class/etc classification is all relative.
Wombat, I can understand your frustrations about how difficult it is to make it as a writer, but I still cannot understand this severe hostility towards David and Amy Sedaris.

David and Amy have both worked day jobs. They talk about it and write about it. Hell, the story that launched David into stardom is all about the days he spent working as a Christmas elf at a department store. And Amy has taken many waitressing jobs over the years. She talks freely about it, as well as about her food business that she started on the side as a way to keep a roof over her head between acting/writing jobs. These people know what work is. They may have connections, but it's only because they went out & made those connections themselves. Some of it is luck, of course, but a lot of it is about talent and hard work.

Unless you offer some solid proof, I am inclined to disregard your statements, Wombat. Sorry, but it is just too strongly opposed to information that I already know as fact. If you just don't like their style ... hey, that's fine. But these extreme, venomous remarks ... I just don't understand why you've focused so much of it on these two individuals. Believe me, a LOT of us here have been frustrated & passed over for unfair reasons (my old workplace had some serious issues with nepotism), but in this case I think your anger is misplaced.
i'm not even sure i made it past page 5 of a confederancy of dunces. which i've always felt guilty about.

rose, thank you for reminding me about the christmas elf story. i am in dire need of a good, out-loud laugh.
i so heart david sedaris.

and, you know, not to be pissy, and this is just a thought i'm pulling out of my ass here, but if you write off writers because they're "well-off" and may or may not have had life served to them on a silver platter, you're cutting yourself off from some great literature. i tend to let the work stand on its own.
yeah, they definitely weren't rich. i think that david's parents paid for some of his education and rent while he was in college, but that was in chicago (and chicago is considerably cheaper than new hundreds). when he lived in manhattan he worked as a housecleaner. he also worked (obviously) as a christmas elf, in a cafeteria, in an old people's home--many minimum-wage-type, unglamourous jobs that any child whose parents were supporting them would never have to think of.....he moved to france with his boyfriend when he was well into adulthood--late thirties, i think. i think his fame and success comes from the fact that he's a great writer, not because he was "priveleged". privelege can make things easier, but it can only take you so far.
mando, how did you get on with Neverwhere?

finished reading The Loved One and it was refreshing dry wit so now reading Waugh's Decline and Fall.
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