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SkinnyDippingIntoBooks

Skinny Dipping Into Books

I like the rain. I want to have a spring bookworming rain party full out with wellies—but not those Hunter Boots; absolutely not—, with yummy airy things like puffed pastries, meringues, mini fluffy cheese cakes, mousse dessert, macaroon, biscuits, crepe, and Earl Grey tea, definitely Earl Grey tea.  and Tillandsia. We'd have lots of "air plants". Lots! And We'd read, but not anything structured. We'd bring books, trade books, read out-loud, pass books around between sentences and paragraphs. We'd leave with books we hadn't discovered.

 

I like books like I like my Jazz; euphoric, dangerous, occasionally a bit manic, sorrowful, bleak, raging, mood-incongruent, mournful, unforgivingly ragged, symbolic in a quiet way, warm apple pie for the soul. Give me a Plath style. Yōko Ogawa, M. Roach,


Criteria: Not rated on likability of characters. Not objective. I like Moxie Soda; chances are you don't.


time spent in that before bed reading slot:

5-until blurry eye 4-Later than I intended, but I still kept to my extended, extended reading time 3-I really should have been to bed an hour ago  2-customary 30 minutes. 1-book. side table. eyes closed.


How are common themes handled?

5-With an aesthetic that repurposes everyday themes into something fresh. Think of Hole Celebrity Skin covered by Cat Power  4-there is a comfortable air of familiarly.
3-Deja Vu 2. No deviation from its mates  1. Devastatingly trite, redundant, and stale.

Where would you keep it post-reading?

5-Next to my bed.  4-it's the center piece of my favorite bookshelf 3. On my other favorite bookshelf, but it's a bit dusty over their 2-Great cheap bookends 1-It never made it out of the box marked 'moving'.


Emotional response-

5- Where is my teddy bear? Emotional-hangover 4- If I wasn't so emotionally stunted I'd cry.
3. Did James Cameron co-wrote this? Artfully contrived. 
2- calculative emotional manipulation. This was literally written by James Cameron.1- I…feel…..nothing.

Mechanics (plot structure, voice, presentation, word choice, sentence structure, characters, writing style, pacing, and consistency):

5-Chanel 4-Prada 3-J-Crew 2-Gap 1-Old Navy

Currently reading

The Complete Stories
Flannery O'Connor
I am No One You Know
Joyce Carol Oates
Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls
Alissa Nutting, Alissa Nutting

a book that mixes up all the parts and it actually works....

Dangerous Boys - Abigail Haas

This book was all Fight Club like, written in a style reminiscent of All the Birds, Singing and Rachel Joyce’s Perfect. We all gather in anticipation, all small and nervous, looking towards the unknown like Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Starting with a scene filled with blood, screams, and begging it’s up to the reader to continue reading to figure out the mystery behind the stabbing.

It reveals itself, perhaps a bit too slowly, by way of chapter splitting trickery. We start at The End, well not THE END, we find out later it is somewhere nestles between the beginning of the end and the last pas de chat(that’s right, right?) of Ethan, Oliver, and Chloe’s twisted ballet. We jostle precariously, most of the time dragging our feet, from chapter to chapter that flips between ‘The End’, ‘Now’, and ‘Then’. So in other words you have the beginning, middle, end all stirred up in an clear attempt to confuse the reader. While it avoids the shock porn genre, it steers so far in the opposite direction that it misses a bit of oomph. But you have to be thankful, because the shocking twist thing championed by Flynn is so trite.

Chloë meets the confident, adorable, handsome Ethan while doing all the mundane things that happen when working a diner. She falls in love (sorta, kinda) with overly obsessive, seemingly unaware of the concept of 'me versus us Ethan'.

All is well and good, and Chloë can continue on her personal denial and charade of happiness until Mr. Conduit of Evil, Oliver seduces her with all things sinister and against traditional moral code. He eases her into this world, and quickly. The concept is all fine and good, but did minimum wage, boredom, an eagerness to move away from home, and a car that continued to stalled really conceal a psychopath?? There needed to be some nuggets of insanity for me to really accept this without any reservations.

As Chloë remains mesmerized by Oliver’s dangerous behavior, like a magnified glass to an ant, Ethan basically gets stupider and stupider. Seriously, I am not the most perceptive lad, but I can figure out which of my friends is fucking by that thing called nonverbal cues. Of course right when Ethan is going to stumble on Chloë and Oliver’s breach of personal space, Ethan misses it by a split second. At other times Ethan seems to straddle hit-on-the-head-with-cast-iron-pan syndrome, literally misinterpret these situations as bonding. Playing tongue wrestling? Ah look at that bonding—that didn’t really happen, but Ethan would probably think of it that way.

At about halfway through you think you figured it out. But, it must be a complicated, wowing ending that led up to the fire that took up the first five pages. You think… IT MUST, you simple assumptions can’t be what really happened. Alas, it really isn’t complicated, and the last chapter is about as boring as randomly sorting through a dictionary and reading whatever word you stumble upon, or going to a paper mill on a class trip—never been, so maybe that is all fun and entertainment, but still.

The parts do coalesce at the end, and Chloë does make a choice between the devil (Oliver) and the angel (Ethan). It’s just a molasses, subdued boring ending. I wanted to be like “wholly fucking mind-fuckery”, but I was more like “I knew there was a reason it took over a week for me to finish this”. Absent was the emotional content that could have acted as scaffolding, and even with a weak storyline (it wasn't that weak, I mean I did read it) would have helped it stay buoyant.

In the end I was less than impressed, but it did avoid the cliché methodical mold of ‘shock porn’. It is a nice spacer, a cleanser between novels, and there is a population, a younger demographic, that will be all over this thing. It is worth picking up. You really won’t be regretting reading it. It just isn’t that special.