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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
Bird Box - Josh Malerman

May have some spoilers, but they are so soaked in cynicism that i doubt they can be easily decoded.

 

I've ordered a pizza. On it I have, The Bear, The Happening, Life of Pi , Snowblind and the Walking Dead.

 

 

The story of Malorie, a woman first introduced to us while cascading blindly down a river, has lived alone with a dog and two kids for nearly four years. Interchangable perspectives assist the reader in understanding the predicament. The steady, linear storyline of her Huck Finn adventure is cradled up to another segment of the story. This second part explains the terrible circumstances leading up to the crisis that envelops what we can only assume is the entire world. It starts with her and her sister, a missed period, death and sorrow on TV, some really creative suicides, and the disappearance of her relatives. She is thrusted away from the safety of her house and into another house, which she blindly locates, somehow, with her exceptional spidey sense (The unbelievability level is akin to The Bear).

 

Then the trouble with the story begins. Other characters enter on the scene, and it appears that the author struggled with the ways of handling a cast of main characters. Trouble arrises when the author employs multiple perspectives. Up until the mid-point range the majority, if not all, of the POV was third person Malorie. However, the author dips into the kettle of confusing when Tom and Jule's outside adventures are covered, and the perspective quickly shifts to them. Why we couldn't have a simple story-telling FAQ session at a table is difficult to understand, as their second adventure is explored in this way. This kicks the chair out from under orientation, and, coupled with chapters that focus exclusively on the present, those focusing on the past fumble the rest of the novel.

While the first storyline, the one with Malorie-super-navigator, is mostly polished, the pacing and overall delivery of the second continues to snowball into a corner of no escape. But it's the little things. The most glaring issue is how she managed to drive, the first blindfolded (or was it closed eyes? i can’t recall), and at another time in a car with black painted windows. It is absolutely inconceivable. We are not talking feet here, we are talking miles.

 

Another element that cut deeply, and built up a thick level of annoyance was that Olympia and Malorie just happened to have kids at the same time, and, when all shit hits the fan, Malorie, fresh off the birthing scene, is able to carry two kids, holding a hand across one’s eyes, while tucking the other under her dress, and descend steep attic stairs WITH EYES CLOSED!

 

The creatures seemed to manifest different abilities, perceptions, and forms, and this had no relation to building the storyline. Yet, it felt like they were frivolous attempts to make the plot more exiting. After awhile it was like oil and water; no matter how much you stir, they won’t ever be drinking buddies. A prime example of this was on the two occasions that animals were affected by the ‘creatures’. It felt almost misplaced, a lapse in judgement, that we only read these two references to the world beyond humans going a nutty. What a specific example? There was scant development towards that bird scene torn right the fuck from Hitchcock-seriously questionable integrity. There is only one other additional scene that would help elucidate this, and it didn’t have enough pulp to support its own, let alone help the reader figure out why animals are now affected.

 

Another general issue was when the creatures started to interact more meaningfully with humans, rather than meander outdoors waiting. When at first they seemed to operate on the peripheral of human life, inflicting harm to those that don’t cover their eyes, at the end they actually have physical contact with a few of the survivors. This shift was poorly represented in the novel.

 

Another, ‘are you fucking kidding me’ moment was Jule and Tom’s outside bonding time. It seemed rather unbelievable that they walked in a straight line for 3 miles. Tom explains that he really went back for a bottle of rum, but also medicine (that we never really heard about again), and a few random tools. Because, you know, NO ONE else drinks alcohol. Oh, they happened to step inside a grocery store, gather up canned food, and somehow, find horns. Oh, and Tom BLINDLY wrote each person’s name on them.

 

Then we have Gary. Fucking Gary! The Merle Dixon of the group. The Sawyer of the group. The Melisandre of the group. S/he goes by many names, but s/he seems to be injected into every single fucking apocalyptic, survival book/movie. In this case we have Gary. He doesn’t do much, but the author’s intentions are clear. He needed someone to stir shit up, just so we would remain engaged as we trudged through the chapters of Malorie saying, repeatedly, “Boy…. you hear something”… “Girl you hear something”. It makes sense, because mid “something (for the millionth time) is on the shore/watching/noise there noise here” I was gnawing my nails to blood. However, his appearance was so fleeting, and the overall objective of this character so utterly obvious and contrived, that it had a gross and irreversible impact on the entire novel. Before Gary I could excuse these little unstructured plot devices and convenient surprises, but the complete absence of literary talent and effort in creating and developing Gary was fucking staggering.

 

Lastly, it just didn’t seem to coalesce. It tried so hard to neat and tidy things, but the inclusion of Tom’s phone message and the weak explanation, the almost removal of Malorie’s blindfold by who knows what, where she is going and why, what happened to Greg, WHY she was so obsessed with Tom, a relationship that was relatively thin, what happened to the various animals important to the story line, and what are these creatures that seem to shape shift to fit plot twists? Ever watch The Walking Dead? this is one of those cliff hangers that are all too familiar. Those ones that just repeat themselves into the dirt, where the group just stumbles into another group, and it ends, waiting for next season, but not before giving you a feeling that something isn’t right. Let’s just hope that something isn’t a sequel.

 

there were piles and piles of these throughout the book, and ultimately, while the book was engaging and had its ‘take your feet off the floor and check under couch’ moments, it failed to reach full potential, and was ultimately fairly unpolished. But maybe this wasn’t all the author’s fault, or his editor, or the publisher’s, maybe his imagination and creativity is a big ole flight risk. If that's true.... put it in a fucking box.