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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

My heart wants that week back

My Heart and Other Black Holes - Jasmine Warga

I am not going to say that suicide has become a popular topic, because it hasn’t, and still deserves much needed attention, but there has been far greater instances of it being picked up as a topic. There is a wide girth written about the topic of suicide, particularly adolescent suicide, on the research side. My Heart and Other Black Holes is one such example, and it differs from many of the other novel available in that it is YA. My Heart and Other Black Holes is about 16-year-old Aysel, a math wiz, dork, and overall outcast. She is introspective, but when offered an opportunity to interact with others doesn't have any particular hesitation. Looming over Aysel’s head, and swirling in her subconscious is the ‘event’, the thing her father did. the awful thing. the, ultimately, poorly constructed, lackluster, and silly thing that has pushed her towards suicide idealation. Everyone, from students to the community shun her, furthering her feelings of isolation, and her mother has remarried, casting Aysel aside. The mother-daughter relationship is basic, and left me wanting more. Enter Roman. I particularly hate this name, so that didn't help anything. He is your manly, two dimensional personality like that of your uncle that is sitting on a worn couch when you visit, and likes to talk about the timing it takes to grill a burger, which inevitably means you are drunk on whisky just enough to phase him out. He is, even though i hate this word equally with the name Roman, angsty. the sort of nephew that wears a wool hat inside, and you are so tempted to give him a face wedgy (yeah. I am making it a thing). Remarkably enough, through a brief, cursorily browsing on a suicide partner website (they exist, and i don't know if I'm frightened by this or not), they find they are in close proximity. The small town is booming with this weird, again hick-esque, ‘friday night lights' sort of obsession with football that, that uncle above would salivate over. Cheer leaders, sports participants, pretty people, they all hail as dominant soldiers in the adolescent world. Roman is one of these, or at least he used to be, and the attention he gets worries Aysel, and she questions Roman intentions. Off to a rough start, as you can imagine planning killing yourself w/ someone else would be, they slowly puzzle piece with one another—although much of these pieces are shoved together. 
They pick a location, pick a time, well R does, which coincides with the date of the incident causal for his wish to commit suicide. And everything sets off in motion. There were other people out there in Aysel’s world. There were tiny, almost indistinguishable reason behind Aysel’s mother’s complete disregard for her daughter, and with a dynamic this poorly hashed out, with a topic of suicide, it was almost criminal. Beyond that was the step-daughter. Of course we need a counterpart to sad clown Aysel’s, and this is where darling gorgeous, desired (whatever her name was) comes in, and it was this contrast that I felt dragged depressed people into an area of ‘lesser than’, of not being desirable, of being easily ignored. We see this all to often in young adult lit AND WAY OFTEN in adult lit; the depressed person that is faulty beyond his/her emotional state and it’s incredibly shitty of the author. It’s just so bloody lazy, Warga. The weird dynamic reminded me of the sisters in Tell the Wolves I'm Home. Oh, Oh…. then we have Roman’s (puke… still hating on that name) mother. That mother that lushes over her son, all concerned because, again, in Warga’s world of stripping character sheets from the wall of, ‘Stack Overflow’, we need a direct contrast to Aysel’s mother. Concern. bonded. Love exuding from every pore. And it gets sickly boring. The novel meanders, all these little mistakes, trivial, redundant tropes, and contrivances along the way, and with that the continued reference to the ‘blackness’ in Aysel, because, we get it, we need to really ramp up the meaning behind that title. But… But…. Jay there were these… all of these… “What people never understand is that depression isn't about the outside; it's about the inside. Something inside me is wrong. Sure, there are things in my life that make me feel alone, but nothing makes me feel more isolated and terrified than my own voice in my head.” and this one: "Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and your blood. If I know anything about it, this is what I know: It’s impossible to escape. “ and then this one: “I spend a lot of time wondering what dying feels like. What dying sounds like. If I’ll burst like those notes, let out my last cries of pain, and then go silent forever. Or maybe I’ll turn into a shadowy static that’s barely there, if you just listen hard enough. “ which i think really slams down hard the conflict between killing yourself and not killing yourself. Way after the faults in ‘living for others’,— being so steeped in thoughts of suicide amplifies just how much that notion, of living for others being paramount, revolves around shame and the way people can't really understand why a person would need to/want to kill him/herself—become blindly clear, is the torture of before/while/after. And the above quotes really ‘gets it’. See that, that there? that’s real writing, and a steep contrast to: “I wonder if […] had the same black slug inside […]”, “if you cut open my stomach, the black slug of depression would slide out.” “The black slug lives inside FrozenRobot.” “Good job, black slug.” Eight references in all. Maybe I’m wrong; maybe teens replace the word ‘depressed’ with some sort of metaphor. It’s like… you get it, author…. oh wait… you don’t… There are of course the equally careless moments when you get that whole ‘romanticizing suicide’. Look, I don't believe in this whole way of conceptualizing difficult subjects, and disagree with some people who continue to use this label as a way that may or may not reference their own subjective experiences with mental health. And I get it; when you suffered and others haven't really ‘gotten it’ it’s a slap in the face to see it in any terms that may favor the feeling(s) you get when you really get it… right? So this… "You're you. You get it. you get all of it. And you're sad like me, and screwed up as that is, it's pretty beautiful." He reaches over and brushes his hand across my face, touching my hair. "You're like a gray sky. You're beautiful, even though you don't want to be.” and this… ““There’s something poetic about the fact that the first boy to ever ask for my number is the same boy I’m going to die with.” …wouldn’t really sandpaper my skin, except for the fact that one thing in particular didn't really happen in this book, and that is a full examination of suicide. Yeah we got the darkness. Yeah we got the internal monologue. Yeah we got the shame, to some extent. But what else beyond some superficial scrapping of the topic,what else beyond that which has ALWAYS been explored in novels circling suicide, did we really learn… did we really carry with us? barely anything. Equally important, and this is where I’ll slip my hand around the phrase “Romanticizing (bla bla)”, is the genre. This is young adult, and while this genre is all the hot stuff with adults, young adults will find this book. young adults will read it. It’s in the young adult section. It’s on the young adult lists. It’s one of the rare books in this genre that focuses on suicide. So this quote: "You're you. You get it. you get all of it. And you're sad like me, and screwed up as that is, it's pretty beautiful." He reaches over and brushes his hand across my face, touching my hair. "You're like a gray sky. You're beautiful, even though you don't want to be.” Really gives me pause. Sure, the mutual connect, and that feeling of bridging the gap between ‘this is only me. i am the only one that feels this way’ and ‘someone understands. I am not a unique butterfly’, is valuable, and really genuine shit for anyone whose actually been depressed, and talked to a friend who really, truly has been depressed, and furthermore those in support groups. Because those are options, right? So i don't know, given the wide utility of the notion of ‘i share this with someone else’ what my issue is, but perhaps it’s that every other thing in this book had some sort of counter weight, that it had a fat finger on my ‘potential trigger’, bell. Side note, author, if you would have broached this in a therapy setter, then, right, you could have easily injected a lazy, ‘but…”. But, Jay, are you forgetting these?: “"My teacher, Mrs. Marks, makes this big production out of trying to decode what the poets were saying.From my perspective, it’s pretty clear:I’m depressed and I want to die. It’s painful to watch all my classmates tear apart each line, looking for the significance. There’s no significance.Anyone who has actually been that sad can tell you that there’s nothing beautiful or literary or mysterious about depression.” Yes, but readers of review, I wanted, think there needed to be a bit more of the above. Then this gem of a “WTFFFF” “Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each others' broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together.” and the fucking ending...