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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

What A sad, lonely ride!

Lungs Full of Noise - Tessa Mellas

NETGALLEY give away!!!

 

 

 

First, what a freaking amazing cover!


I can't decide if I would associate these gems with Salvador Dalí or Degas. They demonstrate a writer skilled in the style of surrealism, but they capture the human sorrows in shades of obscure moments that take time to comprehend, but  eventually raise the most human of emotions; sadness.


Each have elements of the ghastly, the dark and the whimsical. The stories are dreamlike in a distant elusive way. You can clearly identify with the larger themes of lost and sorrow, but it takes a careful mind and patience to notice the depth of each; the shrouded complexities that lay hidden. In fact the little delicate whispers hidden under a ridged exterior hit you harder than the overall subject matter. Pay close attention.

subject matter is sweeping, but anchored in a common over-arching theme.

A story about divorce that was crowded with the vulgarity of defense mechanisms that one only reserves for the most life shattering crises, is shattered and pierced to reveal the remanence of love. Another about the disappointments that lie beneath eager attempt to conform, and the outcome you surely perceived would happen, but pushed from your mind.

Six Sisters; I read you first in bed. I pushed the covers close to my chin and cringed. You felt real. I could reach out and touch your meaning. You ached and I ached. I read you again over coffee. My heart raced along with your deeply  shocking self-awareness. I read you a final time now, even when I finished the book. I ate New York Super Fudge Crunch. Comfort food didn't help. I tossed back the feeling to throwing up. I clutched my fork (ran out of spoons; I am lazy this Thursday, don't judge.). I have never, in my entire life read something that made me feel so real, so honestly exposed to the world. The panic of motherhood that is most likely universal, but feeling so unique to each person, slammed against my ribcage and tunneled into my bone marrow. Have you seen Whoopi Goldberg perform Surfer Girl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owJTQMGYpEc? This must have been the feeling Picasso felt when in the midst of his 'Blue Period' . Maybe you can, but I can not vocalize the white bareness I felt when reading Six Sisters.

"Beanstock" breathed the warmth of love from its lines and paragraphs, rejected the of notion of standardized beauty—there is something bigger here, but I can't isolate it—, and cuddled against me like a down comforter. There is an air of letting go; of being one with change and growing with life, but it's small, and perhaps representing my own distortions. I don't care if I am mistaken, because I really needed a shallow hole to comfort myself against the full on assault of emotions that permeate my skin.

"Quiet Camp" is another one that I surely misinterpreted. I felt that it was about conforming to the standards of a male dominant world. Of sheltering one's own feelings and fervor for life, and attaching to a system of dulled conventionality.

The other works in Lungs Full of Noise" illustrate an author wildly deft at her craft, but "Beanstock" and "Quiet Camp" really explode with a loud roar. The ability to write such complex short stories, and present them in a manner that  that engaged a reader at an individual level is remarkable.

The story "So Much Rain" took me off guard. It most likely deserves a mind that can relate to it; hold it tight in bare hands. I am not this person, and as a result I felt lost within its words. I quickly read this piece, and felt afterwards that it was more an example of teasing out a shapeless unrefined style. I equated it more to an experiment, rather than having a focus on meaning making and the exploration of human experiences as was represented in the rest of the book. It contrasted too greatly against the backdrop of the brisk acidity, texture, depth  and courage of the other pieces. It felt immature, priding itself on its originality, rather than its substance. Its notes remained flat, and unbalanced.

Landscapes in White was a pretty piece. It demonstrated a well developed writer, but the style wasn't crisp and little complexity was noted. It echoed 'Queer' in style, but I don't think this was intentional. I think the author got caught up in the tendrils of lusting for variation, rather than conforming, or rather aligning with the drama—both overt and subtle—of her other works. It was lukewarm and lighter than the rest, with stronger, more forced prose. The light notes of the other works birthed a unique contrast compared to 'Landscapes in White'. This piece illustrated the way the other stories finished strong and powerful without using thicker, more dramatic language.

there are others like 'So Much Rain' and "Landscapes in White", but I feel strongly to restrain the urge to explore them. My experience in reviewing short stories is to examine them side by side; to tease them out and apply my subjective understanding. This collection is for the casual sipper; those able to savor. It would be a mistake for me to trespass on that experience.