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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

drown me in your summer house pool

Summer House with Swimming Pool - Herman Koch

Goodreads physical copy win.

Also, Netgalley Epub.




Dr. Schosser (Marc) is a cantankerous, mean spirited, self-destructive individual who vehemently dislikes his job. He pretends to like his patients, all the while imagining them screwing one another and/or dying. He is married to Caroline, a woman of weak personality integrity who drifts with the motions of life. There’s Ralph, the actor who adores himself. He is obnoxious and takes every opportunity to wave his penis around in a display of his self-importance and ego. He’s also fat. He is also not attractive. He also doesn’t realize that waving his member in front of a 19 y/o isn’t at all pleasing, and frankly no one notices, except for Dr Schosser. There is also Lisa, a daughter of Caroline and Marc, but that really doesn’t matter because she is quite insignificant. The other daughter, Julia plays a staring role with flat, irritatingly stereotypical teenage tendencies; like being a brat and liking her ipod…. Such exciting concepts. Lets not forget Judith, because what book wouldn’t be complete without a love triangle. Oh and throw in a movie star because we didn’t already have a conceited jerk gallivanting on the pages. There are an assortment of other two dimensional characters. To carry on page after page of themes of homophobia—yes we get it. That shouldn’t go there. It isn’t biological programmed—and womanizing, we have Herzl, who seldom graces us with his presence—and when he does its abrupt. But don’t you worry, we have Marc who is all too willing to escape to the past and reflect on the teachings of dear old professor Herzi.

All of these exciting characters combine into one big mushy pile of “who did it”. Taking place primarily during a summer vacation—with pools, duh—, the two families of contrasting emotional and social foundations, find themselves at odds with one another. Caroline bitches about Ralph. Judith complains about everything, which is her way of externalizing her insecurities. Marc plays out his internal dialog with Herzi. This all happens on the coastline, with sand between their feet and the sound of rolling waves. Oh and the pool too. Then we have the rape, which is carelessly provided in the book summary. Marc is frenetic in his search for the rapist and goes this way and that way, accusing everyone. The summary also suggests that the rape is a catalyst for another event. This is one of the places that this book succeeded. Rather than residing in the flat nothingness of the rest of the novel, Herman Koch tethers Marc’s lovely personality to this other event, and the outcome is quite interesting. It fades away quickly as Herman Koch cuts and pastes previous sections like a messy first draft of Invisible Monsters; and I MEAN MESSY. But still, there is that to look forward to.

Twist and turns and metaphors galore in between, we are taken on a Gylian Flynn-esque, albeit a more sophisticated, adventure. I’ll admit, the guy can write. He takes the shock out of Flynn’s writing and builds up his story in a way that is refreshing and new compared to American shock authors like S.J. Watson.

I also have to comment on the large percentage of people who were fiercely opposed to the degree in which women were portrayed as objects. Lets consider the amount of disparaging gay comments, cause I can better attend to those, cause you know, gay, male parts, etc. At first I pushed against ideas presented in the book, particularly those interpreting gay men as flawed and worthy of eradication. Life is a bummer, but you have to step away, see these things from an objective view, and realize that people do think these things. Are you reacting to your own personal identification to these issues, or with the fact that you can’t digest that this hate, prejudice, etc exists in the world? Am I going to laugh at the notion that people hate you, actually hate you for biological reasons beyond your control; oh hell yah. Now, here is my problem with the application of homophobia and the victimization of women as it is applied to this book. They had no practical use. We all know about the biological need to procreate, and we all know two lads can’t fulfill this obligation. We all know that women are subjected to a culture steeped in male privilege. The fact remains that all this had nothing to do with the novel.

In order to make this novel even slightly successful, an editor would need to shred out Herman’s obsession with metaphors, over-used literary devices, and this annoying inner dialog with Herzi.

For all these reasons and more, at the end this “who done it” became a “who cares”.