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'.
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
This massive collection of short stories will engage some, frustrate others, and enrapture many. It is, after all, a very unique offering, one that spans the gauntlet of subject matter, and explores the dirtiness of human existence. The author explores the layers of mundane life transitions—even though, on their own these are tragic and often unnecessarily cruel—through a contemporary lens that cuddles up to surrealism, while nodding to gothic fiction and brushing shoulders with Joseph Conrad (as Karen points out), as well other author of years past. Oh, Eggars’ early work is in here too, particularly On Wanting to Have Three Walls Before She Gets Home, Up the Mountain Coming Down Slowly, and The Only Meaning of the Oil-Wet Water.
Stylistically there is the sleekness of Aimme Bender throughout the collection, whereby the author imparts a smooth, delicate approach to surrealism that holds firmly on reality. If you like Bender, Tessa Mella, Yoko Ogawa’s Revenge and again Eggars, then this is a collection you will drown in with pleasure among its titillating and intellectually arousing pages. Unfortunately, there are times when the collection’s broad use of styles is less a brightly arranged jazz ensemble, and more a confusing collection of contrasting notes.
Language, meaning, wellness, resentment, hope, suffering, grief, and resolution, are themes that tether the massive amount of short stories together. However, the broad style, though commendable, made me dizzy, and I skipped a few. But when it’s good, it’s awesome.
The first story, Irregular Verbs recalled “Both Hands” by Ani Difranco. It attracts in its delicate and achingly tragic conceptualization of bereavement at the same time that it repeals, because it is just too fucking familiar and raw and awful. The personal meaning making and intimacy of langue is explored. This IS AMAZING! BUY this book JUST for this short story.
Another Country explores the implications of developing equilibrium between self, and new culture as the author explores the depths of immigrating to a new country. Assimilation, to various degrees, presents itself as a difficult task for many of the characters. There is time travel too.
Beyond the Field You Know, is all Alice in Wonderland meets up with the movie Looper in a fantasy-esque short laced with threads of horror. Children are persuaded to enter portals with false expectations and gifts. You will probably read other articles that reference The Wild Things, but eh, not so much. Some fear their situation, some struggle to adjust, while one in particular gets pissed even though he is fairly scared too.
Talking Blues, is a brand new spanking exhibition into hell and into the human experience of struggling without resiliency and without a guiding hand. It’s also sorta about love. Music is LOVE and passion, and all things good like a snow day for kids.
When We Have Time- is beautiful in its execution, as well as its interpretation of family. It’s one of my favorites.
Closing Time. Oh you didn’t appear to be offering much, but upon a second reading—more of a skim, which I recommend—you were so much more. A young man, caught up in his own busy life, on the cusp of marriage, and transitioning as the owner of his fathers restaurant, is forced to follow the tradition of feeding his father’s ghost and mourners; so cool, by the way! At the end he recognizes the utility of his late father’s vast collection of stories, and adjusts to the idea that maybe there is some residue of meaning that he didn’t attend to when first hearing them. We must all slow down.
Long Pig- Again themes of changing to fit a foreign culture, but more on a personal ethical level. The wellness and meaning behind slowing down and enjoying the little things. Another favorite.
The Last Islander- An unusual depiction on change, what it means for everyone, and the moments before and after you relinquish your memories to this change. Community, togetherness, technology and tenderness.
Heroic Measures- The resilience of self, the resilience others, and how grieving is a two person thing. Perfectness. ABSOLUTE LOVE!
The Dragon’s Lesson- dragons! DRAGON! Lying, cheating, jealousy, lessons to be learned.
The Wise Foolish Son-
A folk tale sifted through two different lenses. The first, a wise old man telling it to a group. It’s old (the story), perhaps a bit embellished. There is meaning and answers behind the story, but will it be fully understood? The second is more of a first hand exploration of the events—or is it? The contrast between the two stories brings about feelings that these two perspectives may be equally unreliable. The main character is Dasat or Dasatan depending on the story, and it is through him that we gain a better perspective; I mean sorta, not really…. I am still fairly lost.