Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
I like tattoos. I have two myself, and am planning on a few more eventually. I’ve been contemplating a book-related tattoo for a while now, but haven’t come up with anything particular yet. So, I was really excited to stumble upon this post last week at The Feminist Texican [Reads] about The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos From Bookworms Worldwide, a photo book by Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor. These all take inspiration from specific books, whereas I’d like something generally bookish, but still: inspiration.
YES. Right up my alley.
What do you think? If you were to get a literary tattoo, what would you choose? And even if you’re not a tattoo person, do you have a favorite lit-quote or bookish image you could hypothetically imagine making a nice/interesting tattoo? Let’s talk!
A few cool book-ish links from Boing Boing:
1. Learn how to make your own secret hollowed-out hiding place in the book of your choice! Looks like fun, doesn’t it? What would you hide in a book? I would love to accidentally stumble upon somebody else’s one day…and I love the one they have pictured! It’s strangely spooky.
2. Check out these “portable lighthouse keeper libraries of yesteryear”. I have a thing for lighthouses, old things, and libraries too, of course. So, awesome!
I’m taking this opportunity to complain that tomorrow is the fifth annual Brooklyn Book Festival, and I won’t be attending. I’ll be working. This is probably a good thing, really, since I have no extra money to spend right now at such an event, and the temptation would. be. endless. I’ve gone the past two years and had a blast. Check out all the wonderful events that will be taking place, all the writers that will be there, and all the great publishers who will be set up with books. I know, I know: drool. By all means, if any of you are in the area and have the time, go!–I don’t think any of my readers are, but hey, worth a shot.
Oh, and you might get a kick out of How to Open a New Book at Boing Boing. I can’t stand to break a book’s spine, myself. Does it make you cringe, or are you unphased by it?
So, I entered the text of my last real blog post, the one about Fathers and Sons, into this writing analyzer thingy and it says I write like David Foster Wallace. I haven’t actually read any David Foster Wallace (I know I know, what kind of book blogger am I?), but I hear he’s pretty great, so I’ll take it as a compliment. Hey, at least I didn’t get Dan Brown! I also can’t figure out how to make my “I Write Like David Foster Wallace” badge show up on the blog (again, what kind of book blogger am I?), but I assure you it’s cool.
It’s an unsophisticated non-sensical just-for-fun internet toy, definitely, but it still kinda sucks that there are apparently so few women and um, zero people of color represented as results, as if there aren’t (m)any with instantly recognizable writing styles. And that when the creator of the site responsible for I Write Like was confronted, he pulled the “color-blind” card. And the gender equivalent too, which doesn’t seem to get used as often but still: stupid.
Pfff. Whatevs, dude.
After a wonderfully refreshing vacation, I’m back, and ready to tend to the blog. Sadly, I got close to zero reading done on this trip, so no new book updates yet. A shame, really, since recent thrift store excursions have been so amazingly successful on the book front and I’m super eager to dive into my new acquisitions. Oh well, no rush! In the meantime, check out this small gift I received last week from my old friend Bond:
A To Kill a Mockingbird matchbook! So cute, right?
Just letting everyone know I’m out of town this week spending some much needed time with family and friends, and will probably not be doing any updating on the blog until my return home. Thanks for reading, and stick around!
In The Vagrants, Yiyun Li centers us in Muddy River, a small, rural town in late ’70’s China. Muddy River is isolating, lonely, and neatly marked by crowded identical houses. The many struggles endured by the inhabitants of Muddy River are revealed as they all come together on one spring day to celebrate the execution of 28 year old counterrevolutionary Gu Shan. Over the course of the denunciation ceremonies and the following few days, we are introduced to Gu Shan’s parents, a radio announcer/government spokesperson with hidden wills of her own, a teenage sexual predator, a young girl ostracized for her “deformities”, and a small boy trying to make sense of it all. Gu Shan’s wrongful execution has a rippling effect on a population suffering under communism which mirrors the effect of the Democratic Wall Movement in nearby Beijing. But where there is rippling there is also backlash.
This book was a hard one to read. The relentlessly disturbing imagery (baby girls abandoned by the roadside, corpses raped and mutilated), not to mention the morally reprehensible motives of some of the characters, at times made it difficult to return to. But I did. And while it is ultimately an important comment on the nature, necessity, and effectiveness of resistance under totalitarianism, it’s one that’s been made before, and I’m afraid Li doesn’t add much to it. I’m not sure if it’s because the way that Li wrote her characters does not quite mesh with me, or if it’s because I was so turned off by some of the early scenes in the book that I did not allow myself to become invested in them, but invest in them I did not. Some of them I might buy as realistic, if one-dimensional…but others just plain bugged me, particularly Tong, the seven year old whose insights were a little more than I’m willing to give him credit for.
Without feeling a deeper connection to the people in this story, without better understanding the source of their inspirations, I’m left with little more than life under communism is incredibly oppressive and terrible and so is the devaluation of baby girls and coercion and dismemberment and resistance is probably futile but you should do it anyway because it’s right and all this awfulness can easily serve as metaphor for crumbling worldview…
And, well, I already knew all of that. Not a very bad book, but not one I’d recommend, either.