26 February 2010

Which book is most likely to make you a mouth-breather as it belts out a perfect rendition of "Mr. Roboto"?

It may appear meek on the outside, but you better believe that Sarah Orne Jewett's Country of the Pointed Firs can drink you under the table and still flawlessly hit every note at 80s night karaoke extravaganza. Strongest tunes in its repertoire?: Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus," Phil Collins's "Sussusudio," and Corey Hart's "Sunglasses at Night"

24 April 2007

Which book regularly has exploitative sex with its psychoanalyst?

I can't even begin to list all of the emotional baggage that Samuel Richardson's Clarissa: or the History of a Young Lady (the unabridged version, of course) must carry around inside day after day. For that matter, I can't even begin to list all of the emotional baggage I carry around inside for having read it. Those are weeks of my life I'll never get back.

03 April 2007

Hot new writers to check out!

It is difficult to breathe with this albatross of student research papers hanging around my neck. Friends, [she sighs with exasperation, throwing her hands up into the air] I cannot create like this, I tell you!

So, until I am freed from this burden, read these two books. By the time you finish both and post your responses to them here, I will have finished these papers, guaranteed. Deal?

Praise for Cheryl Strayed's first novel, Torch:

"Torch is a deeply compelling, wonderfully crafted story about a journey into, through, and past grief . . . I loved the honesty of this novel, the way it looked at every aspect of loss and recovery -- the pain, the joy, the absurdity, the anger, the despair, the hope, and the great beauty -- without ever holding back."
---Elizabeth Berg

Praise for Salvador Plascencia's first novel, The People of Paper:

"A stunning debut by a once-in-a-generation talent. I don't know of a young American writer more original, innovative, or intense than Salvador Plascencia. The People of Paper is harrowing and gorgeous, experimental in the truest sense: it creates new means to explore essential and timeless emotional subjects."
---George Saunders

17 March 2007

A St. Patrick's Day Tribute: pick your favorite work by or about James Joyce.

Happy St. Patty's Day, friends. (And, of course, a warm happy birthday to my Grandpa Lee, 1908 - 1999.) To help get us all in the appropriate spirit, I thought I'd share my favorite work about James Joyce, but feel free to jump in with your favorite picks by the infamous Dubliner, too.

I pick the ultra-sexy film, Nora (2000, directed by Pat Murphy, starring Susan Lynch and Ewan McGregor), that explores the intensely emotional and provocative relationship between James and Nora Joyce. I found it sexy enough reading Joyce's work before seeing the film; after seeing it, you'll never be able to read his stuff without conjuring up steamy images of the fiery McGregor and Lynch . . . mmm, yummy.

Really, need I say more? Yowsa!

01 March 2007

Which book is most likely to seem witty and hip when you're Instant Messaging and then turn out to be a little creepy when you meet up for drinks?

I'm not ashamed to admit it: I can picture myself developing quite the online-crush on James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, being impressed by its quick and eccentric written banter, only to be weirded out by its complete lack of social skills in any face-to-face encounter. Suddenly, it'd be that guy who stares really intensely at the middle of your forehead and laughs like a machine-gun after comments you made that weren't intended to be funny.

13 February 2007

Growing up, which book would have donned inflatable water-wings far longer than it was developmentally acceptible to do so?

Remember that one friend you had at the pool who actually insisted on waiting an entire 30 minutes after eating before getting back in to swim because he was convinced that severe cramping would set in otherwise? I can almost picture it: Portnoy's Complaint sitting nervously under a huge shade umbrella, watching the second-hand of the clock while his friends splash him, jeering.

After all, this *is* why we love him so.

06 February 2007

If Anna Karina were a book, which book would she be?

What book does the "smart, sexy and avant-garde" thing better than The Lost Lunar Baedeker by Mina Loy? Be sure to check out the poem "Three Moments in Paris" (you can read Part I here) and, of course, Loy's famous "Feminist Manifesto" (153-56).