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Archive for June, 2007

ok, another re-read. that way you know it’s good. what better endorsement could i give? i will probably read this once a year until circumstances prevent me, such as having children or developing cataracts.

the amazing thing about this author is that he expresses, in these essays about “low culture”, what you think or know on some vague level, but expresses it in the most witty, intelligent manner, rendering random, seemingly meaningless parts of my, and people my age’s, life into philosophy. i often agreed, outloud, with things expressed in this book. like why i don’t like it when people say, “i like everything” when asked what kind of music they like. and how the real world started changing how people conceive of themselves. and how tv doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be watchable, as espoused in a chapter about “saved by the bell.” i appreciate the honesty in his admission that at a point in his life, he watched all 4 re-runs of saved by the bell that were aired every day. reading this book makes you think (or me think, anyway) for a little while, that i could write a book like that, but in reality, i’m in no way as astute as the author in his observations and theories.

somethings, i was just a little too young for, but was still enjoyed reading about. references to music i wasn’t allowed to listen to as a child, for instance. and i never liked star wars, but the connection he makes between the empire strikes back and the concept of generation x is still pretty mind-blowing.

basically, i wish i was friends with chuck klosterman. he “likes everything” (music, sports, bad tv) but he knows why he likes it, and it’s not just because it’s what’s there, or if it is, he has a very entertaining rationalization for it.

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Little Children

This was a re-read (the day before i read prep), as i wasn’t feeling to drawn to any of the unread books i have sitting on my shelf. sometimes you just want a sure thing…

i passed by this DVD in blockbuster yesterday and saw that kate winslet is in it. i think kate winslet is amazing, and very pretty, so i couldn’t really see her as the barely attractive frizzy haired stay-at-home mom, sarah, i was assuming she portrayed. it made me sure that they had taken liberties with other parts of the story about two suburban marriages, well three, actually, and the bizarre circumstances that break them down.

this book was actually really disturbing in some parts, but overall hilarious and engrossing. the characters were super stereotypical (the “perfect” mom who never forgets snacks, has a to-the-minute schedule, including sex, and talks to her 4 year old about getting into harvard, the meathead cop) but they still seemed like very real people, in the cliche way that stereotypes are based on truth. somehow, it worked. he was making fun of the people in the book, but like the way you make fun of yourself as part of a group.

some of the plotlines were just surreal, too, how matter of factly some characters who would normally be marginalized were portrayed. you would think a child molester placing a personal ad would be a horror story, but when you’re reading it, you’re like, “of course, what else would he do?” (how would the movie deal with that?)

i enjoyed it just as much the second time i read it, and it’s definitely staying in the permanent collection. i don’t think i’ll see the movie. movies based on books i like are never worth the time.

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i was reading prep by curtis sittenfeld. a book about a girl’s four years at a private boarding school near boston, i picked it up at a thrift store, where i find most of the books i love (maybe there’s less pressure on them to impress me, as i only spent 99 cents on them, as opposed to the $13.95 cover price, so they perform better). i initially saw it on the shelf of a friend whose apartment i recently visited, and discovered she and i are identical book-taste twins (there’s gotta be money in that). i think something about its cover led me to believe it was a non-fiction book about the history of “prepiness”, which i still probably would have enjoyed, but it fact, it was a wonderful novel, and not just because i saw myself so much in the character, and the similarities between her experience in boarding school and my first years at college (which not contrary to popular belief, was a lot like high school.)
i pretty much took this book to be a fictionalized account of the author’s true experience (it seems to be a book trend these days, a la the nanny diaries and the devil wears prada) because of the detail and extreme honesty, and because of the frequent “looking back on it now” realizations that i suppose someone could just invent, but seem to truly grow from acutally having experienced this life, and the events shaping her life and beliefs. however, i have not verified it to be true.
“lee” the main character, verbalized sentiments i’ve felt since i was pretty young, which are rather awkward to admit, but probably aren’t as singular to me as i’ve always believed. they’re ridiculous and self-defeating, but feelings nonetheless, that inform decisions in a stupid way. she talks about always declining invitations because she assumes if the person isn’t wildly entheusiastic about her coming, isn’t literally pulling on her arm, then they’re asking out of obligation, and in truth, her presence would be a nuisance. but then, as she wonders why she wasted her years purposely not having fun, what is so bad about being a nuisance? at least she wouldn’t be alone, where she spends time making up fantasies about when people will realize how cool she really is and how much they want to hang out with her. she reassures us that years later, she sheds her insecurity. (thank god for college. i spend a lot of time grateful that i’m not in high school anymore.)
so, i was so into this book that i kept telling myself to save it for italy, so i would be sure to have a book i like to read (the flight is so long, and i plan to spend so much time at the beach in cinque terre, i’m starting to worry about how many books i should bring), but it was futile.

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