Books

"Girl with Curious Hair" by David Foster Wallace

 

“Girl With Curious Hair” by David Foster Wallace doesn’t seem to get talked about as much as “Infinite Jest” or “Consider the Lobster”, but it is definitely a great read. Not all of the short stories in the book are of equal length (as is noted on the back page of my copy) and not all of the stories are equally as good. After reading the whole book, my general feeling was one of sadness for the pain he must have felt in his life, and a selfish sadness that he is not around to write more.  

 

Suzanne Collins, "The Hunger Games"

The Hunger Games is the first in a series of Young Adult books by Suzanne Collins.  I don't habitually read YA novels; only the best ones (like The Graveyard Book or the Golden Compass series).  But the buzz around this series was so great that I had to try it.  And I'm glad I did.

The Hunger Games takes place in a dystopian future where America has been divided into twelve districts.  The districts are ruled over by the totalitarian dictatorship of the Capitol.  (The setting reminds me of Firefly, with its contrast between the grubby, poverty-stricken outer worlds and the Core Planets with their clean, freshly-scrubbed, well-fed, but thoroughly subjugated and endlessly monitored populace.)

In order to emphasize its control, every year the Capitol demands a sacrifice.  Two children from each district are chosen at random to fight to the death in a televised bloody free-for-all, the eponymous Hunger Games. 

Amazon's Pedophile Encounter: Where's The Line?

When you're the "world's largest bookseller," everything you do becomes Big News.  This week, Amazon had a bit of a kerfluffle which they literally could not win.

In Part 1, someone noticed that Amazon was carrying a self-published ebook by a pedophile.  This wretched little screed was all about handy tips and tricks on how to be a pedophile without getting caught.  Gross, right? 

Within minutes of this discovery, half of the internet was baying for blood.  Nothing gets people going like a perceived misdoing on the part of Amazon. 

Calls for boycotts and angry letters of protest went flying like… well, like a lot of upset people had just found out that Amazon (in their view) supports pedophilia.

Dear John

I had just finished watching an amazing, touching love romance story. This film is called “Dear John.” The film is based on a romance novel written by American author, Nicolas Sparks whom also wrote the best selling novel, “The Notebook.” The story Dear John sets place in North Carolina about a young United States soldier named John who falls in love with a college student named Savannah. They both spend two weeks together before John heads out to his army duties. Before he leaves, Savannah realizes that she will deeply miss him. Young Savannah also realizes that she is very in love with John.

Jean Teasdale, "A Book of Jean's Own"

Everyone has their own favorite columnist from The Onion.  Some like Jim Anchower; others prefer Herbert "Tha H-Dogg" Kornfeld.  For me, it's always been Jean Teasdale.

I first found Jean Teasdale's columns some time in 1998.  (I have always lived outside the range of the paper version, and only read the website.)  For a while, her columns seemed to be fairly regular.  But I noticed that they had been tapering off over the last few years.

Turns out, it's because a book was in the works!

Jean Teasdale is the quintessential underdog.  She embodies the sublime beauty of failure.  She was Liz Lemon before Liz Lemon was cool.  (Heck, Liz Lemon looks like a rock star compared to Jean.) 

Brett Easton Ellis, "Imperial Bedrooms"

I'm still trying to decide if I liked this book or not.  Of one thing I am certain: it is a book, which I read.  That is a thing that happened.  (Actually I listened to the audiobook.  But you get the idea.)

Imperial Bedrooms is technically a sequel to Ellis' smash hit Less Than Zero, the book which encapsulated a generation.  Or rather, which seemed to encapsulate a generation, for those who were on the outside looking in, and who imagined that generation to be extraordinarily spoiled, vapid, and chock full of cocaine. 

(I re-read Less Than Zero a few years ago.  It does not hold up.  And now, 25 years later, it strikes me as horribly false.  It all seemed so soaked with verisimilitude at the time, but now, call me cynical, but I never once believed that any of those people actually existed except in the collective fever dreams of the nation.)

School Bus Library

             As I was getting ready to eat dinner this evening, I noticed a school bus library parked outside my apartment complex. My apartment managers are the most generous and caring people I know. Since there are many children that live near my complex, a school bus library arrives at the complex every week on a Monday or Tuesday for the children to check out library books on the bus. My apartment managers came up with this thoughtful, amazing idea a few years ago because they thought it would be an excellent idea for the children to have a library come to them. Cool idea or what?

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