May 4, 2015 § 1 Comment
May 4, 1015
I put a library hold on Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham because the book is on all kinds of “must read” lists and also because my actress/filmmaker friend Dia told me all about Dunham just before she became so well-known for her HBO series Girls. When a copy finally became available three months after I put it on hold, though, I sat down in the library to read the first few pages before I committed to checking it out. After all, I’m trying to get a submission ready. I have a crap ton of books on my to-read shelf. If I actually checked out this particular book, I would have to finish it in the next two weeks because forget trying to renew it. (There are currently 16 holds on 14 copies.)
I was sold at “But I want to tell my stories, and, more than that, I have to in order to stay sane.”
What made me get up out of the library chair and immediately go check the book out, though, was Dunham’s hope that her stories will, among other things, stop the reader from “thinking that it was your fault when the person you are dating suddenly backs away, intimidated by the clarity of your personal mission here on earth.”
Because I remembered all the dates that stopped happening and the relationships that ended shortly after the guy realized just how serious I am about this writing thing. And now I realized that it was okay.
It really is okay.
March 30, 2015 § Leave a comment
March 30, 2015
I was definitely trying to contain my giggling and snorting while reading this book at the pedicure salon. Moran’s essays on such subjects as the trap women have fallen into of spending time and money on waxing and wearing inadequate underwear are painfully hilarious:
“A man may think, I have a party next week. I’d better roughly scrub my face before I tootle on out the door.
A woman, on the other hand, will call up the calendar in her head—like the midair screens in Minority Report—and start a cycle of furious planning, based around hair management.”
Um, guilty. Only I get out my scary day planner.
“A case in point: a few months ago, I was on a crowded tube with a friend of mine, who gradually grew paler and quieter until she finally leaned forward and admitted that her knickers were so skimpy, her front bottom had eaten them entirely. . . . Clearly, this is not right. Jesus Christ. Underpants like this need to be bombed back to the Stone Age. Batman doesn’t have to put up with this shit—why should we?”
Thank you. If a pair of panties doesn’t provide ass coverage, I ain’t buying it.
And here is my favorite bit on the ludicrousness of proclaiming to not be a feminist:
“What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it the freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? ‘Vogue’ by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES?”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
March 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
March 9, 2015
It took me a couple of weeks to get through Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. There were so many parts in it that made me stop and stare into space. Thinking. Remembering. Feeling.
Like when Eleanor and Park are talking about comic books and mention Dazzler and I remember “Hey! I read Dazzler comics when I was a teenager. She was one of the X-Men?”
And when Eleanor and her family go to the grocery store and her mom buys them all day-old cream horns and I’m like “Wow. I remember the super poor days of heading straight for the cheap day-old pastry section of the grocery store bakery.”
Thinking, “Hey! Wasn’t that Smiths song ‘How Soon Is Now’ the theme song for Charmed?”
Speaking of music, that line:
“There was something about the music on that tape. It felt different. Like, it set her lungs and her stomach on edge. There was something exciting about it, and something nervous. It made Eleanor feel like everything, like the world, wasn’t what she’d thought it was. And that was a good thing. That was the greatest thing.”
Thinking about those moments where you see someone you really like and you want to say something but so much has happened between you and things got so weird and you’re young and self-conscious and don’t know what to say so you don’t say anything. And you kind of regret it for the rest of your life.
Feeling how important it is to find just that one person to make your miserable existence bearable, that one person who brings spark and joy to your life, and the outside affirmation that you’re special and wonderful and needed. And if you don’t find that, you’re screwed.
So, yeah. A couple of weeks. Thinking. Remembering. Feeling.
February 16, 2015 § 2 Comments
February 16, 2015
Forever by Judy Blume
This was a re-read for me. Was it ever. When I was in my teens, I must have read this countless times. It seems like just yesterday when my best friend and I would hang out in the school yard talking about this book and all the yummy parts and, of course, the ending. So many of the images and themes in this book were seared into crevices of my brain and I hadn’t even realized it. Back then, I had taken a lot of what was so great about this book for granted: how well-written it is, how true and matter of fact and poignant without any extra or unnecessary words, the no-bullshit approach to sex, and a heroine who was a regular girl going through a real relationship.
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
So a year after I go to Laurie Halse Anderson’s book signing and get this book, I finally read it. What was I waiting for? Every time I opened it up I was sucked into another time and space. One time at lunch I went to the park and finished reading this magical scene where Hayley and Finn are lying on a hill looking at the stars. When I looked up I was like “Oh, wow. There’s grass and dogs running to fetch balls and mountains. All around me.” I felt so lucky to be traveling between a wonderful fictional world and a wonderful real world. So, yeah, I really liked this book.
January 26, 2015 § 3 Comments
I know, they couldn’t be more different
January 26, 2015
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, is one of my favorite books. It was time for a re-read, especially since I am in the process of rewrites and this book is a major influence on my writing. This is one of those books that as I read it at different stages in my life, I get something new out of it.
Like how that St. John dude was trying to convince Jane that he knew what her life path should be, that many people like her were clueless as to what they should be doing with their sorry selves, to which she replied:
“If they are really qualified for the task, will not their own hearts be the first to inform them of it?”
And the quote describing what loneliness really is:
“You are cold, because you are alone; no contact strikes the fire from you that is in you.”
And the sharp wit between Jane and Rochester:
“I am paving hell with energy.”
I was not a huge fan of the Chelsea Lately talk show, but I am a huge fan of My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler.
I saw it on BuzzFeed’s 32 Books Guaranteed to Make You Laugh Out Loud, and I cracked up numerous times while reading this book, often in public. It is very well-written and hilarious in an understated, dry wit kind of way. There were too many lines to count that just made me feel like this woman is after my own heart. Such as,
“After I regained my composure, I realized it was time to formulate a plan. Step one was to start drinking immediately.”
“It was Valentine’s Day and I had spent the day in bed with my life partner, Ketel One.”
“I was tired and reminded them that nothing positive happens after two a.m.”
That is for damn sure.