I caught up with an old friend recently. Hunched over humongous burritos we hurled hilarious stories at each other. Catching up on each other lives, getting caught in the laughter. How is it possible I let weeks and weeks turn into months before seeing this person, I don’t know. I couldn’t get over how hard I laughed (to the point of tears) or how easily we bantered.
“What do you mean ‘winking at you?'” I asked, astonished.
“I mean, wink, wink. Couldn’t miss it. It happened on four different occasions” came the reply.
“Winking? Not something caught in the eye?”
“Not a nervous twitch?”
“Not punctuating a funny story?”
“Not even talking.”
“Huh. Winking… At you.”
“Your best friend’s spouse was winking. At You.”
“That’s what I thought.”
“Okay. Here’s what you do: wink back.”
I’m bold to suggest such a thing. Flirting with trouble. Wink back? Yes. We sat over big burritos until our bellies were full. Watching the rain whip sideways we let it go. We had nowhere to be. Bring On the Rain. I was happy to be caught just to catch up.
Me: I still can’t believe my blog has 77 hits today.
Much Older You: Hits? What does that mean?
Me: It means my blog was looked at 77 times.
You: Doesn’t that worry you, having 77 people look at your stuff?
Me: Well, it could also be one person going back 77 different times.
You: Oh. Well. That’s much better. That must mean they like you.
Me: ??? Um. Errr…If you say so…
Special thanks to the Love of my life for posting…
Just couldn’t resist. Sorry for the exuberance!
Special thanks to The Man for posting while I’m away.
Eggers, Dave. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. New York: Vintage Books, 2001.
I didn’t even have to touch this book to know it was going to be great. It landed on my desk upside down. the first words I read from the back cover were, “Yes lets and then can we leave and run in shallow warm water.” I was intrigued, to say the least!
It’s the story of Eggers as a young adult faced with having to take care of his younger brother after losing both his parents to cancer. It’s sad and funny. Witty and sarcastic. It took my much longer to read because I had to drink every little word. I read the Rules and Suggestions for Enjoyment of This Book, the Preface to this Edition, the Contents, Achknowledgments, even Mistakes We Knew We Were Making which contains notes, corrections, clarifications, apologies, and addenda. Too funny.
A few of my favorite lines:
“I have visions of my demise: When I know I have only so much time left – for example, if I do in fact have AIDS as I believe I probably do, if anyone does, it’s me, why not – when the time comes, I will just leave, say goodbye and leave, and then throw myself into a volcano” (p xiii)
“Beth and I take turns driving him to and fro, down the hill and up again and otherwise we lose weeks like buttons, like pencils” (p 55).
Then there’s this scene. I don’t know how to describe it other than to say I’ve been there: “I want to put the box somewhere else…The box which is not my mother cannot go in the trunk because she would be livid if I put her in the trunk. She would fucking kill me” (p 383). This is so, so, dare I say it? Heartbreaking.
BookLust Twist: Pearl really liked this book. It’s mentioned four different times between her two books Book Lust and More Book Lust. From Book Lust: in the chapter “Memoirs” (p 152), and “The Postmodern Condition” (p 191) and again in the preface on page xi. Then again in More Book Lust in the chapter “And The Award for Best Title Goes To…” ( p 12).
I was expecting Vegas to be this scandalous, crazy, never-tell-your-mama-what-you’ve-done kind of city. I don’t know what I was picturing (people having sex in fountains? doing lines in the bathroom? stripping on dance floor?). I haven’t a clue. Here’s what I saw: people, people, people. All shapes and sizes, ages and backgrounds. People with cameras slung around their necks. People with places to go, people to meet. Men dressed for money, girls dressed for magazines. I couldn’t tell a prostitute from a tourist (unless she was handcuffed behind a cruiser). And, yes, some breasts were out (intentionally or not). Everyone walked around with a drink of some sort – some looking more ridiculous than others.
Here’s the only time I felt I was in sin city: the guys on every street corner trying to hand guys (and girls) “information” on hooker hook-ups. “Get a girl in 20 minutes…” Small clusters of dirty men (and an occasional woman) stood on every street corner flicking girly cards slightly smaller than a playing card. Waiting for the light to change all you hear is snap-snap-snap, flick-flick-flick. No one really says anything to you, just tries to get you to take a card, shoves it at you. The street corners are littered with smiling topless women…and the promise of the Vegas I imagined. The one that stays in Vegas.
When I first learned this chick-lit was on my list I didn’t know whether to groan or grin. But, after pages and pages of stuffy political biographies I knew I’d need a fluffy change. I just didn’t expect it to be so funny! Luckily, my good friend let me borrow it…Here’s the LibraryThing Review:
Bridget Jones is a likable 30-something Londoner. A little on the plump side (so she thinks) and more than a little single (so everyone keeps pointing out), her year long diary takes the reader on a journey through her attempts at weight loss and dating. While her weight gain is more that her ultimate loss and her initial love interest cheats on her, Bridget triumphs with humor and a naivete that is undeniably charming. Obsessive and narcisstist characteristics aside, Bridget could be any woman’s best friend. A delightful (quick) read.
My favorite lines:
“I know what her secret is: she’s discovered power” (p 58).
“Love the friends, better than extended Turkish family in weird headscarves any day” (p 74).
“There’s nothing worse than people telling you you look tired. They might as well have done with it and say you look like five kinds of shit” (p 92).
“By 11:30 Sharon was in full and splendid auto-rant” (p 108).
The only disappointment was a discrepancy with dates. On Wednesday, March 15 Bridget writes “only two weeks to go until birthday” yet, on Tuesday, March 21 she claims it’s her birthday. Two weeks from the 15th is the 29th or at least the 28th. Even if she is counting work weeks it would have been the 25th. Not sure what to think of that. Then there is the time she spends doing something. How is it possible to spend 230 minutes inspecting your face for wrinkles? I’ve done the math. That’s nearly 4 hours – unless London has more minutes to an hour than we do…(ps~ I’m being a snob here. Of course I know Bridget isn’t spending that much time on one activity…)
Another weirdness is that Bridget makes reference to Goldie Hawn and Susan Sarandon a lot. I couldn’t figure out what the reference was all about considering The Banger Sisters didn’t come out until 2002. I’m thinking she meant Thelma and Louise but in that case she didn’t mean Goldie Hawn, but rather Geena Davis. Whatever.
BookLust Twist: From Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust in the chapter called, you guessed it, “Chick-Lit” (p 53).
Lennon, J. Robert. The Funnies. New York: Riverhead, 1999.
Tim Mix’s father wrote a comic strip based on his family. Growing up, this comic strip was a source of embarrassment to Tim. Yet, when his father passes away and Tim’s only inheritance is the very comic strip he hated, he decides to try his hand at taking over the strip. Tim is a sarcastic, barely ambitious man who is terrible at conversation, worse at relationships both personal and with his family. This is a formula that always works – the unlikable, unlikely hero goes through a metamorphosis and comes out a pretty decent guy. In the end he doesn’t succeed with the funnies, but he gets the girl.
“This time the pause was longer, a nice slack length of rose to hang the conversation with” (p 52).
“I pushed gently at the sore spot in me and it hurt enough for me to turn away as I talked” (p 132).”
“Susan offered me a bite of her corn dog. I refused, still queasy from the Centrifuge of Death, but didn’t tell her this, and I feared that this rebuff without explanation would give offense. Then I came to my senses and simply let it go. It was a wonderful feeling, like dropping off a box at the Goodwill” (p 155).
And my favorite quote, “I let happiness run its course through me, knowing that it wouldn’t last, but also knowing it would always be there somewhere waiting for me, if I made the effort to find it. This understanding seemed an almost criminally excessive piece of good fortune, but for the time being I accepted it without question” (p 274). For some reason this reminded me of me.
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust twice. Once in the chapter called “Brothers and Sisters” (p 46), and “Families in Trouble” (p83).
Lefcourt, Peter. Abbreviating Ernie. New York: Villard, 1997.
At first glance this humorous book is just plain cut and dried funny. Okay, bad pun. Read on and you’ll see why. Here’s the surface premise, the tip of the iceburg, of Abbreviating Ernie. Ernie and his wife are having sex. He drops dead of a heart attack. She’s blamed for his death. Here’s the just under the surface details: Ernie likes to dress in his wife clothes while having sex. He also likes to handcuff his wife and he can’t seem to “do the deed” anywhere normal. Long story cut short (there’s that pun again): Wife is found holding an electric carving knife, chained in the kitchen while hubby lies dead on the floor missing his “tommyhawk” as one character put it. All of this happens within the first twenty pages of the book so I found myself wondering what in the world Lefcourt would have say in the remaining 271.
Here’s the rest of the iceburg. Abbreviating Ernie is a commentary on the legal system, mental illness, women’s rights, the sensationalism the media can create, the Hollywoodization of a tragedy (what famous actor will portray the prosecutor?), and the exposure to human nature, often seen as failings. It’s about how warped our society can be when confronted with the dark secrets of suburbia. Yet, it keeps you laughing.
BookLust Twist: Abbreviating Ernie shows up in Pearl’s More Book Lust in the chapter on “Alabama” (p 207). While Abbreviating Ernie doesn’t take place in Alabama Pearl makes mention of Lefcourt’s book because Crazy in Alabama has an electric carving knife in its plot.
Hornby, Nick. About a Boy.New York: Riverhead Books, 1998.
I have heard so much about this book. Maybe it’s because I’ve liked other Hornby books that have been made into movies~ Fever Pitch & High Fidelity. Will is a pretty interesting character. He’s a single guy, bound and determined to never work a day in his life. He spends his time watching movies, listening to music and trolling for women. His newest tactic is to join SPAT (Single Parents Alone – Together). Needless to say, he’s not a single parent. In reality he hates kids. He’s callous and shallow but you can’t help but like him, especially when he gets involved with Fiona and her 12 year old son Marcus.
“There were about seventy-nine squillion people in the world, and if you were very lucky, you would end up being loved by 15-20 of them” (p147).
One of the things that struck me about this story is the philosophical ending. Marcus is a boy who acts too old for his age, too serious for his youth while Will acts too young for his years, too immature for the adulthood he is in. In the end they learn to swap maturities – growing down and up. Now I want to see the movie.
BookLust Twist: From both Book Lust and More Book Lust. In More Book Lust About a Boy is in the Chapter, “Dick Lit” (p.79). If you are scratching your head, think chick lit. Get it?