Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Good Reads, I hope

Here's what I just added to my Goodreads to-read list: Steer Toward Rock by Fae Myenne Ng, Demons in the Spring by Joe Meno (finalist for the Story Prize), and The Partisan's Daughter by Louis de Bernieres.  What is Goodreads, you ask?  Well, I'll tell you.  It's a website that functions a little like Facebook, in that you have friends who can see what you post, but the posts center on what books you are all reading, what you thought of books you've finished reading, and most importantly, what you want to read.  Judge me not on what I've read, but on what I plan to read--my motto.  It's a way to keep track of your reading, and also a way to see what your friends are reading, get recommendations, etc.  It's a funny little world, Goodreads--sometimes lists pop up that are just absurd, like the list of best books of all time.  Guess what was number one--The Book of Mormon , of course.   Hmm . . . I mean, it was good and all, but .  . . weren't the characters a little flat?  To Goodreads' credit, though, they have come up with interesting bits of participatory webbiness, like a contest to write a short story solely through status updates.  That kind of got me thinking.  More on that and everything else later--in the meantime, if you would like to be my Goodreads friend, please let me know; I'd love to know what you are reading.  If you are on Facebook, you can add Goodreads as an application; if you're one of the last three people left on the planet who are not on Facebook, you can join Goodreads independently at goodreads.com.  

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Literary longings

For quite a while I've been longing to go to a reading in the Eat, Drink & Be Literary series at BAM.  Just think: Dinner, live music and a great author reading to you.  This Thursday, March 12, A.M. Homes is appearing, and wouldn't you know it, I actually have something else to do--I'm going to see Laurie Anderson at the Guggenheim.  (When worlds collide!)  Well, the only consolation is that I've had the pleasure of hearing A.M. read before, and have even spoken to her my own self!  I wonder what she will read--possibly her recent story in the New Yorker.  In any case, I'm sorry to miss hearing something from her fertile mind.  I will make a great effort to make it out there one of these days--there is a great bunch of authors appearing in the next few months: Germaine Greer, Richard Price and Ha Jin.  Ha Jin is one of my favorite authors, so I'd really like to make that one, on May 7.  

Having read David Gates' review of The Kindly Ones, I feel that my view on what fiction does is somewhat quaint--of course, it does other things than teach us about human nature, depending on what fiction you're talking about.  His example of Lolita is apposite; we read it because of its obvious artifice.  It is clearly not about what real people are like.  But the fact that a real person wrote it, well, doesn't that enlighten us in some way about human nature, and make us think about the mysteries of the creative process?  But I readily admit, my taste in fiction is old-fashioned, much to Zadie Smith's apparent displeasure.  

I also felt Gates' point about the extreme sexual perversity of the main character of The Kindly Ones was right on target; by making him so abnormal, it seems to suggest that only abnormal people could commit atrocities such as the Nazis did.  But in reality, isn't it more frightening to think that it was ordinary people who committed the atrocities, or allowed them to happen--i.e. the banality of evil?  Gates mentions an article by Ron Rosenbaum, the author of Explaining Hitler, that pleads, brilliantly, for an end to the fascination with Hitler's sexuality, as it only serves to exculpate everyone else.  

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New York, NY, United States
Overeducated mom, addled by constant interruptions due to demands of family and dog, trying to read books and write coherent sentences about them. Luckily, yoga keeps me centered. Sharing my love of yoga through teaching helps make sense of it all. I have a yoga blog at susiemarplesyoga.com. Since 2015, it has been my pleasure to serve as a reader for Epiphany, a literary journal publishing fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and art; on Twitter as @epiphanymag. http://profile.to/susiemarples http://pinterest.com/susiem66

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