Sunday, December 23, 2007

2007-the year of books and travel, part five.

Finally, my last post about the books I've read this year. I read some really good ones towards the end there. So, I guess I'll just start then.

When I found Miranda July's No One Belongs Here More Than You, among the free uncorrected proofs in the kitchen of the bookstore I actually said " Yessssssssss". I couldn't believe my luck, and ALL the other indie chicks were so jealous. Anyways. I listened to the soundtrack for Me You and Everyone We Know while reading it and it really felt like I was in an American indie movie, and that I was the quirky girl who struck up conversations about polar bears and lipstick, and the human soul, with complete strangers. I think its actually these alternations between shallow random stuff and super profound musings about life that make me so confused when I read this kind of book. I know I really loved it, but at the same time I'm pretty sure I hated it a little too. Bottom line is, if you liked Me You and Everyone.. then chances are you're going to love the book. It definitely had it's hilarious moments.

So... Some people say that Khaled Hosseinis new book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, is even better than the Kite Runner. Oh yeah, there this whole debate going on about that. This time he tells the story of two Afghani women, married to the same abusive husband, doing their best to survive at home while Kabul is burning. This book is pretty much recommended by everyone who's ever read it, so I'm not going to talk too much about it. It's just a really great book and there's no other ways of looking at it. Also, it made me cry several times. (OhmygodImmike, you need to read it if you haven't already).

Next I read what is probably my new favorite book, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Satan and his friends come to Moscow and just screw up everybody's lives in the most hilarious, violent, frustrating and beautiful ways. Bulgakov's comment on the absurdity of the Soviet Regime is impossible not to love. Unless you're an idiot. Then anything is possible. Or maybe it's the other way around. Aida was reading this when we were by the Black Sea this summer and one night she woke us up by laughing in her sleep and saying "tick-tock tick-tock heheheh tick-tock tick-tock hehehehehe". Fred and I got so scared we actually had to wake her up. I'm quite sure it was Satan's doing.

After that I got Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida, which was wonderful. It's about this girl who travels from the States to Lappland ( Northern Finland, Norway, Sweden) to find her biological father just days after burying the one who raised her. I love books about travel, people on a mission or people running away from something. I really like the language too, simple and beautiful. There's a pessimistic tone throughout the book but at the same time it's really funny and poetic. Of course Vendela Vida is co-editor of the Believer, so naturally her book will be good. It seems like the Believer-people are all pretty amazing. The last number was about art and I got a bunch of free fake tattoos that I'm not ever going to wear. But I appreciate the gesture. Those people are just so nice.

I have this list of books that my cousin and his girlfriend Audrey made for me when they were in Sweden. So whenever I don't know what to read I just pick something off it. So this time I picked The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. ( One of Audrey's top 5). I always feel a little retarded when I read classics this late, but I don't really have a choice now do I? I need to read them, because I love finally understanding why a classic is a classic. It doesn't always happen but when it does it's a great feeling. The Picture of Dorian has so many witty philosophical one-liners that it almost doesn't need a plot. The whole book could be all hearty intellectual banter, just because it's both great and super annoying at the same time. It does have a plot though, and a really good one at that. The picture of Dorian Gray, it's beauty and it's horrific changes are probably the kind that can only be imagined, because you can only create superlatives like that in your mind. That's why I have some doubts about the movie that I'm going to try renting pretty soon, I just don't see how they would ever be able to pull it off. I'm excited though.

Hey, the books finally caught up with me. After Dorian I read Rashomon ( and other stories) by Ryonosuka Akutagawa, just like Ohmygodimmike told me to. Haven't watched the movie yet though. Rashomon was really short, so I'm starting to wonder if it's the right one, I hope it was because I liked it a lot. Oh and I read Migraines for Dummies, ( thanks!) finally, after experiencing the craziest pre-migraine hallucinations ever, sometime last week. Literally everyone on the subway had completely deformed faces. Yeah, monsters everywhere. And all I could think was 'I can't believe how many deformed people are on the subway today'.

That's it. Migraines for Dummies was the last book of the year. It's almost over now. I'm convinced that great things await us in 2008. Hopefully.

ABBA- Happy New Year

"May we all have our hopes, our will to try, if we don't we might as well lay down and die"



Blogger Mazur said...

Every book you read this post has a long, vague and totally awesome title. Except Rashomon. But Rashomon can do whatever the fuck it wants.

What's your opinion on You, Me and Everyone We Know?

Just picked up a copy of Dorian Gray...

December 27, 2007 7:57 PM  
Blogger Laz said...

Yeah Rashomon can totally do whatever the fuck it wants. Just like the Tale of Genji.

I watched Me You and Everyone We Know in Madison and I definitely liked it. I remember Ohmygodimmike being totally in love with it, and you saying it sucked, and he getting all mad, and then you saying that you actually hadn't seen it yet. But I could be making all of this up.
Anyways, something about it sort of bothered me though. I can't put my finger on it but I think it was Miranda July's character. What did you think of it?

Tell me when you finish Dorian

December 27, 2007 8:38 PM  
Blogger DJ said...

I remember David Byrne saying on his blog that the Miranda July book was really good. I think the word you're looking for might be:

"Twee" - Something that is sweet, almost to the point of being sickeningly so. As a derogatory descriptive, it means something that is affectedly dainty or quaint, or is way too sentimental. (Urban Dictionary)

Did I mention I met someone named Dorian Grey who thought that there was a writer named Dorian Grey?

December 28, 2007 7:23 AM  
Blogger ohmygodimmike said...

I'm glad migraines for dummies was the last book of the year. That made me happy. I hoped it made your hallucinations more enjoyable, altough I probly can't even imagine how terrifying they are, and don't really want to.

I read half of Dorian a couple years ago and pathetically was proud of myself.

Isn't rashamon actually 5 or six different stories; I heard the first one about the same event from different people's percpectives is the best one, but this is all heresay.

December 28, 2007 8:04 AM  
Blogger Mazur said...

I loved You, Me, and Everyone We Know. Although it's possible I talked shit about it to OMGIMike before I saw it. It did have some moments of "twee" though. Do you dig any of her more experimental video-art work?

I'm reading Blowback by Charlmers Johnson right now, but will upgrade Dorian to the #2 spot.

December 30, 2007 3:54 PM  
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