Reading, lately

Ok, manuscript has been shipped! Yay.While I wait for edits to come back to me, I have some time to do the things I’ve neglected over the past few weeks, such as writing about what I’ve been reading. And taxes. I really have to do my taxes.

Committed – Elizabeth Gilbert: The most annoying thing about “Committed” was nothing in the book itself, but the reviews. So many of them started off with a snarky comment on how hard it must have been for Elizabeth Gilbert to write a follow-up to “Eat, Pray, Love”. Boo fucking hoo, Liz, the reviewers essentially said. Once that was out of the way, they’d get around to talking about the book. I suppose Gilbert encouraged this – “Committed” actually starts off with a note to the reader where she acknowledges the wild success of her previous book and emphasizes that she wrote the follow up for a very specific audience (a particular assortment of friends) because it was too difficult to write for the faceless hordes of new readers out there. Personally, I wish she hadn’t included the note. I couldn’t help but interpret it as some kind of apology that I didn’t think she had to give us. Anyway, as someone who recently got married, I was looking forward to “Committed”. In the end, I didn’t like it as much as “Eat, Pray, Love”, but that was mostly because I was never as torn up as Elizabeth Gilbert about marriage. It didn’t help that some of the marriage history stuff towards the beginning was dry for me since I had already read/discussed/pondered similar issues in women’s studies classes, read in zines or on blogs. While “Eat, Pray, Love” discussed desires that are universal (world travel, enlightenment, finding hot Brazillian lovers in Bali, etc), “Committed” is more niche. I’m glad, though, that a book like this is on the market and I think it might resonate with some of the women who read “Eat, Pray, Love” but might have never thought about these issues. (Also: I really liked this article by Jessa Crispin, always the voice of reason, defending Elizabeth Gilbert.)

Come Thou, Tortoise – Jessica Grant: I enjoyed reading this book, a quirky/sad/lovely tale about a girl named Audrey dealing with the sudden death of her father and coming to terms with new information about her family. I don’t mean quirky in an annoying way, but genuinely, kindly. For example, a tortoise narrates a section of the book, her father was killed by a Christmas tree, Audrey is called “Oddly” by her family and Uncle Thoby. These are the details that define the book. Odd and sweetly sad.

Consider the Lobster – David Foster Wallace: I’m starting to be ok with the fact that I’m bad at reading DFW’s fiction. I’ve tried to read “Infinite Jest” twice, and I failed both times. Maybe I’ll try a third time before giving up completely. Obviously I must be some kind of fraud to say I love the dude when I can’t even read his major work? Ah well. That being said, I loved these essays (and annoyed Andrew when, months and months and months after the fact I was all “Did you know this about John McCain? And this? And this?” when I read the McCain essay). Also, this is kind of related: someone recently found my site searching “Kirk Cameron Consider the Lobster”. Ha!

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