Archive for August, 2009

Absolutely true blog of a part-time shallow girl

Friday, August 21st, 2009

I am harboring a latent concern that I might seem overly shallow or vapid because I have some impossibly shallow interests.  I know!  I love Blair Waldorf!  I love shopping and thinking about shopping and shoes and so much more.  Sometimes I catch myself daydreaming about candy.  CANDY.  In a sad Friday afternoon attempt to temper my new addiction to reading Gossip Girl (which also seriously needs to end, like, next week), I am reporting to you on Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which I finished last night.  ATDPTI is a young adult book, as is the Gossip Girl series, and they are world upon world apart.  If my hypothetical child expressed an interest in reading GG, I would barf and plead with him/her to consider something else.  If my hypothetical child expressed an interest in reading ATDPTI, I would cheer and applaud, although maybe silently.

Junior is the kind of character I can get behind.  The kind of character I would want to be pals with, the kind of character I would want my hypothetical child to be (unlike, omg, Blair Waldorf).  I would reccommend this book for any and all young adults I know.  I don’t remember reading much fiction about Native Americans by Native Americans when I was younger (I actually can’t even think of any even now, other than Alexie’s work and some of the newer children’s books by Louise Erdrich, neither of which existed when I was young).  I am delighted that a book like ATDPTI exists–a book that is a little scary to young adults with subject matter that is a little challenging and difficult to swallow (in particular if you are used to, say, the glossy and exorbitant tales of Blair & Serena in GG).  I think Alexie is one of the greatest and most accessible (I say this with so.much.respect!) writers to emerge in the last two decades.  I love his writing in many capacities: I think he is a gifted poet, fantastic fiction writer, and–crucially–a mighty young adult writer.   Do we even teach young adults and children in the US about reservations and reservation life?  I don’t think we do: it is likely painful, embarrassing and atrocious to admit what happened to a classroom full of kids, and a work like Alexie’s seems a powerful avenue for conveying to young adults exactly what the fuck it is we’ve done.

GG, on the other hand.  Dang.  All these books have taught me is how to effectively hide the cover of my book from fellow bus-riders.

Kissin’ summer goodbye

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

I would tell you about the books I’ve been reading if I hadn’t been so busy reading the Gossip Girl series (so what.  it’s summer.) and snuggling with a certain Halifax-bound young man.

For other things that tend to occupy my time wonderfully, see also:

a sneaky little buddy I discovered at my parents’ house:

Little bird

Little bird

epic hat fail (this is why they say to check your gauge, people!  omgf!):

tiny hat fail

tiny hat fail

tonight might be froggin’ night.  I love this pattern but I am a tiny knitting freak so will have to start all over again.  It doesn’t even fit on my head & I have possibly the world’s littlest head.  I am in love with this yarn but I don’t know if I can stand to look at it all over again.

Other time-occupiers: resume building.  That’s right.  Here I come, world!  (I know I keep saying this, but geez, do I ever mean it!)

Because I am excited about fall!

Friday, August 14th, 2009

I am trying to get a move on my knitting right now.  I know, this is CRAZY because it is 87 million degrees out, but if I don’t get this knitting done now, when will I??!  Before you know it, Christmas will be looming and somuchstuff 257somuchstuff 286I will be scrambling to write a million terrible papers and frogging all kinds of present hats and (hopefully) packing to move to Canada and being furious at myself for not starting these kinds of things sooner.  SO, alas, my knitting frenzy.

I have made this pattern (fetching) enough that I can whip off a little glove in a couple hours of Buffy marathoning.  I love wearing these in the fall/spring.  They are good for computing, dog-walking, reading on the bus, etc.  Transitional gloves!  The turquoise are made of good ol’ Cascade that I found orphaned for $2 or something, and the weird colored ones are out of some yarn I also found orphaned for dirt cheap.  I am trying to use this weird variegated yarn up but there is always a color that I hate hidden in the skeins.  I’m looking at you, purple.  I am hereby on a yarn diet.  Seriously.  No more buying yarn until I use so much of it up.  I hate this.  For what it’s worth, I would make every person I know a pair of these because they are just that cozy and fun.  This is a hint, ladyfriends!somuchstuff 260

This is kind of fitting, given the title of the book, but I gave Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress (Susan Jane Gilman) another chance yesterday & ended up reading the entire thing.  HOWEVER, this was not out of love, I am merely trying to force myself to finish all books that I start.  I liked aspects of it well enough, but remain lukewarm on the collection as a whole.  I don’t know why I am wholly accepting & adoring of navel-gazing when some people (David Rakoff, Sarah Vowell, etc) do it, yet when others (Susan Jane Gilman) do it I end up irritated and frustrated.  Hello, I’m dead inside.

They live.

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Things I read in the last week and a half and neglected to blog about because it has been too hot to do anything other than complain, read or drink sweet tea vodka with lemonade while complaining or reading:

  • David Rakoff-Don’t get too comfortable (actually, I re-read this–I read it my senior year of college but loved it enough to read it again.  David Rakoff is the shit!)
  • Louise Erdrich-the Blue Jay’s Dance: a birth year (this was lovely & contemplative.  It was full of tidbits about birds & tomcats & pierogie recipes.  This book made me think about a lot of people.  It reminded me quite a bit of Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.  I could read both of these again & again, at different points for the rest of my life and get something new out of each.)
  • Isabel Allende-Sum of Our Days (I swear I wasn’t seeking out another Allende book, but while searching for a book by another Chilean author, this caught my eye, so I read the first paragraph and was hooked and had to read the entire book in, like, 2 days.  I love Allende’s life.  I keep crying while I read her books.  I think OMC is tired of me talking about her.  I am sort of starting to feel like I know her & her family.  I think she is adorable.  I kind of feel like she is my mother.  When she does things in her memoirs that I disapprove of I scoff & react like I would react to my mother.  If anybody else criticized the same things about her I would be furious and would defend her.  Only I can criticize.  This wasn’t my favorite, but who am I kidding, I love this woman.)
  • David Rakoff-Fraud (Very funny.  Very smart.  Super quick read.)
  • Suzanne Collins-the Hunger Games (this is part 1 of 3 in a young adult series.  My friend Kerri lent this to me and I admit I started it begrudgingly, although I think Kerri has flawless taste in books & tv shows–i.e. we like the same things.  The only thing I can compare this book to is Lois Lowry’s the Giver [though I think the Giver is far, far superior, and that Lowry is 20 times the writer that Collins is].  This book is pretty great.  The plot is completly absorbing and the characters are inordinantly ballsy.  I don’t think Collins is a particularly good writer–as I also don’t think JK Rowling is a good writer.  At all.  I do like the Harry Potter series, but do I think she can write?  No.  Awesome plot, shitty writing.  I am all for kids reading, so cannot begrudge these kinds of popular novels that actually make kids pick up a book, but I am also all for writing that is perfection, not writing that exists simply to drive a plot.  That said, I have already pre-requested book 2 and am pretty excited to continue the series.  I would recommend this to anybody who liked the Giver, but if it came down to it, I would recommend the Giver first.)
  • Last night I started a book of essays by Susan Jane Gilman that I am not convinced I love yet.  I might not finish it.  A reviewer (Laurie Notaro) had this to say about this book, which gives further proof that I am a soulless stick in the mud: “If you don’t absolutely love this book, you are dead inside.”  I feel attacked!  I will probably take my dead inside-self elsewhere and read something different.

Other life happenings:

  • OMC is getting kicked out of the US in 18 days.  I am devastated.  I don’t have anything else to say about this.
  • I left the house on Saturday and saw a Bon Jovi/Journey cover band–Bon Journey.  Only in Pittsburgh.  Also only in Pittsburgh would you see scandalous fashion like the fashion I saw at this “show”.  Holy fuck balls.  This city.
  • I love summer storms.
  • I miss my brother.
  • I want to go live in a hut in the woods or maybe in a little cabin on a lake in Northern Ontario.
  • In December, I will be done with grad school forever, or until I get mentally bored and start another program.  Maybe I will be a linguistic anthropologist.  Maybe I will be a goddamn archaeologist.  Maybe I will be a textile historian.  I don’t even know what this is!  Who the fuck knows!  Also, look out world.
  • I had a moment of personal pride last night when OMC’s friends from Ecuador brought their daughter over.  I momentarily panicked about the dog because she is a moron around new people but to my total and complete shock SHE WAS AN ANGEL.  This is the world’s most shocking news.  She played with their daughter gently and wonderfully.  I am blown away.  Completely blown away.  Their daughter loved her!  She asked if she could come over again & play more!  I am the proudest dog-mom in the land.  I have never seen the Bean around little kids so always assumed it would be insanity, but to my total shock, the Bean is somehow better with children than she is with adults.
  • I am going on vacay on Friday with my roommate, Intense Andrew.  We are going to Cincinnati and it is going to be epic.  I get to see my bff!!!!  How lucky am I?!  I am going to cuddle her face and steal her clothes and eat chili and scream and do girly things and shop and drink drinks and cuddle her face, etc.
  • Basically I am simultaneously THRILLED and bummed.


Things I am eagerly anticipating!

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Books by THREE of my favorite authors, all estimated to appear in the next 6-12 months:

1.) Ian Frazier book about Siberia, excerpted twice in the New Yorker and KILLING ME SOFTLY with anticipation

2.) Sherman Alexie short stories

3.) Lorrie Moore book of short stories

I can hardly stand this.  I am so excited.  So so so excited. I have waited for YEARS for a new Ian Frazier book.  This is the best, greatest news.