Category Archives: Reading

The Clasp by Sloane Crosley

17th December 2015

theclaspsloanecrosley

I’m conflicted about this book, have you read it? Because let’s discuss.

The Clasp is the first book I’ve read by Sloane Crosley, and she has such a talent for observation and detail that I’m now going to read everything else she’s written. And I can’t wait.

That said, the momentum and my character investment waned so abruptly that I didn’t even bother to finish the last seventy-two pages. I was 300 pages in when all the air went out of my tires, so I just skimmed to the end. Wehhhhhhh.

Have you ever had sex with someone you’ve built up in your mind, and it’s electric at first, but then he does his thing and rolls over to sleep? This book was like that.

Still, that electric part though. My favorite parts of The Clasp:

“The groomsmen’s jackets had come off. The women had grown shorter over the course of the evening.”

“Inside, Meredith’s husband, Michael, was wearing mint-green drawstring pants and opening a bag of frozen shrimp with a corkscrew.”

“She hated Los Angeles as a concept, but she also hated it on a personal level… Kezia had been told, by people trying to befriend her, that she should inject stroke medication into her forehead, how many calories were in her meal, which stylist had dropped a bracelt down the toilet, how to minimize undereye bags, all leading a few drinks later, to stories of molesting uncles and first loves who had perished in car accidents. ‘Anyway, should we split the burrata?'”

“He had reflexively touched her when she offered to show him her pirouette, last performed when she was seven years old and executed with all the grace of a human that age. He caught her in his arms before she fell headlong into a bamboo chair. She did not scramble to remove her weight but stayed limp, as if he had dipped her. Women had used this tactic with him before. Generally it took the form of drunken cartwheels in his living room or hand slapping games he did not want to learn. He know what they were doing. They were aiming for charm but missing the mark; their actions seemed to say, ‘I have the carefree joy of a prepubescent girl. So please fuck me.'”

So you see what I mean about talent. There was more. You should really read the first half of this book, guys.

VOCAB

Raynaud’s phenomenon is excessively reduced blood flow in response to cold or emotional stress, causing discoloration of the fingers, toes, and occasionally other areas.

U-bet chocolate syrup

An alcove studio is the same as a studio apartment with an additional space off the living room.

slitchiness This was a weird one, I think she means the sound of voluminous women’s clothing in motion, but the only ref I could find for slitchy was as a slang term meaning bitchy or slutty.

solopsism (a word I should know by now) the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist

Okay! Have you read it or any of Crosley’s other stuff? Tell me your things.

P.S. If you’re on Goodreads, I am also on Goodreads. Nerd party!

Evany is Writing Again

4th December 2015

evanythomasmaggiemason

Evany is one of my favorite people, and she’s posting something new to read every day this month. There will be some good reading in there, and my favorite so far is her advice letter to her son Desi:

5. Don’t rape people. This one may seem obvious, but it’s become increasingly apparent that for some reason, it totally isn’t. But the directions are pretty easy to follow on this one: No matter what someone’s wearing or not wearing, even if you’re both naked, even if you’ve already started, it’s still never too late to stop. If the other person says “no” or “stop” or “uh-uh,” then you just…stop. That’s all.

On Death, without Exaggeration

30th November 2015

On Death, without Exaggeration
Wislawa Szymborska

It can’t take a joke,
find a star, make a bridge.
It knows nothing about weaving, mining, farming,
building ships, or baking cakes.

In our planning for tomorrow,
it has the final word,
which is always beside the point.

It can’t even get the things done
that are part of its trade:
dig a grave,
make a coffin,
clean up after itself.

Preoccupied with killing,
it does the job awkwardly,
without system or skill.
As though each of us were its first kill.

Oh, it has its triumphs,
but look at its countless defeats,
missed blows,
and repeat attempts!

Sometimes it isn’t strong enough
to swat a fly from the air.
Many are the caterpillars
that have outcrawled it.

All those bulbs, pods,
tentacles, fins, tracheae,
nuptial plumage, and winter fur
show that it has fallen behind
with its halfhearted work.

Ill will won’t help
and even our lending a hand with wars and coups d’etat
is so far not enough.

Hearts beat inside eggs.
Babies’ skeletons grow.
Seeds, hard at work, sprout their first tiny pair of leaves
and sometimes even tall trees fall away.

Whoever claims that it’s omnipotent
is himself living proof
that it’s not.

There’s no life
that couldn’t be immortal
if only for a moment.

Death
always arrives by that very moment too late.

In vain it tugs at the knob
of the invisible door.
As far as you’ve come
can’t be undone.

Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin

30th October 2015

betterthanbefore

Gretchen Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project and she was a Mighty Summit attendee a few years back. Gretchen has a shiny brain — she’s globally curious, a voracious reader, knower of obscure and provable facts. Her most recent book on habits, Better Than Before, is the next best thing to sitting next to her at a dinner party.

The premise is that habits give you an autopilot option to help you through tough times, and preserve energy by lifting the burden of choices. The best parts of Better Than Before:

It’s helpful to begin with habits that most directly strengthen self control… We do well by tackling the habits hat help us to:
1. sleep
2. move
3 eat and drink right
4. unclutter

Counterintuitively, I often find it harder to make myself do something that I enjoy than something that I don’t enjoy… For some of us, it takes discipline to take pleasure.

Now is an unpopular time to take a first step.

The biggest waste of time is to do well something that we need not do at all.

If I give more to myself, I can ask more from myself. Self-regard isn’t selfish.

We can build our habits only on the foundation of our own nature.

VOCAB
inanition – lack of mental or spiritual vigor and enthusiasm

Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

22nd September 2015

I read Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude also by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I enjoyed and recommend those, particularly the former. And then there’s this.

Memories of My Melancholy Whores is a book about where and with whom an old man has dampened his genitals for the last 90 years. Let me spare you the trouble of reading it: Where has his penis been? Brothels. With whom has his penis held court? Prostitutes.

The man narrates, and a virginal, adolescent female protagonist functions only as a symbol. She is literally asleep through the entire novel. Wait. My mistake, there’s one scene where she silently curls into fetal position as the nonagenarian smashes objects around her in a jealous rage. Character development.

Two things I underlined:

“…by eleven the house was left in the bristling silence that follows great catastrophes.”

“I reorganized the library according to the order in which I had read the books.”

New word:

Concupiscence – strong sexual desire; lust. (Similar origin to the word “Cupid.”)

Internet, will you please give me some recommendations on fiction works by female authors and/or books with female protagonists you’ve enjoyed? Hemingway was next in queue, but I’m not sure I can do it.

Mindy Kaling on Human Nature

1st September 2015

This has been all over, but have you read Mindy Kaling’s article on confidence yet? I had many epiphany moments. If you haven’t read it yet, do:

Mindy Kaling’s Guide to Killer Confidence

“People’s reaction to me is sometimes “Uch, I just don’t like her. I hate how she thinks she is so great.” But it’s not that I think I’m so great. I just don’t hate myself. I do idiotic things all the time and I say crazy stuff I regret, but I don’t let everything traumatize me. And the scary thing I have noticed is that some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don’t hate themselves. So that’s why you need to be a little bit brave.”

“People get scared when you try to do something, especially when it looks like you’re succeeding. People do not get scared when you’re failing. It calms them.”