Archive for July, 2011

July 8th, 2011


I wake a minute before my alarm. Some dream shreds away, replaced by an incoming rush of memory: life, now, lately. It is a huge feeling, a lightness tucked under my ribs. I lie there in the warm July dark, pushing my hair up off my damp neck, and I think I am happy.

July 7th, 2011

» plane game

The plane game is one of patience. Waiting through security, waiting at the gate, waiting to board. Standing awkwardly in the narrow aisle, waiting for someone further on to repack their bag, to finally swing into their row. So many annoyed, resigned faces.

You finally inch into your seat and then it’s the set-up negotiation, all knees and neighbor’s elbow and uncooperative backpack. You wedge a book into the seatback pocket, balance your headphone case on one knee, catch a pencil briefly between your teeth. The backpack goes under the seat in front of you after a few insistent kicks; you slip off your shoes; you finally relax back.

Last week I was seated next to an unobjectionable enough neighbor. He took the armrest but I had the side of the plane to lean against. He was quiet, did not smell bad, and was not wearing a pink spandex jumpsuit. He did, however, dangle his hands between his thighs, and spend nearly the entire flight jiggling his knees together and apart. When the plane landed he bent each arm up in turn, then folded each hand forward at the wrist and pressed sharply down on them, as though they needed reattaching. A doll securing his joints. It was such a strange, fascinating gesture that I nearly forgave him for having spent the last three hours seeming to jerk off next to me.

July 5th, 2011

» 24 Books: June

Thanks especially to January and March, I finished my 2011 reading goal a full six months early. Apparently I need to be a little more ambitious with my numbers next year…

Nemesis, by Philip Roth, read by Dennis Boutsikaris – Nemesis is set in 1940′s New York, during a polio outbreak. The main character is a playground director, who watches helplessly as his kids begin falling victim to the paralyzing disease and the neighborhood is overtaken by fear. I did listen to the whole thing, but found it pretty meh. The narrator uses a very thick New York Jew accent that I found rather distracting (even though it was appropriate), and I just didn’t find the main character very interesting or likeable. I’d give this one a miss.

Sirens of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut – Loved it. I’d never read any Vonnegut before this, and had somehow escaped having any actual clue what he’s like as an author. Somewhere along the way I’d picked up the impression that he wrote Literature and was expecting — I don’t know what. Maybe a high poetic style, or something overtly philosophical, or..? Whatever I thought I was going to get, this was not it. It is literature, and it is thought-provoking, but Sirens of Titan is also a quirky sci-fi romp. I finished it quickly and wanted to read it again right away.

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon – A friend of mine lent this to me a while ago, and I was a little hesitant to crack it open because it’s massive. I read it ridiculously quickly, though, and loved it. It’s a time-travel romance, set just after WW2 and then 200 years prior. The main character is feisty and fun, and — honestly, if the phrase “time-travel romance” does it for you, pick up this book. I’m really excited to read the next one.

Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel, read by Simon Slater – This, sadly, is one I just couldn’t get into. I requested it from the library, but when it came in I couldn’t remember why or what it was about or anything — which actually happens to me quite a bit. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not. In this case, not so much. I had high hopes when I put the first disc in; I liked the narrator and was really intrigued by the story. Turns out that it’s all about Thomas Cromwell, though, and while I normally find the whole King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and etc era interesting, I just couldn’t keep my mind on this one. Lots of politics. Lots and lots. I don’t like to quit on books, but I had to with this one; I like to be absorbed in my book or music while I’m driving, especially lately, and this one just wasn’t doing the trick. I slogged through over half of it, but I’m not counting it toward my total.

2011 Book Count: 24
January: 6
February: 2
March: 7
April: 3
May: 3
June: 3