Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What I'm Reading Now...

Happy Hump Day! While it seems like most of the sane parts of the USA are enduring winter storms or at the least, chilly weather, I'm a little preoccupied with the insanely warm temps we're enduring here in Southern California. The high this week got up to about 87 degrees! I don't even want to THINK about what July and August are going to be like.

Heat not withstanding, I've had a reasonably productive week, and decided to give myself a night off--I scheduled a date with a bottle of wine and the Internet. Does that mean that technically, I am on a date with millions of people? Ugh.

Moving along to the good stuff...It's time to do a quick rundown on the books I'm currently working on...

(Starting from the bottom)

Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace
This is my single, true reading goal for the year. If I read nothing else, but finish this, I will be satisfied. Right now, I'm more or less on track--I'm on page 129. Because this is so huge, I think the plot(s?) are fairly dense, so it takes a while for things to happen. Either that, or it's like a more erudite, book-version of Seinfeld, "about nothing." And somehow, I don't think that's the case. A summary of what I know is going on: there's some sort of Canadian conspiracy. Some dude really wants to score some weed. A lot of stuff--but really, at the same time, not a lot--unfolds at the Tennis Academy. Quote that has stuck with me so far: "What you wish to sing of as a tragic love is an attachment not carefully chosen."
The Mime Order, by Samantha Shannon
The older I get, the more I have to acknowledge: series books--particularly sci-fi/fantasy, which usually involve world-building and a host of characters--are difficult for me to read, simply because a year at the least and usually much more lapse between the books. The Bone Season, Shannon's first in this series, was decent enough for me to check out The Mime Order, but so far, I'm A. Not riveted and B. A little forgetful of the characters and some of the more arcane details. And if you've forgotten the characters and their relationships that you are supposed to care about...well. Anyway, I'll give this 50 more pages before I give up.

#Girlboss, by Sophie Amoruso
So I'm a little behind with this was Paper and Glam's January Book Club choice, and I just didn't get "aroundtoit" until now. I'm reading it on my iPhone, and while it's relatively interesting, I don't find it particularly profound or substantive thus far. Definitely not Lean In caliber. I think it's probably geared more for ladies in their 20s, still trying to figure shit out.

Home Again: Essays and Memoirs From Indiana, edited by Tom Watson and Jim McGarrah 
As part of my promise to myself to read through my "Midwestern Library," I'm savoring this collection. And boy howdy, do I mean savoring it. Despite what one would be forgiven for thinking, I'm not TORTURING myself when I read these words, which celebrate Indiana and also honestly reveal her flaws. Rather, I am validating myself: most folks out here don't get what I love about Indiana, and so many times, I have found myself dangerously close to dismissing my love as idealized, focused on a dead past, quixotic...out here in the land of film star sightings and genuine Mexican food and perpetually sunny weather, it's easy to dismiss my love as at worst, a mental instability, or at best, the pathetic yearnings of a confused woman. But when I read things like... "Indiana is America hidden in plain sight. What we need to ask ourselves is why we are so inclined to look at a landscape with soil so rich and harvests so abundant and find it boring [...] there are rewards for those willing to take the time to stop and look, to pay attention rather than to demand sensation. The place requires a sort of Midwestern zen. The changing seasons, the quality of the light in late afternoon, the presence of wildflowers blooming impetuously in city yards--such pleasures we have in abundance" (David Hoppe) I know I'm not crazy, or ungrateful, or even pathetic. I'm just me. A Hoosier at heart and by history, if not by birth. And I'm not the only one of my kind.

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