Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tying Up Loose Ends: Another Year Survived

So 2013's reading resolution was a failure. 20,000 pages was the goal and I only managed 8,078. Turns out I spent most of the year 20,000 leagues under my comforter! In a bathrobe!! Listening to Ladytron!!!

See also.

Anyway. I'd like to tie up my unfinished reading business and share some snippets from things that weren't completed or don't warrant their own post. Here goes.

From an interview with Michael Holroyd, biographer, in Paris Review, Issue 205.

I've always believed that there's no such thing as a definitive biography and, particularly if you write about writers, that you are offering your subject the opportunity to write one more book, posthumously, of course, and in collaboration with you. Even if you and I were writing about the same subject, and even if our research were identical, we would produce different books. The dates and so on would be the same, but some themes would seem important to you and insignificant to me.

 From Living History: Hillary Rodham Clinton

My mother and my grandmothers could never have lived my life; my father and my grandfathers could never have imagined it. But they bestowed on me the promise of America, which made my life and my choices possible.

From Taipei, by Tao Lin

It would take her thousands of steps to get anywhere, but she would get there easily, and when she arrived in the present, it would seem like it had been a single movement that brought her there. Did existence ever seem worked for? One seemed simply to be here, less an accumulation of moments than a single arrangement continuously gifted from some inaccessible future.

While idly eating the salad-y remains of his burrito with a fork, around twenty minutes later, Paul became aware of himself analyzing when he should've left. He vaguely traced back the night and concluded he should've left when, on his way to the venue, he had been "completely lose." He allowed himself to consider earlier opportunities, mostly for something to do, and discerned after a brief sensation of helplessness--like if he'd divided 900 by itself and wanted the calculator to answer 494/494 or 63/63--that, in terms of leaving this social situation, he shouldn't have been born.

Paul woke on his back, with uncomfortably warm feet, in a bright room, not immediately aware who or where he was, or how he had arrived. Most mornings, with decreasing frequency, probably only because the process was becoming unconscious, he wouldn't exactly know anything until three to twenty seconds of passive remembering, as if by unzipping a a PDF, showing his recent history and narrative context, which he'd delete after viewing, thinking that before he slept again he would have memorized this period of his life, but would keep, apparently not trusting himself.

 I really wanted to love Taipei. But just didn't. I never did finish it. Another year older, I wonder if my tastes have changed. Either way, I hope Tao Lin releases more poetry and short stories in the future.

Happy new year, my lovelies.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy

I have a handful of literary guilty pleasures (handfuls the size of Hulk hands), and the Bridget Jones series is one of them. I read the first two books straight through during a 19 hour flight to Japan a few years back. I also kept a travel journal for that particular trip, and needless to say Bridget's diary-keeping style seeped into it, making it pretty useless for reading now. It's full of weird, shallow observations and abbreviations of very as "v." It is funny though.

So non-spoiler alert, if you've read the books or are familiar with the movies, Mark Darcy has kicked the bucket. Bridget's a 50-year-old widow with two kids. And if it seems like Mark leaving this plane of existence is a cop out to get Bridget back in the same dating scene she was in the first two books, you'd be correct. It's almost criminal just how much the plot follows that of the first book. And of course Pride and Prejudice. There's a Mr. Darcy here as well, completely obvious and ridiculous from first greeting. "Welp, no need to read the rest. This grumpy man just saved her from a tree. They'll be married by the end." And so.

Highlight: if they do make Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy: The Movie, Daniel Craig will most certainly play the part of Mark Darcy 2.0.

Another highlight: Bridget has joined Twitter: which given her writing style, is her natural habitat.

Regardless of recycled plot, it's still funny, if a bit repetitive in its jokes. The best parts were the poignant moments, when Bridget and the kids talk about the dear departed Mr. Darcy. Those were truly touching and well-written and may or may not have made me shed tears.

But those won't be the quotes I'll share with you. Let's get straight down to pure Bridget.


  • Get annoyed by dishwasher, tumble dryer and microwave beeping in attention-seeking manner to tell you they have finished, wasting time crossly imitating dishwasher by dancing round saying, 'Oh, oh, look at me, I'm a dishwasher, I've washed the dishes.'
  • Eat grated cheese straight out of the fridge, dropping it all over the floor.
  • Lie in bed in the morning thinking morbid or erotic thoughts, but get straight up at six o'clock and do self up for school run in manner of Stella McCartney, Claudia Schiffer or similar.

Why are bodies so difficult to manage? Why? 'Oh, oh, look at me, I'm a body, I'm going to splurge fat unless you, like STARVE yourself and go to undignified TORTURE CENTRES and don't eat anything nice or get drunk.' Hate diet. Is all fault of SOCIETY. Am just going to be old and fat and eat whatever I like and NEVER HAVE SEX AGAIN and WHEEL MY FAT AROUND ON A TROLLEY.

There are at least twenty more examples of Bridget doing the 'Oh, oh, look at me' dance.

Sunday 28 October 2012

5:30 a.m. Maybe will text Leatherjacketman!
< How are you? >

One soul reaching out to another, I thought, amid the smouldering remains of the silly old mess we'd accidentally created, like silly billies in the midst of a deep unbreakable connection; Leonardo da Vinci's Adam reaching out, in that painting, for God's fingertips.

Friday 2 November 2012
Possibilities of anything ever happening with male of species again 0.

Happy Christmas, all.

400 pages
8,078 / 20,000 page goal

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hyperbole and a Half

The subtitle for Allie Brosh's book Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, could double as a subtitle for this blog. Anyway. Bad Things happen, but also good things. Like this book.

Oh, Simple Dog.
Allie Brosh has been running the extremely popular blog Hyperbole and a Half since 2009, narrating the ups and downs of her life through prose and comics. I first got into reading webcomics around that time, and I fell in love with her drawing style and humor. And Simple Dog.

It's incredible just how accurately Brosh can convey specific feelings and attitudes through simple line drawings. It's a style that looks easy but I know must take hours of work to get exactly right.

Probably one of Brosh's most relatable entries to her blog is her latest dealing with the issue of depression, which you can read in full here: Depression Part Two. It's heartbreaking and hilarious, and I've yet to see anything else that portrays the hardship of explaining depression to your peers and loved ones as this does.

Here are some snippets from the book.

"If you were sitting quietly on your couch, waiting for your girlfriend to come back inside so you could finish watching your movie, and while you were waiting, someone called you up and said "I'll give you a million dollars if you can guess what's going to happen next," you absolutely would not guess "I am going to be brutally and unexpectedly attacked by a goose in my own home." Even if you had a hundred guesses you would not guess that."

So, buy the book, check out her blog, and watch this delightful clip of Brosh reading the first chapter and a Q&A session with fans.

369 pages
7,678 / 20,000 page goal