Hi, I wanted to pass on information about a blog contest going on at bildungsroman to win a copy of the graphic novel Smile by Raina Telgemeier. They want to hear your embarrassing dental stories. As someone who has had teeth removed so the others could be squished together, a pink plastic retainer, a permanent metal retainer and braces twice, I love the idea for this book and this contest! I do not, however, like the idea of ice skating or anything else that has the potential to knock out my front teeth!!!
I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today and can't quite shake the grumbles. I'm not feeling motivated to write and instead of forcing it, I am giving myself a free pass today. I've played some Lexulous, some Tetris, and read some blogs. I've scrolled through pictures of Alexander McQueen, sent some emails, and watched some SNL sketches from the 70's. I've listened to yahoo music's Big Hits of the 90's station, had some lunch, and paced. And I've been amusing myself by typing random word combinations into Google images. Here are some of my favorite results...
I hate this expression. Every time I hear it, regardless of context, I picture a little man in an oversize suit moving white envelopes around a desk and some big, bald boss chomping on a cigar standing in the doorway, tapping on his watch, yelling at him to "push the envelope."
I have never understood the origins of this phrase. And I'd imagine that most people who use it don't actually understand it. Yet they continue to use it. Grumble, grumble, grumble.
After reading The Grammarphobia Blog, which gives a clear etymology of this phrase, I have a new appreciation for it...but that doesn't mean I want to hear Joe Schmo use it to motivate someone on a reality show. Nor do I ever want to hear "throw me under the bus" again.
* I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of this book that as soon as I did I dropped everything and began reading. And reading. And reading. At 6:00 am when I finally turned out the light I was hardly able to sleep for thinking about the characters and wondering what would come next.
Most reviewers have singled out the character of Tiny as being the one that stole their hearts, but for me it was will grayson, the uncapitalized one. There was a truth to his fear that was deeply compelling. Of course, this did not surprise me, for I have come to expect David Levithan's writing to beautifully convey the complexities of feeling. His characters always seek connection and a sense of community, yet they struggle to accept the very thing they most want. will grayson is no exception; he is so scared of being overcome by feeling that for much of the book he refuses to feel anything. Yet I was completely invested in his journey.
As I'm sure you all know, John Green and David Levithan are two of my favorite authors- Levithan for his rich characterization and talent for revealing emotional truths through simple, honest moments, and Green for his quirky wit and playful use of language. However, I was afraid that reading the book would feel like riding a DNA strand, two separate story tracks merging only once in awhile; but that was not the case. The characterization was seamless and each chapter moved the plot forward. So, I would say that, just like the theme of the book, they were strengthened by their relationship with one another.
Last Thursday I had a party I called the Great Book Swap of 2010 and, let me tell you friends, it was fascinating. Namely in that countless people sent me emails or texts, or pulled me into a dark corner of the hallway to confess, that they "had nothing to give away." Now this, dear reader, is unbelievable.
These are literate people. People with books. Books, books, and more books. What I believe they meant was not that they had nothing to give away, but nothing that they COULD give away. And apparently my tack- that we ought part with some of our books before ending up on an episode of Hoarders, was not appreciated.
Sure, I have books I want to keep; books I will use in the classroom, books I plan to reread, or that I wrote embarrassing notes in, or that signify an important literary or personal epiphany. But I also have shit-loads of books that are just there. And I find it hard to believe that others aren't overwhelmed by the little buggers too.
So why is it easier for me to imagine parting with these extraneous books? Is it because many of them were free or gifts, because I buy too many books in the first place, because many were purchased at thrift stores for supremely discounted prices, or is it because my apartment is so cluttered and I am always desperate for space? Why? Who knows.
For others, however, it was not so easy to say goodbye. It was as if folks though that by giving them away they would somehow hurt the books feelings. Now this, my friends, is preposterous. Books do not have feelings. Yes, they evoke feelings in the reader. And books given to you as gifts might remind you of fond feelings for the gift giver. But the book, and, quite frankly, the gift giver, is not going to be wounded if you give away a book that you have read and have no intention of ever reading again.
To be clear, I wasn't suggesting that people hand over their entire library, just one or two of those that might be gathering dust in the top most corner of your shelf. Thankfully some folks were able to find books they were willing to part with and they came out in the cold to get their swap on! After all, the point of a swap is to trade. Tunafish for Oreos, you see.
I ended up swapping five books representing a diversity of genres: White Teeth by Zadie Smith, When I was Five I killed Myself by Howard Buten, and Urban Tribes: A Generation Redefines Friendship, Family, and Commitment by Ethan Watters, and....yikes, for the life of me I can't remember the other two. See, out of sight out of mind! (Perhaps the fact that it turned out to be free Jamesons night at the bar and they kept passing out drinks might be a contributing factor in my selective amnesia...)
And I came home with Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman, The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst, Persuasion by Jane Austen, a pile of books for donation, and an ARC of Will Grayson, Will Grayson co written by David Levithan and John Green, which I stayed up until 6:00 in the morning to finish because it was so awesome!
All in all, a great night with great people. Those of you who were not there were missed. Be forewarned, another Book Swap is in the works. So start combing those shelves for titles you are willing and able to let go of and make some room for the new titles that want in to your life.
I just ordered a copy of the 2009 Best Non-Required Reading that Dave Eggers and his minions edit. In the first few pages they always print funny lists- Best American Poem Titles, Best American Alumni Newsletter Blurbs, Best American Cat Foods, or what have you...
Well, my vote for BEST AMERICAN BLOG NAME goes to:
Not only is that an awesome name for a blog, but it also happens to be a pretty awesome blog by a totally awesome guy. Check it out. And buy his work. You won't be sorry.
Oh, and speaking of blog names, turns out Lagunitas Brewing Company has a limited release brew called...you guessed it, A Lil' Sumpin' Sumpin'. Looks like they used a picture of me on the front without asking.
From "A Word From the Nearly Distant Past" by David Levithan: We watch Erik Johnson as he lays the clothes on his bed, creating an outline of the person he's going to be tonight.
From "Night Life" by Bruce Holland Rogers: She woke while it was still dark except for under the table where the night light glowed, and she heard the mousy sounds of the sleeping house and the whisper of trees moving against the moon.
From "How to Talk to Your Mother" by Lorrie Moore: He plants kisses on the sloping ramp of your neck, and you fall asleep against him, your underpants peeled and rolled around one thigh like a bride’s garter.