Saturn returned to bite me in the ass.
Apparently Pierce Brosnan periodically mentions they’re working on a film adaptation of (brace yourselves, former tweeners) ‘The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle’ with him as the captain, Saoirse Ronan as Charlotte, and Morgan Freeman as Zachariah.
I AM LATE TO THIS GAME BUT YES
YES YES YES YES YES
YES YES YES YES YES
YES TO ALL.
Well, the good news is that The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest does, in fact, get really good—about 52% of the way in, according to my Kindle. (As a reminder, Played With Fire) took a full 74% to kick into gear, so this is an improvement!)
The bad news is that I hit 52% at about 11:30 last night, so I stayed up far too late reading, so I did not wake up at my previously appointed time, and also it is Monday and I still do not have a job. Still! How is that even possible!? Oh, 2011.
First of all, I’m just assuming it was 2009. I don’t really remember when EVERYONE around me was eyebrow-deep in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but there was a time. We all lived through it. You were probably one of those people reading it, and I wasn’t.
I don’t remember why I wasn’t. The most likely reason is that I just wasn’t reading. I’ve mentioned that I go on crazy reading jags where I do nothing else for weeks and weeks, and then I just quit. For months. I let the list get longer and longer, and then at some point, I pick up that dusty paperback or charge up my Kindle and read till I can’t take it anymore. I was probably just not reading when you were reading Dragon Tattoo. And Played With Fire. And Hornet’s Nest. And when I WAS reading, I had other priorities. Like The Hunger Games and what felt like the entire public domain on my Kindle. Seriously, go read The Jungle.
So it took until last week, egged on by the movie preview and everyone else on earth, for me to pick up Dragon Tattoo. And I plodded through the boring beginning, and okay this is only vaguely interesting, and why do I care about this kind of snotty sociopath girl and oh, okay, she’s kind of serious. And then it was Yom Kippur, and what else was I gonna do but lay on my parents’ couch and read the last two-thirds of it? Nothing, that’s what.
I found myself not very interested in the characters or the motivation for most of the book (the Wennerstrom affair, that is, and which Vangers were crazy Nazis and which weren’t), I just wanted to know What Happened to Harriet, and then I was like, yeah, okay. I only sort of buy that she’d REALLY disappear from her BELOVED uncle for the rest of her life, without even a real hint that she was alive, just to avoid her psychotic brother, even as a grown up. But sure, fine. And I only sort of buy that flawless Salander made a copy-paste error in her report on Blomqvist and that’s how he figured her out. But sure, fine. High fives, Salander and Blomqvist, except also low fives, because you both kind of suck at being humans. Also, Salander kind of sucks at being Salander sometimes, but we will get to that.
Now I’m like 40% of the way through (my newfangled NYPL/Kindle rental!!!!! of) Played With Fire. And Lisbeth has BOOBS, and Blomqvist is schtupping Harriet, and I cannot help but wonder if there’s any female character who DOESN’T “accidentally” become Blomqvist’s lover (because it’s always, always, so far, an “accident” that his dick winds up EVERYWHERE). Mimmi is about to get kidnapped in a case of mistaken identity (I assume), and Salander is getting all human on my ass. And really, I want her to be more like Dexter. I don’t want her to know she has feelings. I want her to think she doesn’t and think she’s all science and math and Harry’s Code (close enough) and not realize how human she is, ever, like Dexter, except for when shit happens to him like his wife turns up dead or Kat from 10 Things I Hate About You leaves him after they kill the guy from Hackers. But Dex always goes back to his normal business, not realizing how he’s changed. Salander changes, makes herself change, and now what? Every single character she’s re-met in this book has to comment on how grown up and changed she seems now. We get it! What is Larsson gonna do with this?! She’s not a robot anymore, but she sure is awkward(er) now.
In other words, here in book 2, I am less interested in the story (Swedes writing about sex trafficking? A blonde giant stalking Lisbeth on behalf of her psycho guardian guy? There’s a third book, I know she lives, y’all.), and more interested in whether I am going to be able to stand a half-human Salander for another book and a half. Stay tuned!
Can you name…
1. Nope, no I cannot. Though I can think of many books that I “threw” to the floor, having fallen asleep out of boredom while reading them.
2. Yes! The Virgin Suicides. Obviously. Obviously.
3. More often than not, I find that I don’t want to love books that I do love. I was, I suppose, recently surprised to love Just Kids, because I did not know anything about Patti Smith and still don’t. I know, I am horribly uneducated. But still!
4. Bossypants. I know. It’s on my kindle. But I am trudging through all seven Harrys Potter first, as previously mentioned a hundred times. Hopefully this weekend I will finish #5 finally (I know, it is embarrassing how long this has taken, but I have been busy and NETFLIX), since both that fellow and Futt will be out of town, and now that I’m like 75% of the way through, Harry himself is kind of being less of a bitch. Then it’s just two really good ones to chew through, and then it’s time for Bossypants, Unfamiliar Fishes, A Visit From The Goon Squad etc.
“When she was seventeen, Deb Olin Unferth trailed her boyfriend into Central America to join a revolution. Any revolution. They ran out of money, and so they came home. “I was eighteen. That’s the whole story,” Unferth tells us. This is not the whole story, and we know this because we are only two pages into a 224-page book.”
This post overlaps with my work life. You should read this book.
1. “Unfamiliar Fishes,” by Sarah Vowell
2. “Bossypants,” by Tina Fey
Because I am halfway through all seven Harry Potters, and I can’t stop now. I just can’t stop!!
Or are you just happy it’s Friday?
Reblog this post with a line about what you’re reading this week, and you’ll be entered to win wonderful books and prizes.
Why? Because FridayReads loves you!
Disaster Preparedness by Heather Havrilesky, because I’m apparently having a heavy ladymemoir phase.
“But when you’re young, and you’re habitually dating the damaged, and they don’t come through, you have to make the conscious choice to separate the columns in your head that say “This is who I am” and “This is how I am being treated.”… And then you have to decide if you want to keep going out with guys you don’t think are great, or if you like yourself enough to hang out for a while on your own.”
This morning on the way to work, I finished reading Julie Klausner’s I Don’t Care About Your Band, her treatise/memoir on life as a twentysomething dater in New York.
As I noted earlier, it includes The Greatest Book Introduction of All Time, from which I drew the above quote. Yes, that quote makes it sound like you’re about to read a self-help book for spunky singles, which it only sort of is, and only in the best way possible (which is to say, she does not claim to have it all figured out, even if she has a boyfriend). After the intro, it goes into memoir territory as Klausner recounts the highlights of her first thirty years as a ferociously man-loving Jewess. And if you know me at all, you know that the most important three words (yes, that’s how you count a hyphenate) that describe me are ferocious, man-loving, and Jewess.
“So what?” you say. “That also describes Barbra Streisand and my Hebrew school teacher,” you say. Well, to that I say, without blogging anything that would be too too disturbing for my mom to read (which is the #3 reason I can’t write this book)*, that with the exceptions of our chosen career paths, hometowns, and the fact that she is somewhere between three and five years older, Klausner and I have thought, experienced, and felt a weirdly high number of the same weird things. (Total. Euphemism. But also not. IT WORKS ALL WAYS!)
We both have the best dad ever (or you know, I have the best and she has the second best), which is wonderful, but still, as she puts it, results in the type of girl who, “has the tendency to exceed her allotted bullshit quota for boys she likes, if only because her stubborn mind will not reconcile the notion of wonderful things ever coming to an end.”
We both formed unhelpful views of men as helpless and disinterested from childhood media intake.
We both had weird early interactions with porn and faking phone sex with strangers, though since I’m the tiniest bit younger and my parents always oversupervised the phone lines, mine was internet sex.
And then? Then we both had dark, shifty sexual experiences with boys we were mostly not that into for, you know, way more than a decade. Her high school characters are mine. Her college characters are mine, though admittedly, I kept it to actual fellow students more than she appears to have. Her twenties, for all intents and purposes, were my twenties, especially my New York twenties: relationships and nonrelationships of all levels of intensity with overgrown toddlers, nutjobs, ugly dudes, losers, actors and everything in between, plus the occasion passable human.
And**, most important, she and I both did/do it all with enthusiasm and (consciously (her) or not (me)) under the “sketch comedy philosophy of how a scene should unfold, which is “What? That sounds crazy! OK, I’ll do it.”” We dated, screwed and toyed around with these schmos because hot damn, it’s fun, and when you realize you can get away with that kind of fun, you keep on having it. Until you grow up the tiniest bit, and you realize you’re in Queens or something and it’s awfully late and you don’t have a toothbrush and you’re gonna have to buy a sweater at LOFT In the morning before work. And that your own bed would have been a much nicer place to spend the night, especially since your obese cats don’t ever let you oversleep, LEST YOU MISS THEIR BREAKFAST. And that though blowing ol’ whatsisname’s self-obsessed mind was fun, you did not want to wake up staring at his moley back or have to touch it anymore at all, actually.
This is what I’m learning at 28. This is what Klausner learned in her late 20s, and why she wrote the book. This is why this morning, when I finished it and got off the train at Broadway/Lafayette, which is plastered with Macy’s ads featuring a gorgeous young model, I felt great about my zits and wrinkles, my extra 5-10lbs, the fact that I was dressed like an Algebra teacher on casual Friday (gray $10 turtleneck and Danskos, what of it?), who I am and how I got here.
Anyway, read it, if you have not already.
Look, so. Julie Klausner’s I Don’t Care About Your Band came out over a year ago. Everyone I know and like told me to read it. They all said, “You will relate to this so much!”
I said, “I know, that is what I hear! I will read it!!” And I meant it!
But then I managed to only read excerpts, or to let people read me funny passages, and then THREE separate people said they would give me their copies, but none of them ever did, so when Klausner tumblred a few weeks ago that it had been out a year, I realized that I have been a schmo and a traitor to my sex and/or generation by not yet reading it, and I downloaded it on my Kindle.
Turns out those excerpts were missing a lot of great stuff. (As Sarah Beth just noted, “No book, unless it’s an essay collection from a New Yorker writer, will ever be experpted so much that you won’t get new things from the real book! But that doesn’t apply to David Sedaris and Malcolm Gladwell.”)
I am actually finally reading the whole thing, which I did not know included The Greatest Book Introduction of All Time and a journey back to Klausner’s formative years, and I am alternating between crying, laughing and feeling sick to my stomach with recognition and the memory-based force of swinging from heartbreak to the shining, glorious optimism that apparently Klausner and I both suffer from. I’ve barely gotten to Julie Goes to College, but so far, I have been all of the emotional/experiential places she has been as a kid and teenager (just, you know, a few years later and 900 miles away). It is super fucking creepy how similar my childhood sense of myself was to Klausner’s. It is all so insanely relate-able to my entire fucking existence, and I am downright ashamed to be just starting it now.
Anyway, lesson learned. I will now endure seven more hours of work, then I will go to yoga, and then I will likely go home and watch 2 hours of The Biggest Loser, and then I will stay up till 2:00am almost finishing this book, so tomorrow I will be tired.