Sunday, December 18, 2011

Me Talk Pretty One Day

Sometime between attempting to capture a pigeon for the $750 reward and Ira Glass waving a magic, fame-inducing public radio microphone under David Sedaris' chin, the brother of the equally famous Amy Sedaris - more about her here, interviewed on the Sound of Young America - wrote a little collection of essays called Me Talk Pretty One Day. 

Recalling with a dry wit the funniest moments of his youth in North Carolina, multiple "art school" phases, and life on the French countryside, Sedaris' could have been trained in an Ivy League MFA if not for his constant usage of "Xerox" in place of "copy." Well that, and then also, there was The One About the Turd.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

East of Eden

Giving John Steinbeck's East of Eden 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads seems harsh I know.

After all, it is an epic, and I liked the other epics I read. It spans a multi-generational family history, a sweeping geographical history, and an inherent Biblical metaphor. Steinbeck himself wrote of the novel: "I don't see how it can be popular. I am inventing method and form and tone and context." (Intro, pg vii) Anti-mainstream, drenched in self pity, fatalist, and if you turn a blind eye to the blatant (albeit at the time, culturally accepted) racism and sexism, the novel practically begs for a feverish cult status among the hipster crowd. It was even part of Oprah's book club.

It's true the writing is sublime, nuanced, honest and subtle - "Tom started to call after him, and then he leaned wearily down and picked up the telegram. He sat in the sun on the bench outside the forge, holding the telegram in his hand. And he looked at the hills and at the old house, as though to save something, before he tore open the envelope and read the inevitable four words, the person, the event and the time." (page 310)