Monday, November 20, 2006

I love books. And assorted tidbits.

I do. I love books. Love love love books. Especially books that are not assigned.

I had a crapload of tasks to get done this weekend, and I succeeded with flying colors. First and foremost, the thesis proposal has officially been sent to the entire committee and we're scheduling my defense. I also got a bunch of papers graded (still behind, but at least I'm making headway), and got some research done for the 18-page term paper that's due in Thesis Director's class after Thanksgiving.

In addition to my very important school stuff, I also took some time to read FUN STUFF this weekend.

On Friday I received a delightfully delightful package from Heather F. She was kind enough to send me three books for my birthday: Oracle Night and The Red Notebook: True Stories both by Paul Auster. The third was a picture book that I remember fondly from my childhood, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Admittedly, I teared up a little bit when I saw the picture book. It's a good memory, and only Heather would think to send me a picture book off of my wishlist. She's just cool like that.

I also received a FABULOUS birthday card from Amanda A. that also made me tear up.

I've known both of these ladies online for a zillion years (Heather-5, Amanda-3ish) and I don't know what I'd do without them. I consider them just as close to me as any of my "real life" friends that I see every day.

So, back to the bookgasm from this weekend. First, I took the time to finish City of Glass since T. was on the verge of killing me dead if I didn't move along with The New York Trilogy. Given, I'm still not done with the whole trilogy, but I'm reading the 2nd novella, and I'd say I'm more than halfway through the entire thing.

I couldn't resist taking a look at The Red Notebook since it was sitting there calling my name. I'm a sucker for Paul Auster's memoir writing since I read Hand to Mouth. The Red Notebook did not disappoint. It's a small book--only 110 pages or so--and is a collection of true stories Auster has collected from his own life and experiences of friends, etc. It's so telling to read this book as I'm working my way through his fiction because he draws heavily from his own life. For instance, the use of the red notebook image is something from his own life, but also something that carries over into City of Glass. Most of his fiction is informed heavily by issues of chance and how those can skew and shape our lives, and it really shows in The Red Notebook as all of the stories are wild, true, and soaked in strange twists of fate.

Now, it may sound dorky to those of you who are not as apeshit-crazy about books as I am, but Paul Auster is most certainly a new literary crush. In the past I've generally had lit crushes on characters (Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightly, Stephan from The Vampire Diaries) but this one is a full-on fascination with a writer. Given, I've had other writerly fascinations as well, but this is in a new league. It actually started with Auster's wife, Siri Hustvedt (I know, I know, I'll shuddup about her already), and I figured I'd give Auster himself a go since he's obviously a very smart man for having married my dearest Siri. So, now that I know Auster is fabulous they make up my favorite literary couple, and I'd love to have an intellectual threesome with them. Their themes are similar, their styles are similar, and they're effin' awesome.

*swoon*

In fact, to tell you just what a dork I am, I received a prayer box necklace (picture of which will not upload...STUPID BLOGGER) from TheOtherFeminist for my birthday! So, I had to come up with something to put in the box. Some put in smelly herbs and concoctions, some put in spells, prayers, mantras. I, dearest readers, put in one of my favorite passages from a book. It reads:

My characters. I am making them and not making them, like people in my dreams. They discuss, fight, laugh, yell, and weep. I was very young when I first heard the story of the exorcism Jesus performs on a possessed man. When Jesus talks to the demon inside the man and asks for his name, the words he cries out both scared and thrilled me. The demon says, "My name is Legion." That is my name, too.

Yes, I realize I put a passage about Legion in my prayer box necklace, but it's such a disturbingly wonderful, poignant turn of phrase that I couldn't help myself. And even though I've posted it here before, here's the entire passage--all of which would not fit in my prayer box:

I am afraid of writing, too, because when I write I am always moving toward the unarticulated, the dangerous, the place where the walls don't hold. I don't know what's there, but I'm pulled toward it. Is the wounded self the writing self? Is the writing self the answer to the wounded self? Perhaps that is more accurate. The wound is static, a given. The writing self is multiple and elastic, and it circles the wound. Over time, I have become more aware of the fact that I must try not to cover that speecheless, hurt core, that I must fight my dread of the mess and violence that are also there. I have to write the fear. The writing self is restless and searching, and it listens for voices. Where do they come from, these chatterers who talk to me before I fall asleep? My characters. I am making them and not making them, like people in my dreams. They discuss, fight, laugh, yell, and weep. I was very young when I first heard the story of the exorcism Jesus performs on a possessed man. When Jesus talks to the demon inside the man and asks for his name, the words he cries out both scared and thrilled me. The demon says, "My name is Legion." That is my name, too.

--from A Plea for Eros: Essays, by Siri Hustvedt

Recently watched: The Passion of the Christ, Art School Confidential
Recently listened: John Mayer Live

6 comments:

  1. It's so great to meet a kindred spirit. And your latest crush is inspiring me to re-read Auster. I had a mad crush on him years ago, but now I want to revisit his brilliance.

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  2. me too. meeeeeeeeeeee toooooooo!!!!!!!!

    The Boy took me to 1/2 Price Sat morning after breakfast, does it get any better than that? Me thinks not.

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  3. Oh, I don't know what I'd do with out you either. You and Amanda are the only people I can talk books to and be understood. I love you guys! Sniff.

    I really must look into this Auster guy. You seem to love him SO much.

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  4. (1) TheOtherFeminist is spot on about characters. After awhile, they tend to act independently of you. They even surprise you at times.

    (2) I didn't realize it was your birthday. Happy Birthday!

    Does that make you a Sagittarius, or a Scorpio?

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  5. Purl, enjoy re-reading Auster!! He's one of the finest, in my opinion!

    Steph, your Boy sounds better all the time!

    Heatheroo, you MUST look into Auster! I don't even think it matters where you start--everything is a winner. :)

    Thanks, X! My birthday was actually on the 10th, but I celebrate for at least 2 weeks before and 3 weeks after. :) I'm decidedly Scorpio and extremely representative of the sign as a whole.

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  6. Just an FYI, I checked out several Paul Auster books today, including the New York trilogy and Oracle Night. I only hope I can find the time to read one of them!

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