"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Your Back To School Reading List

I heard that there are some actresses/actors who do not like to read.

SAY WHAT?! I don't only love it, I HAVE to read! If I'm bored, I'm reading something. If I'm waiting, I'm reading something, if I'm running in place at the gym, I'm reading captions. If I'm in the shower, I'm reading the conditioner ingredients. If I'm on the computer, I'm reading blogs, Twitter or Facebook. Oh My Gosh.

I have constantly been using a library card since I was 7 years old. I was that elementary school kid in 3rd grade, hopping to the 6th grade selected library books. Reading was escapism for me. Plus, if I was reading, I wasn't getting into trouble.

Fast forward a few years, and now there's a huge market for easy female love life narratives dubbed "Chick Lit." And it is some of the worst drivel ever.
Are you Marion Keyes? Those two girls who wrote "The Devil Wears Prada?" or "The Nanny Diaries?" Go fuck yourself. Seriously, You. Should. Be. Ashamed. You write crap. CRAP!

But wait....if these are books that get young women to read....should I be happy that at least they're reading? Oh the dilemma! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO FEEL ABOUT THIS!? Because every protagonist is a young lowly editor at a publishing house who hates but falls in love with their boss. UGH. I mean, man, Tracy, I hope you do a book report on Twilight, because trust me on this folks, Tracy's take on everything that is wrong with Stephanie Meyer is downright hilarious. Oh Hey, look what I found! Someone after my own heart! And read this follow up too.

So what to do, you ask? Well, I say, excuse me, I didn't quite understand what you said. Oh! You want me to recommend some books? Well, GLADLY!

1) I read The Color Purple by Alice Walker back in high school, and the entire book was so great, that as soon as I finished the last page, I flipped the book around and started right over again. Oh My! SO GOOD! This is a book told in first person by a young woman who is practically illiterate, so there is no punctuation throughout the whole book. The first five pages are a little tricky, but you will follow the natural pattern of vocal inflections and such in the narrative voice real easy. After that, go watch the movie, cause Oprah did great work in that. Then go find Erykah Badu's On and On video which is an homage to the book.

2) Cruddy, by Lynda Barry. I have Marley to thank for turning me onto this book. It's an antihero's coming of age from a cartoonist who contributes to the LA Weekly, so of course there are illustrations - really crude ones that add to the story.

3) I reread books I love. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of the most amazing novels you'll ever read. He pretty much invented magical realism and although the story is a little hard to follow (the book has a pedigree, but seriously, take notes on who's who to make it easier because there are, for instance 17 different Aurelianos) but the language, translated from Spanish, is some of the most amazing vivid prose you'll ever read. I should own this book. I really should. Chapman University has a hardcover copy filled with my green highlighter of the passages I just adored.

4) The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (her debut novel, btw) is also a movie now starring Rachel McAdams. I am praying it's going to be good, because the novel is just so incredible. I cried at parts of the book. Of the book! The last time I cried because of a book was Where the Red Fern Grows in fourth grade! Absolutely marvelous storytelling which makes your brain hurt until it explodes because all the time travelling really could work out that way if you take the time to think about it, but don't bother. Just enjoy the story.

5) The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Banks. This is also going to be a movie, starring Sarah Michelle Geller. How are they going to do this book justice? I have absolutely no idea how they're NOT going to fuck up this book as a movie, so please, read, read, read it. It's written in such a way that makes me wonder if Banks had several different stories published in different magazines and put them all together, but it really does work. There's a lot that's written that isn't said by the characters. Read it.

Read Interview With a Vampire. I read the book after I saw the movie, and I have to say the movie did a really good job of presenting visuals and making them alive, because not all of us have an appreication of clothes and architecture in 1800s Louisisana. But still, a really good read.
Fight Club. The book had the perfect book ending, but there's no way you could do that for the movie, and the movie has the perfect movie ending.
The Ethical Slut. Moo ha ha ha!

What books do you recommend for me?


  1. First of all, Lira - GREAT blog. Stephanie Meyer should have her very own circle of hell reserved for single-handedly making teenage girls okay with low self-esteem, no positive role models, and emotional abuse from men. AWESOME.

    Actors who don't read should be horse whipped. Or at the very least, have a stern talking to.

    Sadly, I didn't make it through the first 5 chapters of The Time Traveler's Wife ... I couldn't get past Audrey Niffenegger's word-choice. It bothered me, sadly; and I had such high hopes.


    If you like magical realism and good prose, I recommend Sherman Alexie's Reservation Blues, and Ali Smith's Girl Meets Boy (which is a book in the Criterion Myth collection ... it's a retelling of Iphis and Ianthe. Margaret Atwood's Penelopiad is also in this series, and is also very good...)

    Jonathan Letham's Motherless Brooklyn
    Nicole Krauss' History or Love
    John Irving's Hotel New Hampshire


  2. I have number 4, but lent it to a friend of mine before I'd had a chance to read it. I was a bit apprehensive that it might be cheesy, but if you say it's good, then I must read it.

  3. I was just thinking about 'Cruddy' the other day! I was watching 'Napoleon Dynamite' and thinking that if they ever made 'Cruddy' into a movie, they should get the same Production Designer & DP from 'Napoleon'. Nice reading list, darling!

  4. This list.is.Awesome.

    And boo on my favorite polar bear for not making it past chapter 5 of one of the most amazingly romantic books ever written, The Time Traveler's Wife.

    Boo, I say! And yay at your blog. :)

  5. I agree, Twilight is an awful read, but I still really liked it (though I had to force myself to read a lot of it!)

    I hope the Time Traveler's Wife is good as well


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