Franny and Zooey

I’m not going to compare Franny and Zooey to The Catcher in the Rye. I’m not going to try and find similarities between Holden and Zooey. Mostly because for the life of me I can’t remember much about The Catcher in the Rye … and I own, get this, three copies of the book. How did I come across three copies? I’m not sure. But there they are, on my book shelf.

I got this book because I remember a friend of mine just LOVING it when we were younger. And I mean MUCH younger, like, fifth… maybe sixth grade? How she fell in love with it at such a young age really blows my mind, but I can’t say I blame her. I think even as a youngster you can still pick up on what is going on in it.

So, I should preface that this book really lacks a plot. But, that only bugged me for about five minutes, when I realized I was over halfway through the book and had NO IDEA where it was going/what I was to be looking forward to (other than the outcome of our dear whiney young Franny).

The book itself, in my opinion, reads like a play. I mean, the whole time I was imagining how I would turn this into a theatrical performance. They reference the theatre a lot in it, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s exactly what Salinger was going for. I mean, the book has all of about four main characters. Franny, Zooey, Lane – Franny’s beau, and Mrs. Glass – Franny and Zooey’s mother. The different parts of the book take place in about four different locales (Train station/Diner, Bathroom, Living Room, Bedrooms). The set design is outrageously EASY to envision.

Anyway, the point of the book is that Zooey (is it ZOH-EE or ZOO-EE?) has to help Franny overcome this little breakdown she is having. And, I LOVE him and I HATE him at the same time. The kid is so RUDE yet so sarcastic and funny that it drives me CRAZY. I hate the way he interacts with his mother, but he is pretty hysterical at times.

If you can’t read a book that doesn’t really seem to have a plot, then don’t try to read this one. It’s a relatively short book though, so it shouldn’t take too long to get through if you want to test it out. There is a religious theme going on in here... I am still trying to think about what EXACTLY this theme was getting at/ how it shapes the book.

I guess my favorite part is Zooey. He’s just a good character. He’s trying to be a good older brother and offer up advice, but he is just so rude and can’t formulate words probably the way he should – he’s one of those guys who is missing a filter between his brain and mouth – but still, he’s trying to help.

If you’ve read it, what did you take away most from the book?

Also, I HAD to use a lot of EMPHASIS while writing this because, by GOD, Salinger just LOVES to emphasize words in this book (and possibly in other work too, as I said, I can’t recall).

On to reading!


The Pill Vs. The Springhill Mine Disaster

It should come as no surprise by now that I love Richard Brautigan. Almost to the point of being creepy.
Some of his work has made me very happy, some has made me not as happy. This collection of poems, The Pill Vs. The Springhill Mine Disaster makes me not as happy.

It is filled with goofy poems like this:

December 30

At 1:03 in the morning a fart
Smells like a marriage between
An avocado and a fish head.

I have to get our of bed
To write this down without
          My glasses on.

Or, the only poem I’ve read that is dedicated to fellatio:

I’ve Never Had It Done so Gently Before
                                          For M

The sweet juices of your mouth
Are like castles bathed in honey.
I’ve never had it done so gently before.
You have put a circle of castles
Around my penis and you swirl them
Like sunlight on the wings of birds.

Yep. Those are the ones that I read and I’m like… where is my Brautigan? Where is the lyrical Brautigan with his specific way of writing that makes me want to hug his work? I didn’t get that from any of the poems that were like the aforementioned.

But, there were some that had that Brautigan-ness to them that made me smile and take a second to think about what I had just read.

Love Poem

   It’s so nice
To wake up in the morning
   All alone
And not have to tell somebody
   You love them
When you don’t love them
    Any more.


Your Catfish Friend

If I were to live my life
In catfish forms
In scaffolds of skin and whiskers
At the bottom of a pond
And you were to come by
    One evening
When the moon was shining
Down into my dark home
And stand there at the ends
    Of my affection
And think, “It’s beautiful
Here by this pond.   I wish
    Somebody loved me,”
I’d love you and be your catfish
Friend and drive such lonely
Thoughts from your mind
And suddenly you would be
    At peace,
And ask yourself, “I wonder
If there are any catfish
In this pond?   It seems like
A perfect place for them.”

Do you see the difference? I mean, its pretty obvious. These last two examples have that strange sadness and absurdity that draw me to Brautigan in the first place. I guess I just don’t know what he was trying to do writing about blow jobs and farts...

On to reading!


Holy Hiatus Batman

Hello to any/all that read this ol' bloggity of mine.
Here's the deal.
My computer (a sweet 2004 Dell) decided to DIE. And, try as I might to revive the poor little guy, it was to no avail. He is gone.

RIP "Compy"

So, I got a new one today. A pretty spiffy black one too. With lots of fun lights that are shining at me through my keyboard right now.
Anyway, in about one month I feel like I have done a lot of technological growing up.
I bought an iPhone (and actually started paying for my own cell phone bill, ugh. But also, thanks mom for paying it WAY longer than you ever should have), and I bought this new computer. "Compy 2.0".

So, now I am like a big kid, and that's really freaky.

I was luckily still able to move all my future blog posts over onto this computer, so don't worry, there will be posting soon, I just didn't have a way of getting them to you without getting a new computer, and I finally caved and did it. Hurray!

On to reading!


This Book Has Daddy Issues

Due to my insatiable love for The Great Gatsby, I decided that I needed to read something else by Fitzgerald -  just to see if it was only Gatsby who pulled at my proverbial heartstrings or if it is something in Fitzgerald’s writing.

Also, it’s almost impossible to give a plot synopsis of Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald without giving away some of the juicy details, so if you don’t want to read any spoilers, just skip this next part:

Tender is the Night is ultimately the story of Dick Diver and his wife Nicole. It is broken up into a three part tale.  
Book One begins with a young, beautiful actress named Rosemary. She is vacationing on the French Riviera with her mother after the release of her movie “Daddy’s Girl” (a movie where father and daughter seem to have a somewhat sexual relationship). One day while sitting on the beach she meets a group of hoity toity people. Uninterested in their company, she meets another group of people, and she finds herself falling in love with one of the men in the group, Dick Diver. Rosemary is invited to a dinner party at the Diver’s home. They appear to be an immaculate couple, with beautiful children and a beautiful home. Among these guests is a young man named Tommy who says, rather deliberately to Rosemary, that he likes Nicole very much (which stood out very blatantly to me, as the reader). One of the guests goes into the house to use the restroom and upon returning claims that she has a secret about what she saw going on within the home. Tommy interrupts her and says that she must not talk about what goes on inside the house. Throughout Book One Rosemary and Dick flirt with one another. At first Dick acts as though its childish flirting, he refers to Rosemary as an infant, but soon the flirting turns into something much more. 

(Ok. So a lot of things go on in each of these books, with a lot of different characters, so trying to summarize is getting a little hard without confusing you. I am going to try and condense it down even more.)

While on a trip in Paris it becomes apparent to Nicole that Dick is showing off for Rosemary, also Rosemary puts the moves on Dick, they kiss. They find Nicole screaming in the bathroom having a breakdown, and Rosemary realizes that this is what the guest had seen at the dinner party inside the house.

Book Two is from Dick Diver’s point of view. We have lost Rosemary as Dick puts her on a train and sends her away after Nicole’s mental breakdown. But, Dick’s point of view actually begins much before they ever meet Rosemary on the French Riviera.
It turns out that Dick Diver is a psychologist – a great one at that - who by chance met Nicole at a mental institution. She was sent there after her mother died and her extremely rich father began to sexually abuse her. Pretty, huh? Anyway, Nicole falls in love with Dick. So they get engaged. Then through a montage of scenes we are brought back up to the present day. Dick misses Rosemary terribly and is worried about Nicole’s state of mind. They travel to the Alps and there he meets with his old psychologist friends and they propose he start a clinic with them. They start the clinic, after a while Dick isn’t happy and Nicole begins to have mental problems again. Dick decides to take a break from the clinic and Nicole, and heads on vacation. At some point in his travels he is in Italy and runs into Rosemary. They catch up and finally do the deed.

Book Three is basically just about the end of Dick and Nicole Diver. Dick can’t stop drinking. He can’t stop being an asshole to everyone he meets. He pulls out of the clinic that he started, and the Divers go back to the French Riviera where the story began. Rosemary is there – she and Dick flirt in front of Nicole. Nicole gets upset - she has an affair with Tommy – the young man from the beginning of the story. Tommy confronts Dick and tells him that Nicole doesn’t love him anymore and that they must get a divorce. Dick agrees.
Nicole marries Tommy and Dick tries to start clinics in America but all seem to fail.

SYNOPSIS OVER. Holy cow. And I cut A LOT of stuff out, too.

For a non-spoiler recap (or just a much shorter recap): This book is about Dick Diver and his wife, Nicole. They travel to a lot of places. They meet an actress and have friends. They do dinner on the French Riviera. Something happens at dinner. More stuff happens. It turns out Dick is a psychologist – and a good one at that. He has even written a widely acclaimed text book. They travel some more. You basically watch Dick’s entire life disintegrate. The end!

I actually really enjoyed this book, it was very easy to connect to the characters – even more so than in Gatsby – they had a richness to them, like people you could actually see yourself sitting down to a French Riviera dinner with.
The novel did seem to draw on for a long time. Some of the other characters just didn’t really need to be in there, at least that’s how it felt to me. I understand that through watching the other character’s lives change, as well as the Divers, you can see the passage of time and how life affects everyone – for the good and the bad.
It really was a touching story though; I mean I was pretty emotionally invested in the characters by the end of the book, particularly Dick.
In the end I was expecting a different sort of ending. It all wrapped up very quickly. I thought for sure Dick was going to leap from the top of the cliff on the beach – and I suppose I would have rather had that than the way the book actually did end.

I think I need to read one more book by Fitzgerald before I conclude whether it is his writing in general, or just the one novel, that make me love him.

On to reading!



I got my engagement photos in the mail the other day, and this is one of my favorites from the shoot. My friend Christine took the photos, and she does amazing work. Check her out!

I got to have my books in the pictures - and he got to have his audio speakers... compromise!
It was such a fun day!

On to reading!


The Virgin Suicides

Because I really enjoyed this book so much (and I really wasn’t expecting to at all for some reason – mostly because the movie was so very, very good), I’ve decided that I should just shut my mouth and show a few images that I find to be everything that could encapsulate this sad, eery, wonderful tale of five sisters who commit suicide within their suburban prison of a home. 
DISCLAIMER: Some may be disturbing to viewers.

“Basically what we have here is a dreamer. Somebody out of touch with reality. When she jumped, she probably thought she'd fly”

"In the end, the tortures tearing the Lisbon girls pointed to a simple reasoned refusal to accept the world as it was handed down to them, so full of flaws.”

"Following the homecoming dance, Mrs. Lisbon closed the downstairs shades. All we could see were the girls' incarcerated shadows, which ran riot in our imaginations. Moreover, as fall turned to winter, the trees in the yard drooped and thickened, concealing the house, even though their leaflessness should have revealed it. A cloud always seemed to hover over the Lisbons' roof."

“All sixteen mentioned her jutting ribs, the insubstantiality of her thighs, and one, who went up to the roof with Lux during a warm winter rain, told us how the basins of her collarbones collected water.”

“She had done more than take the girls out of school. The next Sunday, arriving home after a spirited church sermon, she had commanded Lux to destroy her rock records.”





Son of a Witch

I read Wicked by Gregory Maguire a while back. I actually really liked it. I thought it was an interesting spin on a childhood classic. So, when I was shopping and came across Son of a Witch, the sequel to Wicked, I had to buy it.

This novel is about Liir, the (could be) son of Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West). It picks up where Wicked left off, Dorothy has splashed water on Elphaba and she dies. Liir is left with no one, so he tags along with Dorothy and her crew.
A decade after this incident, Liir is found near death on the side of the road. Nearly all of his bones are broken and he is in a deep comatose state. He is taken to a Mauntery where he is cared for by the women who live there. A young girl, Candle, is taken to Liir’s room and shut in there with him. She plays a musical instrument in hopes of bring Liir back to life. Between these, snippets of  Liir’s life over the last ten years are brought to light. He was emotionally lost after Elphaba’s death, and haunted by not knowing whether she was his mother or not, he wanders around Oz looking for a purpose in life. Finally he joins the military.
A lot more happens within Liir’s life. Finally he awakens at the Mauntery, tries to find a purpose for himself again - and then the book ends.

I can’t say I loved it, or even really liked it that much. It was very political. Not a lot of action. A bit confusing at times. I think maybe I should have reread Wicked just to remember everything that had happened in it. Liir was flat and uninteresting – I felt nothing for him. He was this emo little brat, sniffling the entire time about not knowing where he came from, or what he should do with his life.

If I come across A Lion Among Men, I'm sure I will read it. But, I was not overly impressed by this second novel. At all.

On to reading!


Book Sale.

The library downtown was having their annual book sale a couple of weeks ago. I’ve always wanted to go to it, but it’s one of those things where I ALWAYS seem to have something going on at the exact same time. But I luckily made it this time around.

At the front door they give you a plastic bag, you can fill it up and pay $9.00 for the whole bag, or buy the books individually.

I opted for the bag.

This is what I acquired:

Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers which I’ve always wanted to read.

Stephen King’s Four Past Midnight – four of King’s novellas. Should be some quick easy reads.

The Theme of Love what appears to be an old paperback text book, with collections of essays, poems, plays, fiction works – all about the theme of love. It just seemed really interesting and old to me, so in the bag it went.

Volumes 1 & 3 (Volume 2 was nowhere to be found) of Greek Tragedies. These two little gems include plays like Antigone, Hippolytus and The Bacchae. It should be interesting to read those old Greek Classics again.

Samuel Butler’s The Way of All Flesh which sucks because I ALREADY BOUGHT IT. [I need to write down books I already have.] So anyway, apparently I REALLY want to read this book, or else I wouldn’t have bought it. Twice.

Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride  I was on the hunt for a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale which I believe I mentioned I left on the plane on the way back from Ireland. Shucks. But I found this one, not sure what it’s about, but so far I’ve liked Atwood and want to see what else she has to offer. I’m still keeping my eye open for “T.H.T.” though.

Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We which was a book I had seen on “Must Read Dystopian Novels”, I think on Goodreads.com. Anyway, I love dystopian, so hopefully this doesn’t lead me astray.

And last but not least, Edgar Allan Poe’s 8 Tales of Terror which really just reminded me of a book my mom bought me when I was in the 4th grade, a collection of Poe’s stories. They were a little too much for me to completely comprehend at that age, so now I can read them all again.

The book sale was mostly made up of completely random books, as well as a plethora of Stephen King & Dean Koontz novels. So I was happy with the hoard I got.

On to reading!


Duma Key

Duma Key by Stephen King book was recommended to me by an old coworker. We had been sitting around the breakroom table talking about books, I mentioned that I love Bag of Bones by Stephen King and he said if I hadn’t read Duma Key yet, I didn’t know what I was missing. So, upon finding a used copy for relatively cheap, I decided I should read it. And what better time than on a 14 hour flight to Dublin, Ireland?

A synopsis of the plot:

Edgar Freemantle, a once very successful contractor, survives a horrific accident on a construction site one day. He is nearly crushed inside his truck by a crane. He loses his right arm, has a major head injury, and his legs/hips are broken. 
His wife leaves him. 
He moves to Florida looking to reinvent himself, or if nothing else, kill himself and make it look like an accident so his daughters don’t find out. 
Edgar rents a house which he affectionately names Big Pink because of its salmon color. While he is staying at Big Pink he begins to draw. His talent starts to develop at a raging speed, and it always seems to happen when his phantom right arm begins to itch like crazy.
Down the way from Big Pink is another large house which is occupied by Elizabeth Eastlake, a very wealthy old woman who is beginning to suffer from Alzheimer’s, and her caretaker Wireman. Edgar and Wireman befriend one another and the mystery of Miss Eastlake’s family begins to emerge, as well as the reason for why Edgar’s talent for art is becoming so … supernatural. 

Anyway, it was a pretty good book. In a lot of ways it reminded me of Bag of Bones - what with the interesting back story and everything - but it was lacking something to make me enthralled with it like I get with Bag of Bones.

It’s not my favorite, but it’s definitely not bad. It is an interesting, relatively easy book to get through. If you are looking for something entertaining for a 14 hour flight, then it’s a pretty good choice. It’s just lengthy enough to last the whole time (in between tiny, adorable little airplane meals) and compelling enough to make you want to keep reading.

On to reading!


The Ireland Trip

Our trip to Ireland was magical and beautiful and pretty much everything I wanted it to be. 

We got to go and see The Book of Kells (a vellum book made most likely in the 9th century), which was very cool. So old and intricate and interesting, but really nothing that I can explain in words unless you could be there to see it yourself. 

The Book of Kells exhibit opened up into the The Long Hall of Trinity College’s dramatically beautiful library. We got to walk down a stunning hallway completely surrounded by books. 
Busts of famous authors line the hall, the architecture and attention to detail are fantastic.
They wouldn’t allow you to take pictures of any of it, so that really stunk. But, that’s what the power of Google is for.

I don’t think these pictures do it justice. It’s one of those things that you have to see for yourself. When you first get in the exhibit you walk along a little tour of how the book was made, the tools they used, the story it tells, etc. But, it’s not until you are looking at this relatively small little book, with all of its scrolling lettering and precise pictures and intertwining lines, that you see the craft that was put into it.

The library was beautiful, I could have stayed in there for hours admiring its beauty, but unfortunately not everyone we were traveling with was as obsessed with books as moi. So, we hit the gift shop where you could buy little scrolls and pen and ink sets, coffee mugs, shirts, etc. Ireland is full of trinkets.

It was just cool to be in such a historic city where a lot of famous authors are from. 

 Here are just a few random pictures from the trip: 
Awesome Old Cemetery

Jameson Whiskey Factory
View from the Blarney Castle

A tap at your table??
Cliffs of Moher - beautiful
Cool Cliffs - kind of foggy, but still pretty
View from the top of the Guinness Factory

A Frenchmen blowing up a condom on his head


On to reading!



I wanted to read some James Joyce before we embarked for Ireland due to two reasons: 
1) I had never read anything by Joyce and 
2) there is a James Joyce walk you can take in Dublin.
I didn’t end up doing the walk, but I can now say that I have read some Joyce. My book nerd friend of mine gave me both Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Upon doing a survey to see which I should read, I was told if I wanted to be "pretentious" I should read Dubliners and if I wanted something good I should A Portrait

So, logically, I read Dubliners

No one is going to tell me I’m pretentious for reading a certain author’s work.
That’s just ridiculous.

Anyway, I actually found Dubliners to be quite entertaining. It’s a collection of short stories about people’s lives in Dublin. None of them really have a happy ending. None of them have an outstanding point. But they are all absorbing.

The Dublin that Joyce painted was dark and dull. It was a place that no one wanted to stay, but no one could leave. Every story in the book dealt in some way with a character who was faced with the choice to leave the city, or to stay, and ultimately they always decide to stay.

It may not have been the BEST choice to read before journeying to Dublin, I was a little weary it would be the dreary city that Joyce painted for (luckily, it was not).

 Pretty cool, huh?

If you haven’t read James Joyce, I don’t see anything pretentious about this collection of stories. In fact, it wouldn’t be too bad of an idea to read them just for the fact that you can get a quick taste for his writing style (before you delve into something like Finnigans Wake, or Ulysses, both of which I also want to read).

On to reading!