Saturday, October 14, 2006

lit meme

A meme for books, the gauntlet thrown down by write procrastinator.

1 ) One book that changed your life:

Is this statement for real? Well, I guess if I really thought about it, I'm sure there are a few books that have changed my life, movies too. It just sounds so cheesy to say something "changed your life". In terms of content, I have no idea. But, there came a weird turning point where I started to really appreciate language and the construction of words together, in a way that I never had thought of before. Now, I'm obsessed with language.... it's almost as if the story doesn't matter in favor of nailing the language. One of the first books I read where this lightbulb went off was A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (which I am a fan of, despite other detractors who jump on the Dave-Eggers-isn't-cool-anymore bandwagon).

2) One book that you’d read more than once:

No joke, I've read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton more than 5 times, at least. It's been awhile, but I have a deep affection for this book. It's also one of those books I read at a young enough age where I first realized that the original novel is almost always better than the movie adaptation.

3) One book you’d want on a deserted island:

It's got to be entertaining, redeeming, fulfilling. Part of me thinks I'd prefer to have a book of short stories because of the varying topics and the different world each story can create.... meaning that just one novel can maybe get a little suffocating. I'm totally smitten with Birds of America by Lorrie Moore right now, but I also have uneneding dedication to White Noise by Don DeLillo.

4) One book that made you laugh:

Most recently? Home Land by Sam Lipsyte.... it takes a lot for a book to actually make me laugh out loud (in public, reading on the subway no less), and parts of this book did the trick. Barbed and sardonic.... I love it.

5) One book that made you cry:

I'm not exactly a big weeper, so this question doesn't really apply.... Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates is so bleak but at the same time so wrenchingly beautiful, somehow I can't imagine people getting through it without a dry eye. It's hard to pitch this book and tell them to read it, because it is the polar opposite of a feel-good read.... but when you do read it, you realize you have perhaps read something perfect, one of the greatest novels of our time.

6) One book you wish you’d written:

Ah, the green-with-envy question. Well, I'm in awe of a lot of literature.... but I don't know if that necessarily means I wish I wrote some of it. I feel like that I'm learning so much from the short stories by Lorrie Moore, so I want to say that I wrote one of her books because her writing is incredible. But.... I have to admit that I'm a screaming Beatle-mania fan of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, only because it comes so close to virtuosity; I admire the structure and the style and the balls-to-the-wall ambition.

7) One book you wish had never been written:

One book? How about chick-lit as a genre. Most books I find cluttering the "New Fiction" shelves at bookstores all have pink covers and cartoon drawings of legs or purses. Meanwhile struggling quality lit-fiction writers out there are consistently being turned away by publishers.

8) One book you’re currently reading:

Well, aside from some of the not-so-interesting stuff I've been tasked to read for classes (including Washington Square by Henry James: my nemesis, he hath returned), I'm trying to get to books that I want to read instead. I've started to read Joe College by Tom Perrotta, but I'm not convinced I like it all that much.

9) One book you’ve been meaning to read:

The short stories of Raymond Carver in Where I'm Calling From. There's also Underworld by Don DeLillo, but let's be honest, I'm just scared of how damn big it is.

10) Tag, you're it.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

another one bites the dust

One of the least-coveted titles for a new television show is that of the first-canceled television show, across all networks. The (un)lucky winner this year: "Smith"


The show had such promise too. At this point it's only been "taken off the schedule", but headstones are already being prepared. If you look at the history of heist shows, though, they tend not to do so well.... so, "Smith" had an uphill climb from the start. I guess no matter how good the writing, acting, and production values are.... if your show doesn't pick up an audience, it's over. All this goes without saying, though.

It seems none of the new television shows this season are doing so hot. There doesn't seem to be one great standout of the new year.... Strange when critics and networks are heralding their own self-proclaimed renaissance of quality television.... it seems all the viewing public really wants is "CSI" and "Grey's Anatomy".... even "Lost" noticed a dip in ratings for its season premiere. This is no surprise either.... year after year after year, television viewing audiences prefer the kid gloves, not the challenging stuff. Dr. McDreamy et. al. are television fluff and an unstoppable juggernaut of female wish fulfillment drama.

Looks like now I'm gonna have to start watching "Heroes", just like everyone else in the country.