Before mercury, my blood used to fill thermometers.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

La Borde. Bath, Ohio. The country of blue.

I do not write about what I read. That's absurd.

I, Little Asylum by Emmanuelle Guattari (Semiotext(e), 2014): started and finished in order to get it over with because I loved it and it could have gone on forever. It was short even for a novella, even more of an ethereal voice than Sweet Days of Discipline. In the same vein as Sweet Days of Discipline, of quiet, exotic memoir of remote France which should be a better populated genre than it is. What else would belong there? Claudine at School, sort of. What else?

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock (Atria, 2014): finished! I picked it up hoping it would be an objective resource on discussing trans issues; I didn't realize that it was strictly a memoir and that, as a memoir, it succeeded in addressing what I wanted it to precisely and is an astonishing story. I love how specific and personal it is. Especially interesting alongside She's Not There — they are not the only memoirs by transwomen, but they are very visible ones (I bought both of them at the area Barnes & Noble, which has a shamefully anemic LGBTQ+ section) and focus on very obverse circumstances (being attracted to men and women, being poor and wealthy, a person of color and a white person).

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf (Harry N. Abrams, 2012): I stayed up late and woke up early just to speed through this. It looks so rough — and, yes, is about a rough subject — but the story is told in such a sensitive way, grounded in the seventies, from the point of view of someone having as similar an experience as possible. I used to read anything I could find about Jeffrey Dahmer — I mean, to the exclusion of all else (not just in the way of reading but, activity-wise) for a while — so this was also evocative of my own excruciating time in school.

Tampa by Alissa Nutting (Ecco, 2013): it came out in paperback, so I bought it and started it this past weekend after a hurtful week, amidst a book-binge that yielded this, Stefan Zweig's the Post Office Girl, Kay Redfield Jamison's Touched with Fire, Mavis Gallant's Cost of Living, and How to Disappear Completely: on Modern Anorexia by Kelsey Osgood. A recent headline (how awful) reminded me that Tampa was on my radar. I was caught off guard by the trashy tone of this book and how well (at this point) it works to its advantage. I'm just about halfway through, the pace is keen and I am fully into the language of the romance novel describing such horrific pathology.

Also, with zeal, I cast Anna Camp as Celeste.

On Being Blue by William Gass (New York Review of Books, 2014): finished, after dragging it out for as long as a book of its size would allow. Not better than Bluets but what is. I have the source material for the cover (a Francesca Woodman photograph) on the wall next to my bed.

Notice by Heather Lewis (Serpent's Tail, 2004): halfway through it now, and every page is agony. I love it so much, it hurts so badly to read. I want to take days off to read this book. It is an experience reading Notice and Tampa simultaneously, neither book is easy. Tampa's narrator is so unsympathetic, it's an easier book through which to glide. Notice's narrator is so sympathetic, it makes every new development in the story agony and the prospect of abandoning the narrator at the end agony.

No comments:

Post a Comment