Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The return

It's seemed like a lot longer than two weeks since I have posted and I'd like to thank everyone who wrote me wondering where I went. Mostly I got caught up in other stuff and just wasn't taking the time to write. I also wasn't really sure why I was writing. Hearing from people helped.

It also turns out that an attractive young woman helped...again. As I wrote a little while ago, I have a weakness for attractive women. Well last night the same girl mentioned in the post from before came into the library. I had only seen her once since she had mentioned Jonathan Safron Foer and I did not get a chance to talk to her then. She needed help requesting a movie online and I helped her with that but I got called off to help someone else before I could talk much to her.

I was working the circulation desk when she checked out, though, so I said to her "I've been wanting to thank you".
Her: "Me? For what?"
"A while back you were in here and you spoke very highly of Jonathan Safron Foer so I read his stuff and I loved it"
"REALLY?!?! What did you read?"
"I read both of his books, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud."
"I am so happy right now."

I don't think she could have been prouder or happier had she written the books herself. I swear she had tears in her eyes. I really wasn't expecting it. Thought maybe at best there'd be a "Cool, glad you liked it". So I was really surprised. I was really struck by her reaction but after she left I thought about it some and realized that I'm sort of the same way. One, there's something affirming when someone else likes the things we like. It makes us feel good. Two, it feels good to expose people to new things. I've become a DeVotchKa zealot, touting them to anybody and everybody. When someone tells me they listened to DeVotchKa and liked them, I feel warm and fuzzy inside. Same with Toby Barlow's Sharp Teeth. Some of it is pride in that I steered them towards it but some of it is that I'm glad that others are moved in the same fashion I was.

Which brings me back to the blog. One of the main purposes of this blog is to talk about what I read. I feel like I read a reasonable amount of stuff and a bunch of things that are off of the beaten path for most. Her reaction was sort of that "Aha!" moment for me (plus the outpouring (OK, trickle) of e-mails I received from readers.

Now I need to catch up. In the last two weeks I've finished five books, including Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I've reviewed these in chronological order so I'll continue to do so. Today's review is Steve Hely's How I Became A Famous Novelist. It's a nice little satire on the the industry of fiction writing. The main character, Pete Tarslow, is a ne'er do well who, in an attempt to largely spite his ex-girlfriend who is getting married to someone else, decides to write a novel. Rather than mine his imagination for the story, he reads bestsellers and models the characteristics of them to create his own, pretty terrible novel. But a few breaks and some publicity turn him into a bestselling author. Much to the chagrin of appreciators of literature, Tarslow pulls off his goal. In the end, though, he realizes that there is much more to writing and reading.

The book was moderately funny. The main character is not someone whom you root for which in itself is sort of nice. You're looking for him to get his comeuppance and he does. There's not really anything special about it, though, for me to recommend it.

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