It’s important to have a cultural guide book, to help one assimilate to one’s new surroundings. Luckily, I found the master tome at a yard sale in 1989, and memorized it.
Yes, technically it will be a bit further east than the geography covered here, but I think there’s a “Galleria” of sorts, so it must be similar.
I can’t remember why I found this book so fascinating at the time. It was a weird sort of anthropological curiosity — a trend in recent history, yet completely foreign, both in language and the ever-compelling genre of “teenager” (especially when you’re a few years out from that milestone yourself.) I read it over and over.
So are there still “Aqua Velva Geeks” in SoCal?
Attention e-book makers: Since what you’re making is an “e-” that means you include things a page couldn’t — especially in the genre of sports memoir. When an athlete is talking about a key moment in a game, a particular release move off the high bar — SHOW ME THE GIF.
Seriously, I can’t think of anything more appropriate in a book like this. Instead of a paragraph where your mind tries to draw the vault she’s talking about, a lovely GIF where you can watch it as many times as you’d like.
Though there are definitely a lot of parts of this book I wouldn’t want to see in endless loop. It stressed me out to read, hence plowing through it in an overnight. This poor kid. And THOSE KAROLYIS. WORST. And I say that as a Mary Lou Retton-reared, Nadia-made-for-TV-movie-memorizing, saw-the-Strug-vault-“live,” fan. (<- About which is the most shocking revelation in the book.)
It’s an interesting commentary on culture and includes some scathing critiques of the not-so objective nature of elite US Gymnastics — and those Karolyis were so mean to that 10-year-old kid. Ugh. Though some parts, like their inhumanity in private/playing to the camera were repeated over and over, a lot of the story felt glossed over. She had a lost year of partying and drugs? It was like a page.
It’s worth a read if you’re into athlete memoirs and/or gymnastics, but it didn’t successfully shake the ghost-written film that settled over her stories. And the Olympics? Seemed also mentioned in passing. This is the third gymnastics memoir I’ve read, and the Shawn Johnson one takes you to the games more fully. (Though, Dominique wasn’t really allowed to participate in the culture of the games, so that could account for the skimpy feel.)
I’d still rank the Jennifer Sey “Chalked Up” book above this one, with the additional turmoil of hitting her prime between Olympic years. And I’m kind of on a [forward] roll now — I might have to hit up the Shannon Miller bio next…
No awards for Prolificience in Literary Science yet this year, though I distinctly remember having only logged one title by this time last, so I’m at least ahead of that precedent. I started and finished Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half when I left my data within the German city limits the other weekend.
Has it come to that? I have to leave the country to read a book? Apparently.
And apparently it also helps if that books is half pictures. I haven’t actually read her blog — the internet is not a small www — though I’ve definitely seen her illustrations without realizing where they’d come from.
The level of emotion she’s able to convey from such crude figures tips her hand — you have to be a pretty good artist to make “bad art” so good. I went looking to find out how she does it, and I think we have the same tablet she uses. Huh. And here I haven’t figured out how to draw a single meme on it.
She’s nailed her signature mix of wacky absurdist deadpan, and has a definite internetty style without being as “try hard” as other blog-to-books I’ve started. Though she’s been lauded most for her passages on depression, the story about the kid crawling through the bedroom window to get to a cake, man, that’s some imagery.
Plus, she lives in Oregon. So I might have come to her from the wrong end of blogger book deals, the printed end first, but I’m in.
If you find a shirt that has someone that looks just like you reading a book on it, you get it — and make a little Storytime Inception.
Let us not look back on the current tally of the Year of Reading Women, let us look forward — in a Spring Cleaned and organized fashion. I put the virtual nightstand stack, spread out over three apps, into my GoodReads (join me there if you’re so inclined!) It was inspired mostly by this amazing collection of books about Americans in Paris that I didn’t want to lose.
It’s not enough to bring my 2014 total to 25, but I have no doubt I can add another row to my wishlist just by virtue of existing in the world. More to the point, in this vernal period of gathering inspiration, LET’S GET ON THIS.
Suggestions and reviews welcome.
As a normal, I HATE surprises. Spoilers therefore, are the salve that allow the world to enjoy works of multi-media storytelling without the attendant ANXIETY that comes with not knowing what’s going to happen.
I have never avoided them heretofore. Though…
I might be willing to allow there are certain few exceptions to the “Tell me what happens” rule. I’m still struggling through The Goldfinch — it’s uncomfortable and in need of rationing to accommodate my delicate constitution, but I don’t want to know. I want to find out in my own time.
This allowance is especially tricky in a world where people can enjoy TV years after the fact. GAH. Even GIFs of Friday Night Lights needs must be avoided. (Though I’ve heard, SPOILER, that it doesn’t hold up as well after the first season.) But not even vintage, if you’re contemporary but time-shifted? Twitter is awful on Friday morning because your new Scandal is being well-scandalized.
That’s the trade-off. Live in a world where you can know absolutely anything without leaving bed, and you have to put in a whole day’s work not to know.
I’m afraid that I abhor grime too much to have ever had a life of artistic adventure; there is no bohemian sensibility in these veins.
That’s what struck me the most about this collection of essays — the omnipresent squalor. It was like a character, the on-going descriptions of sublet claptrap filth.
Which is not to say that I didn’t like it. I devoured it in two days, reminded that I’d wanted to by this Medium post on the cost of writing. Creating.
Emily Gould is a fascinating character to a slice of demographic, a totemic voice pioneering the onset of Generation Share. And since no one in said demographic doesn’t know the story of the epic book deal and supposed fall of Rome that happened afterward, curiosity is understandable.
It’s definitely worth a read. There’s a Pulp Fiction aspect to the chronology, dipping in and out of her 20s, jobs, beds, and affairs. I can’t say that I understand the selection of the last essay for an ending, but I probably didn’t spend enough time considering it off the grid, in a cabin upstate.
I dug the careful word choice, the rawness that wasn’t dully focused navelward, and as Book #2 in the 25 Book Challenge of Women Authors, it makes a strong argument for the value of memoirs considered from every stage of life.
I have begun to judge books on how well I can do the character voices required for performance.
I do a VERY good King Bidgood.
King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub, by Audrey Wood.
I read one, with pages and chapters and everything!
Okay, not pages, swipes — but I’m outpacing last year’s #1 by at least three months, so LOOK OUT — somebody’s going to get blistering swiper-finger burn.
The first one I finished was not the first one I started, and for that there needs to be a condition named. See, I WANT to know how it ends. I even like the book and the characters. It’s just… I can only visit it in very small doses, when I’m really in the mood, and then only every few weeks or so. I’m contemplating spoiling it, just so I can sort of steel myself…
Maybe my judicious pacing is okay. And maybe I am a giant wimp (which could very well be the name of the “condition.”)
In the meantime, keeping with the Year of the Woman theme, I read Ophira Eisenberg’s Screw Everyone over a few days of WiFi outage.* I don’t think that’s a prerequisite, though it does help motivate the reading choice. There’s a vibrancy and a pulse to reading nonsense on your various timelines — an immediacy and a sense of interaction, that especially when you spend the day in the company of other languages (both Deutsch and Babbleish) — is enthralling.
But provided you’re in the headspace, books are slowly becoming a way to get there (again), too.
Especially since, to date, a book has never linked me to a BuzzFeed quiz.
*Perfectly entertaining, unapologetic, with a sort of LiveJournal-feel, if that makes any sense.