Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review: The Unnamed, by Joshua Ferris

I've been looking forward to reading Joshua Ferris' latest novel since I first got it at a book signing in February.  I loved Ferris' first novel, Then We Came to the End, and I'm not too proud to admit to a having developed a bit of an intellectual crush on him, due in part to the fact that I'm generally surrounded by television-obsessed engineers.  It was for this reason that I waited so long to finally pick The Unnamed back up--I wanted to be in a frame of mind that would allow me to both enjoy and think about what I was sure would be another great read.  Don't get me wrong--it's not not a decent read, but my anticipation was such that once I finished the novel, I had a general reaction of, "Huh." 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Not-So-Gentle Viewer: Sassy Gay Friend: Eve (2010)

Need a pick-me-up?  Here's the latest "Sassy Gay Friend," this time featuring Adam and Eve just before the Fall from Paradise.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Casual Conversations: In Which Lindsay-with-an-A Looks Like an Idiot

Having shared the story of my cool boss making a bunch of interns sit through a Shakespeare speech, I feel it only right to share the conversation I had with one of them directly afterwards.  I also feel it only right to point out that it's very rare that I get to actually use any of the knowledge I picked up from my years in literature courses.
Intern: "What kind of speech is that, anyway?"
Me [eager to share some of the knowledge for which I paid thousands of dollars, and preening just a little bit]: "Early Modern English."
Intern [before I get the chance to tell him the difference between Old, Middle, and Modern English]: "No, I mean.... what kind of speech is that?  I know there's a name for one of those come-on-guys-we-can-do-it speeches, but I don't remember what it is."
Me [seriously deflated]: "Oh.  Uh... motivational monologue?"
Intern: "Huh."
There was an uncomfortable silence at the entire table for about three seconds until I burst out laughing, which gave everyone else the permission to laugh out loud, as well (since they were all laughing in their heads, anyway).  I think it's safe to say that my reputation as a nerd is both well-deserved and now reinforced at work. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Not-So-Gentle Viewer: Henry V (1989)

It's very rare that I see any references to Shakespeare in "real life," so when I do I get a warm fuzzy feeling all over.  To give a little background, the company for which I work has a very robust intern program, which I volunteered to help support in my own department.  My boss was giving a presentation to all 60+ interns about one of the company's core values, which just happened to be "People and Passion," something he belives in very strongly (which is incredibly lucky for me). 

Anyway, to help prove his point about people and passion to a bunch of science-and-math students, he decided to enlist the help of the Bard and show them a clip from Kenneth Branagh's Henry V.  He asked me beforehand if he thought they would be open to it, and while I might not have been the best subject for an unbiased poll, I said yes.

To be honest, I had never seen or read Henry V before, so it was interesting to see where "we few, we happy few, we band of brothers," first came from.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wednesday Dog Ears

This week's Dog Ears feature what seems like the most boring video game ever made as well as another venture in crowdfunding:
  • So when I said I thought the idea of video games based on books was cool, I didn't mean books like The Great Gatsby: "The Great Gatsby, Now a Video Game."  SPOILER ALERT: Unless I get to be the driver of the car that mows down Daisy at the end, I really don't think I'd want to play.  (via Book Ninja)
  • Find out "Which Dystopian Future is Right for You" by taking Flavorwire's quiz. I scored mostly E's, which means Cormac McCarthy's The Road is right for me. It's just me and my shopping cart.  (via The Millions)
  • Gary Shteyngart of The New York Times writes about the impact that our "techno-fugue" state has on our ability to connect to the world around us in meaninful ways in "Only Disconnect."  (He's not wrong.  I have to mute my BlackBerry and hide it in order to get anything done that requires more than two minutes' attention.)
  • If you want to read more about connectedness (is that a word?), check out Laurie Winer's review of Hamlet's BlackBerry.  Did anyone else not know that PAPER : SOCRATES :: SMARTPHONES : SCHTEYNGART?  I might actually have to check this one out...
  • Find out which literary giant you kind of but don't really write like at "I Write Like."  My results came back with Kurt Vonnegut, whom I've really been meaning to read but haven't quite gotten around to yet. (via The A.V. Club)
  • Kathleen Alcott's piece, "From Shrinking Solid to Expanding Gas: The Writing Life" at The Rumpus is absolutely beautiful.  Read it.
  • Crowdfunding is rearing its head again, this time in France and by an organization rather than a starving artist: "'Crowdfunding' for French Books."

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Litvlog Sing Along: Frank, You're a Long Way From Ireland (Angela's Ashes)

Having recently finished Angela's Ashes, by Frank McCourt, I couldn't come up with anything to say except, "Wow."  The story, for those of you who haven't read it, is one of uninterrupted pain and affliction.  However, I wasn't sure of the best format to display my "wow" until I saw "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" (I know, I'm incredibly behind the curve on that one), and decided to make a musical litvlog (literary video web log).

Having said that, please understand that this video is a joke.  (For some reason, I'm having visions of rabid Frank McCourt fans pouring an ungodly rain of fury over my head in the form of angry comments.)  The man was his generation's Joyce (if that's a compliment), he was a beautiful and lyrical writer, and he managed to show the humor in some incredibly unpleasant situations.  That said, this video is just highlighting those unpleasant situations.

(Also, I know McCourt is "a long way from Ireland" because he passed away a year ago today.  Work with me here.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Reading in Real Life

So for the past two months or so, I've been struggling to read--with my new writing-intensive career, I'm finding it difficult to go home and stare at a page covered in words of more-than-three-syllables in my free time.  Same goes for blogging (obviously, with the distinct lack of posts here since May).   I've always been of the "average Americans don't read enough, by which I mean they don't read as much as me" party, but it seems average Americans are rapidly catching up.

I guess I should be more specific--I've been reading (fluffy books, for the most part), but I haven't been able to force myself to think about them.  Enter this article from Scientific American, which I think holds true for thinking, as well as talking: "Skip the Small Talk: Meaningful Conversations Linked to Happier People."  Thinking about books (and, by extension, "life, the universe, and everything") has generally been a hobby of mine, something that I haven't been practicing in recent weeks.  

I guess my point is, despite being fulfilled at work (which I never really thought would happen) I'm now brain-dead after work and am possibly becoming dumber. 
Related Posts with Thumbnails