Monday, September 28, 2009

Required Reading: Can We Stop Acting So Childish? By Stephen Marche

I think we all remember the photo above and the outcry it caused, reverbrated across the nation - the world, even. "Innocent" Miley Cyrus, who could do no wrong, who wouldn't ever (EVER!) dance around on a stripper pole while her mother and father applaud from the audience, was stripped down and photographed against her will. But during our outrage (meaning your), we have forgotten that we're reponsible, in a way. When you think about it, we're forcing child celebrities into growing up way before their time, leading them into lives that we couldn't even handle. So from within the crowd, Stephen Marche's voice resonates, asking if we can just grow up already:

"Can We Stop Acting So Childish?" By Stephen Marche

With teenage celebrities entering rehab and adult celebrities acting like teenagers, the line between adolescence and adulthood has never been more blurred.

It is possible that as you read these words one of the great works of art of our time is being destroyed. The film version of "Where the Wild Things Are"--with a screenplay cowritten by the Coolest Writer in America (Dave Eggers), directed by the Coolest Director Alive (Spike Jonze), and starring the Coolest Actors Ever (Forest Whitaker and Catherine Keener)--has had its release date set back a year, apparently after disastrous test screenings, to undergo massive reshooting. The original "Where the Wild Things Are," the children's story by Maurice Sendak, is one of the most beloved tellings of one of the dominant narratives of our era: the child who suffers the perils of adulthood. It's a story that has to be told without wavering. (continue reading)

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Snapshot #1

Today Was a Good Day

Hunt: Hastings buy 2 get 3rd for $1 deal
Partner: Jyg, Izzy, Esmer & Esteban
Location: Hastings McAllen, TX
Success: 3/3
Cost: $17.30
Condition: Used
Saved: $26.97

The hunt was rather impromptu. We had headed out to Hastings merely to hang out with Esmer and Esteban. We strolled around for a while and that's where I saw a copy of The Golden Ass on the newly arrived used shelf. Because I had read about the book back in college - possibly through my extensive research on the subject of sexual nature - I decided to thumb through it. I nearly set it down until I saw the deal. So I quickly looked for two more books, finding both The Delta of Venus and Little Birds by Anaïs Nin. I have the former, an ratty old hardback, sitting on my sex shelf - yes, I have a sex shelf - I decided that owning Little Birds might be a good thing for me. I took that along. I searched the shelf until tiring after not finding anything remotely interesting. I headed down the aisles, not sure what I was looking for when Cities of the Red Night by William S. Burroughs jumped out at me. I'm a Burroughs fan so it was only obvious that it was coming with me regardless.

So in the end, I had the three books I needed to complete the sale. Awesome, though I should really stop spending money when the cash flow isn't coming in anymore. I'm so bad at this.
  1. Cities of the Red Night - William S. Burroughs
  2. Little Birds: Erotica - Anaïs Nin
  3. The Golden Ass - Apuleius translated by Jack Lindsay

After ringing up the purchase, The Golden Ass turned out to be my dollar book. I also saw a copy of God Hates Us All, leaving me to wonder if a fictional book from a TV series is actually worth the read. Who am I kidding? Sooner or later Hank Moody's opus will be sitting on my shelf because I'm in love with Californication.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Required Reading: Erring and Erring, We Walk the Unerring Path

"Erring and Erring, We Walk the Unerring Path" from Shambhala Sun.
Across much of the nation and the world, people have been losing their jobs and homes due to the global economic decline. Everyone is asking: how much worse will it get; how soon before it gets better? The ghost of the Great Depression hangs over us like a bad dream that scares and fascinates at the same time. Meanwhile, the bickering of politicians entertains and annoys us nightly.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Required Reading

I started something on my Tumblr in hopes to boost readership with like minds. The Required Reading tag, however, only piqued the interests of those already following and reblogging me. The Required Reading tag consists of magazine articles, short stories, poems, novels and website articles/blogs that I find influenital, amusing and entertaining. They are opiniated and witty all the same.

Because my main goal when I set out to write a blog about "book hunting" was to gain some new acquaintances, I believe that the required reading tag should venture into the blog as well. Maybe bringing a few stragglers by to share my likes, dislikes or disagree with me.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

The books on my desk

Forgive the mess and my excess use of my newly purchased digital camera, with which I'm in love. I decided to shed some light in to my personality by showing you which books are on my desk at the moment. They are:
Both Lolita and The Things They Carried will always have a home on my desk. Huffington Post and Problogger, on the other hand, are current reads and might find their way to the appointed shelf once I'm done with them.

Tonight, I'm going book hunting Gut Symmetries by Jeannette Winterson. I hope to find a(n) used copy of the book as I would rather not pay full price for something I'm unsure I'd like. My partner in crime/hunt will be Jerry.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Return of the pen

So I've taken up writing again. The hiatus was killing me. Reading too much and not writing will do that. Actually, I haven't exactly not writing. If you're reading this, you can attest to this. And in order to better myself with writing, I bought myself a camera. I don't know why I bought it, really. I guess I just wanted it.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Growing Up: A Look on the Adaptation of "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys" by Chris Fuhrman

I'm with you on this one, Chuck. When it comes to adaptations I used to be like most of you who complained how it wasn't faithful to the novel or short story or graphic novel or whatever creative medium it spawned from. However, after years of reading books and watching movies - especially the adaptations of said books - I've come to realize that movies should offer something new, a stand alone.

When I first watched The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys back when it was first released on DVD, I enjoyed the film. Later - possibly after the movie ended due to the credits or through the back of the box - I learned that the movie was based on a novel by Chris Fuhrman - I should say only novel by Fuhrman. Needless to say - as I've already mentioned it in my "review" (see "I Was A Catholic Teenage Rebel"), I purchased the novel only picking it up recently.

The images from the movie were vague in my head. I remembered faintly how the story ended - I won't give spoilers here because I hate when others do that - but for the most part, I couldn't connect point A to point B so reading the novel was a new experience for me. Now I've popped in the movie once again, reviving not only nostalgic memories of the movies - not necessarily the events in the film - and why I loved it so much the first time I watched it.

The actors were stellar with the parts given; it was the storyline that nearly left me upset. There was no way that the novel was taken a part so horribly and stapled back together like this piece of shit movie. But that's the old me talking. The me who used to hate going to the movies only to watch one of his favorite books ripped asunder. What have I learned after all these years? Film adaptations shouldn't be compared to the book, regardless.

There are some of you out there who still hang on to the belief that films should be faithful to the printed roots. It's a notion that has to be let go. You will only drive yourself mad with the fact that there will never be a film that even comes close to the novel that still possesses the same heart and breath.

A movie should be a stand alone from its printed brethren. It shouldn't attempt to mimic it, merely use it as a jumping point. That is what Jeff Stockwell and Michael Petroni did for the screenplay. And the movie worked.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Unemployment means less books

I find myself, once again, a part of the statistic of the unemployed as the job I did this summer has taken one final blow to my wallet. Though, I did manage to stay in the good graces of the employer which secures a job for next summer. That still means, however, that I have to find another job in the meantime - perhaps writing for a blog that pays? I should really look into that.

What might be my final book purchase of the year - who am I kidding? - Jyg and I went to Hastings and sat ourselves down with a few books that piqued our interests. I always head into the literary fiction aisle, while she heads towards the psychology, which leaves us in that gender bending tailspin with social roles. Didn't I read somewhere that women preferred fiction and men were more likely to read nonfiction?

I plopped down with a copy of 2666 and a few other books, while she grabbed a handful of psychological motivational books. Because we both decided that English should be our major in college - though she did double major in psychology - we both entered a world where the only thing we can do is teach, and even that isn't a guaranteed job. She is searching for a job, all the while attempting to remove herself from the negativity that has encumbered her life. I, on the other hand, enjoy my negativity.

I thumbed through 2666 while she fingered through a used (or is it an used?) copy of Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway. Growing bored of the novel - I was never one who could read in public places - mostly bookstores, though, as I could read in classrooms, cubicles and libraries when I was in college - and the erotic collection I picked up that I thought I'd use as a jumping point for another project I wanted to work on via blog.

Deciding that while I did want a copy of 2666, I didn't want to pay full price for it so I returned my stack of books back to their places which is when I found a(n) used hardcover of Elliot Perlman's The Reasons I Won't Be Coming, a collection of short stories I've been eying for years now. I purchased both Perlman's collection and Feel the Fear, because I knew Jyg wanted it and didn't have enough time to write down every single piece of advice on that small note card she was using - things like that remind me (as if I forgot) why I love her so much.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I Was A Catholic Teenage Rebel

A while ago - a long time ago, really - my at-the-time best friend and I held weekly Friday Night Movie-athons in my bedroom as escapism of our freshman year in college. In was in one of these weekly sessions that we came across The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, starring Kieran Culkin, Emile Hirsch and Jena Malone. Because I had a movie with Jena Malone prior to this, I had a sneaky suspicion it might be worth watching. Also, watching one of the younger Culkin siblings act wasn't holding me back either.

The movie was worth watching and I wholeheartedly enjoyed it, as did my friend. Upon watching the credits - or possibly reading the back of the case - I learned that it was an adaptation to a book of the same name, by Chris Fuhrman. Needless to say, I went out to Barnes & Noble and picked up the only copy off the shelves - to this day, I haven't seen another print grace the shelves, which is both impressive for me and rather depressing for the rest of the region.

The book, however, sat on my shelf for several years before I picked it up and read it.

Fast forward about six years, I decided that I would read the novel that's set in Savannah, Georgia in the 1970s as seen through the eyes of a young Catholic school boy named Francis Doyle. Heart struck, Francis has fallen in love with the misfit girl, Margie Flynn. His best friend, Tim Sullivan aids him in his romantic aspects. But don't think for a second this is your typical YA, teenage-first-love babble. There is conflict when Father Kavanagh threatens to expose a comic book entitled "Sodom vs. Gomorrah '74," which Francis, Tim and their friends created. Ever smart Tim is quick to come up with a plan that might have deadly consequences.

Written in a way that envelopes you - through Francis' perspective - Chris Fuhrman was able to strip me of my jaded adult view and embodied me as I was several years ago when I was only thirteen. While I never had the opportunity to risk all danger like Francis and his gang did in the pages, I could easily summon memories of boys like Rusty, Wade, Joey and Tim. Not to mention first loves like Margie Flynn - girls I would've given anything if only to kiss them once upon their lips. In a sense, the book allows my thirteen-year-old self to live vicariously in the 70s, which isn't a bad thing until I have to set it down and return to my mundane existence.