Monday, August 23, 2010

Naked by David Sedaris

Are you kidding me? How is this a New York Times Bestseller? David, you're a good-looking man and I'm certain a great and awesome person, but this book...what the crap? There's no point to it...unless you're obsessed with David Sedaris and want to know some juicy and fun details about his life. I guess it makes sense for the title of the book to be Naked. But I didn't even know who he was before I read this book.

I did enjoy the humor, but wondered if other readers found it hard to keep up with the book seeing as how in one chapter he's seven years old, in the next he's 17 and then in the next he's nine. Regardless, you do find yourself wanting to road trip across the US and live spontaneaously for a few years. And it does provide educational insight into nudist colonies. Perhaps that's the kicker with this book: the one chapter on living in a nudist colony.

Why should you read it? *silence* I can't quite put my finger on it, but David is still a fun personality and even though there's no purpose to this prose...yeah I can't do it. I can't find a reason. Sorry. I don't know you, David, but hearts from me (just not for Naked).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Idlewild by Nick Sagan

Idlewild by Nick Sagan was chosen as my next book because (and I'm not kidding) the cover is so cool. I decided to run against the old phrase, "never judge a book by its cover" and to my delight I discovered the intellectual humor I've longed for. Score!

Any story that begins, "I'm not dead," has you intrigued. At the start Nick has you a little confused as to what is going on, which is why you don't put the damn thing down (I read it through in just under eight hours). It's a unique twist on the 'repopulate the human race because something has killed off all the humans' concept. And by the time you realize that's what this book is all about you've already been dizzied by the changing backdrops and swirling fun of the characters' godlike powers that allow them to change their atmosphere like one would change their iPod skin. Though not a unique concept, it's a unique way in telling the story and the characters are even more fun. Plus, Nick grabs my heart strings when his boyish character quotes Shakespeare with humor.

What I didn't like? The seemingly downplay of emotion when the going got tough; the lack of grief descriptions and the underplaying of the wondrous world of schizophrenic delusions. It skipped over all the pieces that had great entertainment value and in turn made the story feel rushed. What I did like? The seemingly downplay of emotions and the underplaying of the wondrous world of schizophrenic delusions. Why? Beefing up and dramatizing schizophrenia makes it even more difficult for those who have schizophrenia to live our society. You can't imagine the time and dollars spent by organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness trying to diffuse the Hollywood and media image of individuals with schizophrenia. You can't imagine the pain families, friends and individuals go through in their communities because of these images. So while I favor entertainment value I can't choose it over increasing the suffering of my fellow humans. The main character, Halloween, must have felt same with Fantasia, the hebephrenic schizophrenic in the story, because he was always helping to anchor her to realities when her illness made it impossible.

My recommendation is that if you enjoy quick read-through books and fantasy lands (like I do), and new spins on old concepts, then have at it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is divided into three separate and different themes taking place in three separate and different locations that have three separate and different cultures.

Gilbert writes about the pleasure of Italian food and good friends while in Rome. She triumphs over her own mind and rids her soul of the poisons of love while meditating in India. Elizabeth's journey to Indonesia is the last stop. Here she becomes friends with a Balinese Medicine Woman who gives her the cure for a broken heart: "Vitamin E, get much sleep, drink much water, travel to a place far away from the person you loved, meditate and teach your heart that this is destiny." And even after that bad divorce and a soul-rotting rendezvous, she finds love in Indonesia. Indonesia illustrates and reminds us that we are all the same in concept. This book has been such a success because her story is every woman's story. The loss of love, the search for an inner peace and the finding of a new love. Her next book, Committed, is inevitably about overcoming the fears of turning her heart over to someone else and starting the cycle over again.

Even our modern literature reflects our ravenous desire for reality television. The insatiable appetite would undoubtedly spill over, but perhaps this mimic is vice-versa, as John Berendt did the same thing in Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil in 1994. Both books, by the way, have been made into films.