You know what? I am totally exhausted. I don’t even want to go into the reasons for this (they have something to do with competitive youth soccer, more and more and more work, and the novel that I’m STILL revising at night when I should be sleeping). I just basically go around moaning like an undead mom from hell. And yet, somehow, tapping superhuman reserves of energy, I’ve managed to read a few books lately and even seen a couple movies.
I’m just about to finish Gretchen McNeil’s Ten, which has been a super enjoyable and suspenseful YA read with the perfect setting for a murder mystery. At a much more leisurely pace, I’ve made my way through Kate Christensen’s The Astral, which I expected to like better – but it’s been interesting precisely in the moments it frustrates. Recently finished Maggie Shipstead’s Seating Arrangements, which is beautifully written – my substitute for a beach vacation since I didn’t go anywhere this summer – and which makes me hope she’ll tackle something more ambitious next time. Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be? was amazing – at times I felt the book was transcribing directly from my mind, other times I was like, who is this chick? Both great feelings to encounter. More YA: I managed to polish off Rae Carson’s Girl of Fire and Thorns (really interesting for how the protagonist grows and changes) and Cate Tiernan’s fantastic Immortal Beloved (I’m, um, developing a thing for hot immortal Vikings). But the book that gave me huge pleasure was Charles Portis’s True Grit, which I finally got around to reading. My copy has a wonderful afterword by Donna Tartt.
I haven’t seen too many movies, but I did get to see Julie Delpy’s Two Days in New York in the theater (and if you see that and do not love Julie Delpy do not tell me that because I do not want to know. Bargaining for her soul with Vincent Gallo – yes!!). Then on video was The Raid: Redemption, which I had high expectations for but in the end found myself more intrigued simply by the Indonesian angle. The fight scenes were good, yeah, but without there being that much in terms of characters it was hard to care. It also had (particularly at the end) ponderous doses of that hard guy sentimentalism I associate with the John Woo school of action films (though, sadly, no white doves). ParaNorman with the kids: fun at first, before all the bite goes out. Then an interminable Five-Year Engagement. I hate it when I’m stuck in a romantic comedy and am rooting for the couple to break up.