Adam looked down at my sock the other day and said. “Those colors are HIDEOUS.” Whatever–as my friend pointed out yesterday, I bought these truly hideous white T-strap Birkenstocks ten years ago, and they have since become the height of fashion. (She was like “God, people are still wearing those horrible shoes you bought in 2000.”) I have an eye for hideousness that crosses the line into cool. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.
I’ve been reading, and though I actually (and occasionally) review books for money in real life, I am not a great book reviewer on my blog. Generally, I just read books and absorb them and that’s it. Though my friend recommended reading The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, which I’ve owned for a couple of years (it was a gift) and I never read it. I was like, “Oh, I was worried it would be one of those ethnic identity books that I am not very into,” and she said, “No, it’s written in the culture of nerds, in NERDESE.” Apparently, the whole book is all about Lord of the Rings, so I will retrieve that book and read it this week, while the Hobbits are fresh in my mind. Same friend firmly vetoed Twilight, claiming it ruins your brain, even though she read all three. As I am not particularly into vampires (though I do enjoy a high school romance), I think I am safe.
Anyway, this week, I read America America, by Ethan Canin, which was kind of a crappier version of All the King’s Men. I understand that novelists–particularly male novelists–are fond of these epic, sweeping “And lo, this is America!”-kind of books, but they don’t always work out. I should write not-so-enthusiastic flap copy for books. America America could be described as:
*crappy All the King’s Men
* Primary Colors, but in the ’70s
* The Emperor of Ocean Park, but with white people!
I guess I secretly do read a lot of these political campaign books. I actually have read another Ethan Canin book–For Kings and Planets, and there were definite similarities between the two books. Both books are very into class and moving from the lower-middle class into the upper-middle class, a topic I do find interesting, but Canin is always so obvious about these issues I find his writing a little frustrating. Plus, I think in his efforts to ennoble the working class, he ends up being condescending. Whenever novelists start singing the praises of the working man, I groan, because I know that it’s all downhill prep-school envy from there on out. Personally, I prefer my class warfare hidden within romantic machinations, hence my deep allegiance to Gossip Girl.