I’m reading this now. It’s my first Didion. I’m enjoying it, but the best part so far has been in the forward where she discusses an inability to write because she feels it’s become irrelevant. This has all happened before…
Having ignored books from college until very recently, there’s a marked difference to the way reading feels when you’re not staring at a screen; I don’t know if it’s because the material’s generally, well, smarter and more artful, or because of some chemical reaction that happens when you’re mousing around the Internet, buffeted by the sad light of ten thousand dying pixels. At any rate, it’s helping my sanity immensely.
A good read. Made me order the Didion book mentioned.
The sign of a really great concert is that I start unconsciously playing air bass. (I leave air guitar to the pros.) Then I get home and want to play guitar and write songs and record that EP I’ve been talking about for years. It may never happen. But I get the same feeling of inspiration when I read a good book, a much rarer occurrence — it’s not that fewer books are good, but I average about 1.5 of any kind a year.
On my vacation I read Michael Showalter’s brilliant Mr. Funny Pants, which acts as both a laugh-out-loud comedic deconstruction of the Important Memoir genre and a poignant, revealing look into his own humble biography; and the Jonathan Ames collection I Love You More Than You Know. This means I only have to knock out one slim volume in 2012 to hang onto my average before the Mayan Apocalypse. Ames’ work on HBO’s Bored To Death was my first exposure to him; the show is a touch more funny and sharp than his essays, definitely the product of the ridiculous cast and perhaps his own improving comedic sensibilities. But I Love You is mostly likable, especially when Ames turns sad and sensitive and writes about his family. In the context of his sexual escapades and general self-flagellation, it’s touching (and a bit of a relief) to see him in a state of unconditional love.
The two authors have much in common — they’re Jewish, into middle age, less successful than a number of their peers and weaned on Woody Allen-as-aspirational-figure. Showalter, whose The Baxter is the best romantic comedy since Annie Hall (or at least since When Harry Met Sally), is probably a genius, and all the more under-sung for it; Ames, less so. But it was the latter who made me sit down to down to write this morning. A smaller mountain to climb, perhaps? Maybe next year, I’ll read Dan Brown and end up with a novella. In the meantime, though, I have to go tune my air bass.
The NYer throws down.