Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Growing a spine

I had an interview for a retail job. And then a second interview. Today I got a form email telling me they couldn't offer me a position. Although I was never madly in love with the idea of this job, it is somewhat disconcerting that I couldn't even land a retail position that I have essentially had a billion times before.

Fortunately, right below "find a totally awesome job," I have written "read a book a week" on my list of goals. And that is going splendidly. Not only have I finished Eat Pray Love, but I am more than halfway through How to Be Alone, a book of essays by Jonathan Franzen.

Final verdict on EPL? A good book to start the new year. Originally I was annoyed by Liz. Admittedly, she was going through some rough times, but part of me wanted to scream "Snap out of it!" every time she got mopey about her relationships. (Just because you love someone doesn't preclude them from falling into the "rebound" category.) I thought the structure of the book was interesting (109 mini chapters to represent Indian prayer beads, or japa malas... sorry, I just typed out that explanation and realized that everyone on the planet has read this book already), but the "beads" got repetitive. Quickly. Along the way I realized that I didn't dislike Liz (although "like" would be too strong a word), but then the ending... *spoiler alert* I'm sorry, but do not make me read 300 pages of this amazing adventure that you had just to end it with "and then I fell in love with this awesome Brazilian right as my entire trip was ending." I know that this is her real life and not some contrived plot, but why must a "journey to self-discovery" end with a husband? Seriously?

Sorry, just needed to say that. Anyway. How to Be Alone. I purchased my (autographed) copy for a dollar when my school bookstore was switching companies and cleaning out everything. Franzen read at my school my freshman year, and now that I'm (finally) flipping through one of his books, I'm trying desperately to remember the details of his visit. I remember sitting in the back of a large auditorium (granted, at a small school like mine, "large" is a relative term) and listening to him read from some unpublished work about bird watching. He apparently misnamed a bird and felt awkward about it and kept rambling about "I knew it was really this... I just said this by accident" to the strangers surrounding him during this error. I knew nothing of Franzen at the time, but since I was a darling naive freshman I went to basically every reading offered that first semester. During the Q&A session, I remember my theater professor commenting that Franzen was editing his work while he read, and of course someone asked about his Oprah issues. To be honest, he didn't make that much of an impression on me, which is probably why it took me four years to pick up one of his books. Now that I'm reading it, however, I'm assimilating everything I remember from that day into my schema of Franzen as, well, kind of a jerk. I'm really enjoying the essays (especially the ones about Alzheimer's and the postal service), but if Franzen came back into town and offered to take me out to dinner, I probably wouldn't go. Well, maybe I would. A girl's gotta eat, right?

So with January 7th marking my first deadline, I am ahead of the game. Odds are I will find a new book tomorrow and begin filling my door with fabulous neon titles.

1 comment:

  1. all i remember about his visit is that he had far, far better teeth than any of the other writers that came to our school, and that he basically seemed like an asshole.