Thursday, April 23, 2009

How one thing leads to another

This internets thing is dangerous. I sit down to look up one thing. That one thing leads to something else, and then those interconnecting tubes have sucked up hours of my life. Here's sorta how it went:
I need a blog post.
The only things going right now: books and television (since I lost the photo of the coolio tote bag that I made for a friend's birthday this weekend. stupid memory card.)
I'm not going to finish "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" because my life is too short.
I've heard about this policy that you subtract your age from 100 and that's how many pages a book has to draw you in.
Who said that?

And then I was off...
1. Nancy Pearl said it, but it only holds true after you're 50. Until you're 50, it's 50 pages.
2. Nancy Pearl is a rockstar librarian, author of Book Lust, More Book Lust, and Book Crush and she has her own action figure. Don't believe me? Visit
3. There's an entire Book Lust community built where you can find all kinds of reviews, broken down by genre and discussions and book groups and...I don't know what else.
4. There's also a link to reviews written by Nancy Pearl. And these are real reviews, not like mine...well thought out critical thinking and stuff.

Before I entered the hallowed halls of Leisure Arts, I worked in the library. Librarians are smart. I wish I'd know that might be the path to having my own action figure. I guess that's just how it goes.

I really hate to say "Don't read this" about anything. It hurts me to say that about words on a page, so I'm not going to say it about this one either. But...reading this was like trying to figure out assembly instructions for a foreign-made auto...or something. How did I end up with this book? I saw an interview with Junot Diaz on Colbert or the Daily Show. And it's sort of a fish out of water story. I usually like those.

I didn't like this one. Here's why:
1. My Spanish is not good enough, and I'm pretty sure you have to learn many of the words in this book on the streets. You probably aren't going to pick these up in language lab. And there's a lot of it.
2. My English isn't good enough either, but I could probably work with these limits.
3. My Dominican history isn't good enough either. Any novel that comes with as many footnotes as this one does is going to be tough for me. If you know something about Trujillo, you are going to breeze through this difficulty.
4. My American history for the 1950s and 1960s matches my knowledge of Dominican history.
5. And clearly I'd need to do a better study of fantasy and sci-fi greats because even the parts I should know were out of reach. I've read Lord of the Rings, but all I could come up with was the niggling suspicion that I should understand what was being said. I didn't.

So...there are too many inside jokes or this one has too broad a scope or something. You don't get much further away from Oscar's experience than mine, but I do think that Junot Diaz could have brought me in so that I could be on the inside too. After 150 pages, I was tired of waiting. I mean, I've got a book with a highlander or a dog-walker mystery to read. Clearly, I've very busy and important with highbrow requirements to my fiction.

This may be one of those literary books, perfect for writing critical essays and dissecting themes. Now I just read for fun.

No comments: