Sunday Morning Ramble

imageGreetings from Clovis and me.  Sometime today we’ll be reading more of Anthony Marra’s new book The Tsar of Love and Techno.  

See how it says “Stories” right there on the cover?  I should have paid more attention.

I’ve enjoyed the book from the start, parts of it are very funny in that slightly skewed, dark way Russian writers have, but things just made no sense.  I kept thinking when will this story come together and start making sense.  It just seems like a bunch of disconnected scenes.

Then I realized that certain elements from different plot lines were showing up in each section–the famed landscape painting kept showing up, and certain characters were referenced over and over again but still no clear plot.

But I like it, I thought, so I’ll just keep reading it, ride things oimageut until they come together.

Then, this morning when I went to take a picture of the book, I saw that it’s a collection of stories.

In other reading this week…..

I’ve been reading Lynda Barry’s book What it Is which came to me heavily recommended by several teachers.  I admit, I’ve long been a Lynda Barry skeptic.  She has always struck me as the fanciful but shallow type of speaker who gets featured on TED talks.  You can find her TED talk on YouTube, I believe.

I’ve enjoyed her ideas here.  The book is a mad cross between essay, autobiography, comic, artwork, collage.  I’ve found many of her ideas,  mainly her questions, fascinating.  Like is a dream fiction or autobiography?  I don’t have much use for musing on why little kids are comfortable dancing in front of strangers but adults are not, but I have found many intriguing ideas here, lots to think about.  I should finish the book later this week.  Wonder what I’ll have to say about it.

imageI probably won’t be praising the artwork all that much. There’s an over-reliance on bird profiles.  Bird profiles are one of the easiest things to draw– you’ll find them on lots of amateur artwork featured in craft store magazines.  And look how muddy the color is.  I think part of the reason for that is that Ms. Barry worked on yellow pads for the this book instead of white paper but muddy page after muddy page is getting to be a bit much.

Pages with less paint came off better but the artworks has been a mixed bag for me so far.

Finally, I finished Bad Chili, one of John R. Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard series.  I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it.  I think it could make an excellent television series which I’ll talk about more in my review later this week.

Meantime, I had television installed this week, after nearly 20 years of not having it. This is not quite correct, not since the advent of Hulu and Netflix, but this is the first time since Bill Clinton was president that we’ve had live television in the house.  And today HBO is running all of Season 5 of Game of Thrones.  I never saw season 4 so it will take me three or four episodes to figure out what is going on. i

 

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6 Comments

  1. Teresa says:

    I loved Tsar of Love and Techno. It actually felt more novel-like than I expected, but I think that’s because I’d seen several people refer to it as a short story collection. The stories were much more closely linked than I thought they would be. But I suppose if I’d expected a novel, I would have had the same reaction you did, wondering when it would come together. Glad you’re liking it!

    1. To be fair, I should give it another read some day. I am enjoying it now that I’ve some idea what is going on.

  2. Lisa says:

    Well, to be fair, they did sort of camouflage “Stories” on the cover there! And there could be all kinds of things hidden in that Lynda Barry cover.

    They both look like library books? After the TBR dare ended and I went back to the library, I’ve been checking out so many books. So the TBR stacks are not going down much these days.

    1. I have been using the library quite bit since the TBR Dare ended. I’m also reading from my TBR stack, but probably not enough.

  3. bybeebooks says:

    I’ve got a girl crush on Lynda Barry and her art. Been going on for years. Ain’t slowing down.

  4. BookerTalk says:

    Clovis has that look of exasperation of the ‘can you believe this guy didn’t spot he was reading stories plural….’

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