Monthly Archives: August 2010

Molly Recommends


I could hardly believe it when I realized that it's been a whole month since my dog made some book recommendations. Since it's almost my birthday,
Molly would like you all to read Thomas Mann’s
“Death in Venice”, “The Year of
the Death of Ricardo Reis”
by Jose Saramago, and “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I see that she’s trying to bring me down during my b-day week, and I guess all I can say is that if my breath smelled like a corpse all the time, I’d be a bitter, old bitch too. Why not
“The Death of Ivan Ilych”, Molly, or “Death in
the Andes”
? I mean, Mann over Tolstoy? Really?

But let's be real for a second: mortality is depressing to think about. When I feel sad, I like to just look at Molly and think "You'll probably die first." It's
all about perspective, you know?

I tried to think of a way to celebrate my birthday, pictorially, by pimping out
Molly's picture, but I didn't want to do something banal like put her in a
birthday hat. My original idea, which I shared with my brother and with
Chandler, was to stick some bunny ears and baby legs on her with Paint, because
in real life, if I had a baby with a dog's head and bunny ears, I would be
totally into that and think it was cute squared until the scientists took it
away from me and put it in an institution where they later developed a
dog-human hybrid slave-species (the Anubians) that eventually takes over the
world. No one that was sober agreed.

then I started having this dream of dressing her up as something better than a
dog that likes to eat its own butt all the time continually every minute of the
day. I have decided that every year from now 
on (read: never again) I will dress her as a literary
character. And so, I present a photo shoot with Shermoll Holmes.

Shermoll Holmes

birthday to me.




“Buddhist Ayn Rand bullshit” is my favorite phrase of the day.

read Eat Pray Love. It was the sort of cushy, easy book you'd take on an
airplane and immediately forget thereafter, except that everyone on
the planet keeps bringing it up like it is the second coming.

the movie sounds aaaaawful.

right after I wrote this, I read this, which basically says
the exact same thing I just said in the exact same words. Haterade: it only comes in one glorious flavor.

should read Consider the Lobster.

Also, I should finish my assignment and stop reading things on the internet.

The Imagined Conversations of Ill-Conceived Characters: Anthropologie Edition

just got the newest Anthropologie catalog! It's super-exciting! Because I
really enjoyed imagining a conversation between Ikea ghosts last week, this is
going to keep happening to you, reader

(Click on a panel to make it bigger.)

Anthro panel 1
Anthro panel 2
Anthro panel 3
Anthro panel 4 b
Anthro panel 5
Anthro panel 6      



A Haitian Reading List

to my post on Alejo Carpentier's book, I've lately been making an effort to
read some books about Haiti and its people. It's part of my goal to better
understand the Dominican Republic's history. My reading list is pretty
incomplete, and suggestions are always welcome, but here it is as it stands:

Carpentier's The Kingdom of This World

Cole's Christophe: King of Haiti

Neale Hurston's Tell My Horse

Wucker's Why the Cocks Fight

W. Vandercook's Black Majesty (a racist book from 1930! no,
RACIST. I didn't know when I bought it.)

Danticat's The Farming of Bones

slight, no? One thing I'd love to have is a really comprehensive history of
Haiti. I can get a little early history from my Dominican history text, and a
little from Zora Neale Hurston's book, but I'd really benefit from a Haitian
history primer.

200 Word Book Review: Alejo Carpentier’s The Kingdom of This World

Reino de este mundo

The good: This classic of Caribbean literature is set
before, during, and after Haiti’s independence. It’s an early example of
magical realism, somewhere between historical fiction and voodoo-inflected myth*.
I found the whole thing pretty interesting in terms of understanding the
Haitian national identity.

The bad: I
decided to read this in Spanish, and about two pages in I thought: I’ve made a
huge mistake.


The problem is that the book is in Cuban Spanish from
before 1950, and I only speak Dominican Spanish from the mid-90s. Even though
Alejo Carpentier died in 1980, he really should have worked this out. Also, the
skips in time can be confusing on first read.

Carpentier works at creating a sense that shifts in
power and the passage of time mean little to the always replaceable, and always
exploited, Haitian peasant. It can all become wearying**. That the main
character, Ti Noel, is going to end up in basically the same place he started
is a foregone conclusion. Plus, Carpentier emphasizes the crushing oppression
of the colony and later the Republic by stripping him of a lot of his
individuality, which can also make the novella hard to stick with. Still, it’s
a beautiful book, and well worth the effort. VOODOO!!!


*I feel like putting voodoo in a book is like putting
a chase sequence in a movie or hot pepper flakes on pizza. Instead of being a
Historical Novel it’s a Historical! Novel! Goat sacrifice on page six! Someone
will definitely turn into a lizard!

Obviously, I read this book for the man-lizard.

**I mean who wants to read a tragedy that just stays
that way!? Ew! I hoped there was going to be a party and everyone was going to
pull a goat out from under their seat, like on Oprah. And then they would be
like MOVE THIS BUS! and the Citadelle Laferriere was going to be a swiss chalet
with a hot tub. But I digress.

Ikea and a food memoir that I didn’t actually read: my week in Florida.

Last week, I drove down to Miami to help my boyfriend
move into his new apartment. While I was there, I took Molly for 18 walks a
day, and the only thing I read were Ikea instructions. Actually, there was no reading involved,
because in the interest of saving money and confusing the hell out of everyone,
Ikea manuals are basically furniture-making manga starring some ghost people.
Because I was in their company (so to speak) so often, the Ikeapeople really
started coming to life for me, and now I sort of think Ikea should hire me to
think up and illustrate some of the Ikeapeople's stories. I actually put together a little
something, based on the glorious day Chandler and I brought home a modular shelving
unit for his pots and pans, just to show the people at Ikea exactly what I’m
talking about:


Right before I left, I received Fuschia Dunlop’s
memoir of eating in China, “Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper”.  Before I got it in the mail, I kept thinking
‘aaaaaaw shit, this better arrive before I go down to Florida for the week, or I'm gonna bust some heads*.’ I’m
so glad it came in time for me to entirely neglect it.

In July, I was in Shanghai and I had a sort of
awakening vis a vis Chinese food. The principal agent of that awakening:
Sichuan dan dan noodles. Coming home from the restaurant where I ate them
(Crystal Jade at Xintiandi, holla!**), still sort of dazed by what had just
gone on in my mouth (also, because it was really spicy and my mouth was
burning), I had this idea that I’d heard of dan dan noodles before, and it
turns out I had, on
The Wednesday Chef. That’s how I found out about Fuschia

I’d like to try making the dan dan noodles, but I
also feel like every time I try to cook Chinese (or Mexican) food it ends up
tasting not great. I live in a little city though, so I guess it’s bully for me,
otherwise. 200-word-review to come!

*read: think about leaving a moderately snippy review on Amazon.

**I feel like I always misuse holla, but I refuse to
look it up, because then my use of it would be so limited.