17 June 2007

The Suebobian Culture Report

Linkateria is actually probably more interesting than this today.

What have I been reading and watching? Nothing that I can't complain about!

On Beauty, by Zadie Smith
Yes, she is a good writer. Damned beautiful to boot. But why, oh why, was this book more stuffed with coincidences than Repo Man? The son falls in love with a girl who just happens to be the main character's biggest rival, who just happens to cross the pond to teach at the same liberal arts college as the main character, who just happens to have a wife who makes fast friends with the eccentric wife of the rival who...oh it goes on. And on. And in the end? I did not care a bit.

The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen Carter
This is a mystery in an academic setting that would have rocked my socks at 350 pages. At 650, I was weary and pissed off by the end. After 450 pages, I just kept reading out of sheer cussed determination to finish the damn thing, as if it were a charity marathon or something. It also has an extremely unlikeable protagonist whose assholeness is surpassed only by his wife's bitchitude.

White Noise by Don DeLillo
I know, I know, a Modern Classic. Winner of every award that could have possibly been thrown at it. Taught in college literature classes.

This was my first DeLillo, and I could tell from reading it that he is a great writer. His use of language is clever and interesting. His characters seem quirky and real. That does not, however, mean I liked it. I could have seen myself being blown away by it when it was published in 1985, when sarcasm and ennui and befuddlement with modern life were all the rage. Now it seems a little dated, faded, past its prime.

It is quite prescient. The main character is the chair of Hitler studies at a university. In 1985, that was probably jaw-dropping and shocking. But we live in a world where a college professor proclaimed the 9/11 victims "Little Eichmanns," so maybe DeLillo's main crime is that he didn't go far enough.

And to switch mediums: Entourage on DVD.

Just because I don't have a TV doesn't mean I can't WATCH TV. I finally started watching the first half of the first season of the HBO show "Entourage" this weekend. Basically it is "Sex in the City" for Hollywood boys.

It is well-written, interesting, has some great characters, especially the agent. All men. While "Sex in the City" was driven by the female characters, at least there were some interesting guys thrown in the mix. Not so much with Entourage. With the exception of the small part of Vince the Star's publicist, every woman in the show is a throw-away part played by a Gorgeous Young Thing.

The boys live in a world made by men, for men, where women exist to be beautiful and disposable (at least in the first half of the first season). I would have found the show a lot more interesting if there were some stronger women characters.

Ok, your turn. Read anything good lately?


QT said...

I am reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" which is great. Everyone seems to think it is going to be about how meat is horrible for you, ala Fast Food Nation, but it isn't. It is more about eating sustainably than anything else. If you are in the mood for some non-fiction, I recommend it. Very enlightening.

mar said...

currently reading 'half of a yellow sun' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Anonymous said...

Hi Suebob, I saw that you were mad for my comment at the Queen's blog regarding journalists; I came over to apologize.

I didn't mean any harm to you.

My statement was my opinion regarding the major news networks, even the proclaimed "fair and balanced" on Fox. They aren't that balanced either.

I apologize for causing you any upset. I didn't realize I caused you to want to fight. Surely you can understand I was being honest with my opinion without the intent to cause trouble.

LittlePea said...

I just read Golden Apples By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. It was good but of course since it was written in the 30s there's a bit of racist undertones. It's a good read though and easy for me to picture since I live in Florida. Cross Creek is one of my favorites too.

Suebob said...

Dana - I wrote a post about it. Check it out to get my sentiments.

The fighting thing wasn't literal.

And the Fox "Fair and Balanced" thing? That isn't meant to be taken literally either. Fox is the worst of the worst. Check out the movie "Outfoxed" and you will be completely forgiven. And if you start watching the BBC instead, you will be in line for a halo.

Heather B. said...

Someone just suggested On Beauty to me, now I'm nervous. Is it worth the purchase or should I just ignore the suggestion?

Suebob said...

Heather - email me your address at snackishblog@yahoo.com and I will mail you the book free of charge. I would love to have a 2nd opinion.

metalia said...

I just read The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls; I thought it was riveting. If you enjoy memoirs, you'll probably like it.

SUEB0B said...

Metalia - read it on the reco of VenturaMom- yes, it was great.

Anonymous said...

Just finished Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer, which was fascinating.

Back to top