Wednesday, May 31, 2006

linkstime - growing up, journeys, books

Peanut butter jelly time, peanut butter jelly time... woo-ahhhhh. Nooo, it's LINKSTIME, and it's so much neater than dealing with sausage casing. Ho ho ho.

I am kind of excited about two upcoming movies, though they're not out for awhile yet. The movie adaptation for Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake, directed by who else but Mira Nair, and starring Kal Penn (whee!). I remember not being too crazy about the book but I think it might make a good movie and the trailer made me realize I should read the book again and reassess, especially with my swiss cheese memory. Mmmm. Good in sandwiches. That's out this fall and here's Kal's (we're on a first name basis) admittedly not very interesting blog for the movie, though I didn't look at the video clips. The comments on the most recent entry are funny, as they are direct messages to him. Like all forms of, I think you're the bestest actor...e-mail me!!!!

The other movie is an adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel/memoir of growing up in Iran, Persepolis, which comes out in 2007. Exciting!!!!

Youngna has an interesting photojournal of her time in the Dominican Republic. I spent a few weeks in the DR in my youth and this is where I developed my severe dislike of swarming ants (because otherwise, they're just so lovable and cuddly) and tasted my first sugarcane.

Here, you can find two tracks off the upcoming solo effort by Thom Yorke, The Eraser. And I'm not really feeling it. Much like ants, Thom Yorke is not exactly lovable and cuddly. But he does dance pretty crazy. Yorke 1. Ants 0.

The NYT says unpaid internships are evil! Maybe they are! It's like those things you find on Idealist where you PAY to VOLUNTEER. What's with that? And I didn't learn anything much from my internships (and they were paid, albeit small amounts) except expert fluency with office equipment and how to check e-mail sneakily. Surely this is why I (my parents) paid lots of money for college. It probably depends on the organization which you're interning for (there's isn't no grammar here), but bluh, what's the point. Get out there and do something, yeah? I should have followed my future advice.

And finally, popmatters responds to the stupid NYT best works of fiction in the last 25 years, by calling out the oldwhitemen and discounting the win by Toni Morrison's Beloved as the best work as compensation for oldwhitemen guilt. The writer asks, where are the minority, the fringe (you know, everybody else besides oldwhitemen)? and suggests they look to the future of the word in "the Alexies, the Chabons, the Wallaces." So, Toni Morrison's work is unable to stand on its own, simply because she is both black and a woman (GASP)? I mean, the popmatters guy, and he is a guy, is making, what seems to me, an obvious point about the wonderbread nature of the booklist, but then undercuts it by making both an unclear argument about Morrison (she's doomed because she's on the inside, she's doomed because she's regarded as an outsider) and a suggestion for young white men (plus one native american man in Alexie, whom I've never come across before?) as a solution. I don't buy that Morrison is regarded as an outsider in literature; I buy that there is scant consciousness about women or minority work on the general/popular radar, especially originating from the U.S., besides chick-lit and perhaps the This American Life/NPR crowd, David Sedaris/Sarah Vowell/David Rakoff (and even then).

Bookslut is compiling an alternate list. Make your suggestions for "The Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years That Will Not Bore the Living Shit out of You" at (har har, so funny) Of course, I can't come up with anything. Typical cheesebrain. Typical. Can you?


Robyn said...

OH MY GOD I've been listening to the same four THom Yorke tracks over and over (I refrained from downloading the rest) and I LOVE IT HEART YEAH ...
Okay maybe not lots of hearts, but I really like it. Oooaah. Thooom. He's cuddly! In my mind!

yp said...

Thanks for linkage. A few comments:
1. Re: Can't stand Sarah Vowell and this whole genre of transforming radio personalities to novelists, or is it writers who've escaped to radio? She, in particular, knocks me the wrong way. Perhaps in the way writing becomes a form of greater articulation for some, others so articulate on the radio don't translate as well to paper. This, I predict, will also be the great fallibility of the upcoming This American Life TV show and the Prairie Home Companion Movie.
2. I can't think of many decent young American authors either. A few, though perhaps not lasting names I do find decent: Lorrie Moore, Marilynn Robinson, Jeffrey Eugenides. I did read a Roth last week and REALLY liked it. Updike/Bellow I can't stand and Morrison? Ack. I had a conversation the other day with someone who was trying to argue all when to the shits after the formation of the Iowa school (basically anything post-1980). I disagree, and don't think contemporary fiction is largely a waste, but yeah, few and far between.
The End. (Longest. Comment. Ever.)
xo yp

janet said...

Robyn: Hahhaa. Thom, for some reason, reminds me of a bug. Maybe that's why I don't see him as cuddly.
YP: Is it an American plus "minority" thing though (since when is being female a minority, sigh)? When I think of contemporary literature that I've enjoyed recently, a lot of it is from the UK and other countries. Am I being anti-American? I love what I've read of Lorrie Moore ... but I dunno. Have American writers decided to focus on the short story and memoir? I think Sarah Vowell is smart and I actually like her, but I don't think she'll be writing a good long piece of fiction anytime soon. Rambles.

yp said...

Lots of the literature I've enjoyed is by non-American writers too and I find I default to American writers when I want a "beach read" or something lighter and chock full o' pop culture references. There are guys like Foer (puke) and Franzen obviously, but can't think of comparable female writers except for A.M. Homes who I really like, but some people consider her "chick lit" (I don't). Aside, there's also a class of foreign writers who I believe are living in America, but still attach their novels to their "home" countries like Jhumpa Lahiri (raised in Rhode Island), Suki Kim (grew up in Seoul but college at Barnard) and Amy Tan (capitalizing on ethnicity but being American)... so tendency is to see them as Indian/Korean/Chinese writers instead of American minority writers.