Saturday, July 30, 2011

Brave Nude World; Two Book Reviews

Just finished 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America by Actor-writer-comedian Albert Brooks. The book takes place in the not-too-distant future, and while it is funny, and probably quite prescient, it is just not a novel--it's more a collection of characters wandering through a series of plots, in search of a heart, or even a unifying theme.
It most definitely suffered by comparison to Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel by Gary Shteyngart--which I read a couple of weeks ago.
Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel
Super Sad True Love Story (SSTLS) deals with the same premise, and I found it to be a much better book, overall; it grew on me slowly, though, and at page 50, I almost gave up on it as a "gimmick" book...Glad I didn't, as the eventual emotional payoff was worth it.
Both books came out recently, and both are enjoying some success, but personally, I don't think Albert Brooks book would have been published if he wasn't, well, Albert Brooks.
Both humorist-authors see the U.S. as heading toward becoming an economic "also ran" (duh) and see the population's widening age-and-money gap as a source of contention in the near future, with young and old furiously haggling for bigger pieces of the country's dwindling funds (double duh).
Some of the things that SSTLS foresees in our future are funnier and seems just as likely--constant shopping on our ever-present "apparati" (like an iPhone, plus some) as well as "Onionskin" brand see-though jeans, made to showcase young women's shaved genitalia. I can't say I am looking forward to that potential clothing fad--though many current styles ("booty shorts" for one) seems nearly as odd.
Anyway, it's a brave new--or nude--world a comin,' according to our current novelists. Be prepared.
Meanwhile, I'm back to re-reading Jane Austen; this time it is Emma. And some non-fiction... More on that later.
Hasta pronto!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Things She Wants Us to Know...

Last Sunday's NYT Book Review section had a fascinating short article on Stieg Larsson and Eva Gabrielsson. She is the author of a new book about her life with Larsson, which also, apparently details the whole messy wrestling match between Gabrielsson and his family over the late author's artistic legacy and multi-million-dollar estate that has occurred since his untimely death.
Interesting story, but the article's author also makes some trenchant observations about Larsson's writing. I am so tired of reading that his three books are somehow "just" thrillers or that his women characters are weak or exploited...Most reviewers miss the boat, I think, as I find Larsson's writing both insightful and gripping--and I truly love the fiery, zero-bullshit Ms Salander!
I am enjoying re-reading Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto
Into the Beautiful North: A Novel
Urrea, author of The Hummingbird's Daughter. Check out his site--witty and chock-full of delights, here. You can also vote for his book for "One Book, One San Diego" there, if you haven't already...
Hasta pronto!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

An award-winning anthology and more

Turns out I've been too busy to keep up with all my "children" (not the soap opera)...
The anthology for which I was prose editor, A Year in Ink vol 3
A Year in Ink, Vol. 3
has won a San Diego Book Award in June.
It really is a fine collection of writers and their writing, both poetry and prose, and I'm so proud to have it selected for this honor. I see that my friends Judy Reeves, Laurel Corona, Nelson Copp, Ken Kuhlken, and John Woods also won awards, and "Best of the Best" winner was Drusilla Campbell, who I met at SCWC. I sure know a lot of good writers! See the list of winners here.
And for those who wonder what I've been up to that has kept me too busy for awards news, check out this video link to my new Kickstarter film project.
hasta pronto,