Sunday Salon: August 1, 2010

Holy crap, I can’t believe it’s already August.  This means I’ve officially lived in Michigan for an entire month.  Give me two more weeks, and it will be the longest stretch I’ve been out of Ohio.  Yeah…that’s pretty pathetic.

This week has been long, but ended well.  I’ve been working to get a job for a few weeks now, and Wednesday, I had an interview with the company’s HR department.  My “final” interview was scheduled for Friday morning, but had to be rescheduled for this Wednesday.  The waiting game is killing me, but I’m staying optimistic.

This weekend, my brother came to visit and we had a surprisingly lovely time.  The fact that it was lovely wasn’t surprising (time with family always is), but so much of what happened was unplanned, unexpected, but so much fun.  My brother loved Birmingham, and we took a long walk Friday afternoon around town and throughout the surrounding neighborhoods.  Friday evening we went to the mall, and while both my brother and Joel found clothes, I found a cute little decorative doodad on clearance at Urban Outfitters.  While driving back towards home, we saw a huge crowd at a nearby park.  Walking up to investigate, we discovered an outdoor movie night, and so settled in to eat cotton candy and watch Night at the Museum 2.  Yesterday was spent at the Detroit Zoo, and then at a friend’s 40th birthday party (which was completely paid for…nice on our wallet!).  We then sat on our back porch, drank beer and talked til the wee hours of the morning.  A successful visit.

In the book world, this week wasn’t the most wildly successful.  After finishing Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates late last week, I started Roots by Alex Haley.  I picked up Roots for free at SPI, mainly because I thought it was one of those “big books” everyone should read.  In addition to being quite large (it’s a brick of a book), the cover also pointed out that it won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.  A double whammy for my book lists?  Yes please!

I was excited…until I started reading.  I won’t go too far into my thoughts on the book, but I will say this:  I don’t like it.  For some reason, I seem to have gotten the uncorrected version, although the cover says nothing about being an uncorrected proof.  Seriously, the spacing and comma errors are getting annoying.  And last night, I stumbled on “neaily.”  No, this was not ebonics.  It was a misspelling of “nearly.”  Very, very disappointing.  And this is supposed to be the 30th anniversary special edition?  Yikes.

Plus, I’ve just now discovered that it didn’t really win the Pulitzer Prize, and I’m receiving conflicted views on the National Book Award.  As it turns out, Haley didn’t win the Putlizer Prize outright in 1977, he was merely awarded a “Special Prize” by the Pulitzer committee.  Um, OK?  And, please, will someone tell me if Roots won the National Book Award or not?  This article from the Tennessee State website claims Haley won the 1976 National Book Award.  But there is no trace of Haley or Roots in the list of 1976 NBA winners from the National Book Foundation website.  Seriously, WTF people.

Roots aside, I did review The God of Small Things on Monday, which was an excellent read.  It’s because of books like these, as well as authors like Arundhati Roy, that remind me how much quality can be found in contemporary literary fiction.  Seriously people, just because they’re a few years (or a decade) old, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be read.  No Reservations just so happened to be visiting the Kerala region of India Monday, the area where The God of Small Things takes place.  After watching Tony scarf down tasty Indian food, I don’t know how anyone wouldn’t want to read this book.

I also did a bit of ranting this week, namely a giant bitchfest about the Kindle and other e-readers.  I liked Joel’s comment in an email he sent me that day:  “You really don’t like Kindles!”  Ha.  Well… I guess I really don’t, but I don’t want anyone to think I have a vendetta against them.  If you remember, I did admit that they were a pretty cool little gadget.  Once upon a time, I even admitted that they might be nice if you liked reading crappy romance novels, especially if you don’t want such embarrassing titles as The Millionaire’s Baby cluttering your bookshelf.  I think the end result—namely the post in question—ended up sounding more angry than I really am.  Wednesday just happened to be the first time I had let myself think about e-readers at length, and then wrangle those thoughts into coherent arguments.  I apologize for it’s length, but it had to be done.

Besides that, I reccomended everyone read a little more Tracy Kidder, and then brought you the last poem from my Good Poems collection, which I have been reading for a little over a year now.

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