Monday, July 18, 2005

this and that

For my next book club, we're reading Brick Lane. I can't wait. I've been wanting to read it for some time having heard great things from RJ and wanting to compare it to Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake.

I'm currently listening to Rachael Yamagata's Happenstance. I bought it a couple months back after this Rachel recommended it. I wasn't so crazy about it, but didn't dismiss it entirely. I left it on the shelf and picked it up again recently to give it another try on my commute to work. I really like it now. Go figure. Maybe I'm just in a different state of mind. I really love the first two songs and also "Under My Skin" which is a great song about a girl's unsuspected attraction to another woman. So nice to have a love song that's smart and isn't about crying over someone.

I'm also reading The Atlantic's Fiction Issue. I bought it mostly because I wanted to read the essays and tid bits from writers. Mary Gordon and Rick Moody both spoke at Bryn Mawr during my tenure there. I really admire their work and their thoughtfulness about writing. I reviewed Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep for the Times-Picayune months and months ago. I was more intrigued by the story behind the story than the actual novel itself. I think Sittenfeld is a great writer, but I loathed Lee Fiora. Liz says everyone can identify in some way with Lee and maybe that is what got to me. I had no sympathy for the parts of me I saw in Lee. They were the moments of self-pity that I had at the beginning of college when I felt like a total outsider.

When I voiced this at book club tonight, it was met with: "YOU!? An outsider?! You had more friends than anyone," from my fellow Bryn Mawr alumnae.

And maybe I did. I always had a million friends, but that doesn't mean that I didn't feel like the Southern girl there on considerable financial aid. I felt like I had to prove my heritage and my class. It was a struggle that I kept to myself. I was always too proud to ask for a better grade or an extension. Maybe I should have listened to myself a little more, but I had too much dignity for that.

Ugh, maybe I am more like Lee than I thought.

Well, Sittenfeld is probably going to write a sequel. We'll see if Lee improves with age.

6 Comments:

Blogger R J Keefe said...

And now your dignity, along with your other strengths, have landed you in a place where you can afford to listen to yourself. Good work!

Tue Jul 19, 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Lit/chick said...

god, i love that album. i listened to "reason why" on repeat the whole month of november as l. and i were breaking up.

you were _never_ the outsider to me. you were just the opposite--the mawrtyr i desperately wanted to be like and have as my friend. i met you in your first month, but girl, i knew you had it all even then.

no scoffing.

and i wasn't that crazy about _prep_ either. sat down one day at barnes and noble and read it in under two hours. compelling, but the writing wasn't superb. also put me off of any desire to ever teach at a prep school. not that i had that much anyway.

Tue Jul 19, 03:13:00 PM  
Anonymous rachel said...

I had no idea that Under My Skin is about a girlcrush - where did you learn that? Craziness.

Yay for listening to Rachael Yamagata, in any event. I turned Charlotte on to her, too!

Thu Jul 21, 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Ms. NOLA said...

I read the lyrics. Maybe I read into it, but I like to pretend mainstream singers are bi. It makes things more interesting.

Fri Jul 22, 12:36:00 AM  
Anonymous rachel said...

Oh! I meant to say. My favorite song on that album is 1963.

Fri Jul 22, 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger Ms. NOLA said...

I like that song, too!!

Fri Jul 22, 09:59:00 PM  

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