Friday, April 3, 2009

Saying a Fan is No Good, Just Because You Can't Use It As a Vacuum Cleaner

The title today is a new phrase I invented my very own self that I hope all of you will add to your arsenal immediately.  


"That guy is an asshole.  How could he even tell if other people are assholes?"

"That's like saying a fan is no good, just because you can't use it as a vacuum cleaner.  He has a perfectly good asshole-detector.  He just can't turn it inward."

Yeah, like that.

And with no segue at all, that brings us to this week's Books of the Week.  Yes, yet again I have read TWO books this week, and you have to suffer through hearing about them both.  The week began with The Little Sister, by Raymond Chandler, featuring (as they always do) the six foot tall sarcastic detective, Philip Marlowe.  Since hearing that Clive Owen bought the rights to all the Marlowe books, I can't help but picture him as the main character, which wasn't an altogether unpleasant experience:

So, since I imagine you don't read Raymond Chandler, since you don't read anything because you went to public school, I suppose I ought to tell you a thing or two about the book and the writer. 
  1. They are good
  2. Marlowe is irresistable to the ladies (I dare you to resist)
  3. They are good
Raymond Chandler fits well into the noir genre, and even Marlowe seems aware of that fact.  In The Little Sister he more than once warns other characters that they are dealing with real life, not the stuff of a pulp novel, shortly after which he either gets shot at, has a woman swoon in his arms, or lights yet another cigarette.  If you think you might like that, this is a good novel to start with, since it doesn't have any homosexual or "ethnic" characters to act ridiculous and detract from the fun of the mystery*.  

Book number two this week is a collection called The Best American NonRequired Reading: 2007, which I bought when we went to Barnes and Noble to buy a DVD, because I'm physically incapable of leaving a bookstore without buying a book.  This was a good choice, since it's edited by Dave Eggers who is my secret best friend, and secret best friends are better because then only you know how bestest friends you are.  

Overall the stories and essays in this were fantastic.  The only one I wasn't particularly enamored with was the last, entitled "Literature Unnatured," by Joy Williams.  Maybe my attention span was just waning at the end of this long collection, but I got bored early on and decided that it was yet another example of a Baby Boomer bewailing the fall of culture since their awesome generation, which I seem to be encountering a lot of lately.  Again, it may be my age and status as the child of a Baby Boomer, but when they bewail it bothers me much more than when others bewail.  

But that is a topic for another day, this has gone on long enough.

* This is meant to be a comment on the existence of stereotypical characters in other noir novels, not a statement that I think homosexual and ethnic people are ridiculous.  I think all people are ridiculous, no matter their race or sexual orientation.


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