Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Some amazing books I've been flipping out about recently

 See Parts 1 and 2.

(Not in order of goodness. They are all amazing.)

1. Autoportrait, Edouard Levé (Dalkey Archive)
A collection of pin-sharp autobiographical nonsequiturs.

"To me the smell of manure recalls a bygone era, whereas the smell of wet earth evokes no particular time."
"Other people's failures make me sadder than my own."
"I am happy to be happy, I am sad to be sad, but I can also be happy to be sad and sad to be happy."

2. Women in Clothes, Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton and 639 Others (Blue Rider Press)
A book full of discussions with a huge variety of women (a bit cis, I acknowledge) about clothes, identity, admiration, rules, and obsessions.

"Joss Lake: My ex-girlfriend said, 'You don't have style, you have styles.' I'd always felt like I was failing to construct a coherent style--so it became a sort of Whitmanian mantra, not only for fashion, but for my personhood: 'I contain multitudes. I contain multitudes.'"
"Szilvia Molnar: I love noticing women who have a panoramic view of their environment when they're walking down the street. Women who are engaged in the moment and are interested in looking at who or what is around them."

3. Are You My Mother?, Alison Bechdel (Mariner)
A graphic memoir focused on Bechdel's relationship with her mother, plus psychoanalysis, Virginia Woolf, dreams, sex--makes me excited to notice more of the coincidences and thematic ties between all areas of life.

4. 10:04, Ben Lerner (Faber and Faber)
A beautiful New York book that is as helpful/transformative as a sustained conversation with a really smart friend (I already sought out the recommended Soho Crate & Barrel bathroom and it was great), closely observing those moments when life feels different and strange.

"And so on: each of these experiences of reception remained, as it were, in situ, so that whenever I returned to a zone where significant news had been received, I discovered that the news and an echo of its attendant affect still awaited me like a curtain of beads."

5. The Revolution Will Not be Microwaved: Inside America's Underground Food Movements, Sandor Ellix Katz (Chelsea Green)
From slow food to roadkill.

"I tend to be very adventurous about tasting plants I don't know; my rule of thumb is that it's okay to taste unknown plants (though not fungi) so long as you experiment slowly. Smell before you taste. Taste just a tiny bit. Chew it well, mix it with saliva, and see how it feels in your mouth. If it tastes unpleasant or you start reacting in some strange way, spit it out and don't eat any more. If it feels okay in your mouth, swallow."

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