Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.

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Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Weekend reading

Hockeyman has Monday off. I did not, but was granted a vacation day. Low on books, I celebrated by dashing out to the library.

It's game day weekend where I work. This means all the lawns are especially manicured, all the streetlamps repaired. Not to imply the campus exists in a state of disrepair, but man, can you ever tell when the donors are coming.

The library was preparing for a catered event: the class of something or other. For some reason the kid behind the desk didn't throw me out as carts laden with sodas were rolled into the library and the studying students told to depart. I tried not to think about why Coca-cola was allowed in the library. Instead I thought about the books.

I had decided to take a risk, borrowing novels I might never otherwise read. They were free, I have nothing to lose but time, and maybe my horizons could take a little widening.

So:

Ann Beattie's Follies.
Antonya Nelson's Some Fun (despite an incredibly boastful cover)
Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian
Susan Sontag's Regarding the Pain of Others (Am I the only person who didn't know she had a relationship with Annie
Liebovitz?)


Before tackling this pile I must finish Virginie Despentes's Baise-Moi. In case your French is weak, the title, translated, is "Rape Me", and the book, banned in its native France, thus far makes Paint it Black look like Who Moved My Cheese. The story centers on Nadine, a prostitute, and Manu, a young woman living in a grim neighborhood. Both spend their waking hours seeking enough money to buy drugs and liquor. Manu also likes sex, and is indifferent to who she has it with. Self-respect or care is utterly foreign to these two. By page 75 rape, murder, and heavy drug use are the norm. The prose is flatly declarative, the sentences short. There is nothing to be happy about.

What caught my attention about this book (found used) was its being banned in France. I viewed France--perhaps naively--as being more sexually sophisticated than the U.S., though it may be the violence that got the censors going. God knows....Despentes' world is a far cry from the polished surfaces of Alison Bechdel's meticulously rendered Fun Home. At any rate, Baise-Moi definitely deserves shelf space in the Marshall Library. Maybe I'll donate them my copy.

An interesting review of the film here.

Authors, Books, Literature, Writing

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