Paul Beatty’s brilliant satire, The Sellout is about a present-day man who accidentally acquires a slave and loves his former town so much that he physically redefines its town lines and reinstitutes segregation. I bought the book because it sounded like a thought-provoking and challenging satire, one of the cover blurbs, called it “Swiftian satire of the highest order.” I assumed I would appreciate the humor and the authorial voice, but detest the protagonist. But Beatty created an incredibly likable character, one that truly means well but can’t help when strange things happen to him (like having a suicidal man he saved pledge his life as a slave to him). He ends up in the Supreme Court as a result of his trying to improve his community. Continue reading
Chuck Palahniuk‘s Fight Club 2 begins ten years after Fight Club the novel ends. The artwork by Cameron Stewart is amazing: at times I feel I’m experiencing a movie. The set up scenery is dizzying. The narrator Sebastian works a 9-5 job, is married to Marla Singer, and together they have a son. Sebastian sees a therapist weekly and is heavily medicated to keep Tyler Durden at bay. He suspects his wife is cheating on him and discovers that she is: Marla has been messing with his meds, resurrecting Tyler Durden.
Another year, another Friends of the San Francisco Public Library booksale. This year was different though. I received a VIP pass, so I was invited to go for the member day, when it was closed to the riff raff (me, every other day). I went around five, and everything was still so clean and pristine. People were everywhere, books piled high, similar editions grouped into large stacks, and so many clean almost brand-new editions.
Starting last year I began keeping track of all the books I’ve bought. Every year I think I’ve curbed my book buying, but each year I realize I’ve bought around the same amount.
It’s an addiction that I’ve learned to live with. I avoid book browsing for months at a time but once I walk into a bookshop, I take a deep breath and smell the fresh books. It’s both welcoming and comforting.
Amara Lakhous‘ Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio takes its title from a movie that one of the characters, Johan Van Marten, wants to make about tenants living in the same building, what the elevator represents to them, and how they interact with one another as a result of the shared space. A long-time tenant is found dead in the elevator. One man, Amedeo, is accused of the crime, but none of the tenants believe he is the murderer, so they each give their suspicions, opinions, and prejudices.