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Sunday, November 6, 2011

This Weekend In Books (... Like Actually In Them... Living Right Inside of Them)



I'm only 15 pages into Colson Whitehead's Zone One, the first selection for my newly established Brooklyn-based Book and Garden Club! I, along with four other fabulous literary ladies, will be delving into Mr. Whitehead's novel which, from my superficial knowledge before starting the book, was written as an allegory of post-9/11 American life. Incidentally, my dear Netita sent me this video via Facebook which (also superficially) echoes the vibe of this post-apocolyptic horror novel.




After finishing Euginedes' Marriage Plot last week, I was in the mood for something broader, something that offered a more macroscopic view of life, of more certain, observable things. It's bad enough to be trapped with my own concerns about the future, and wondering about my personal destiny, so after Marriage Plot I needed a new taste in my mouth- quick! This is not to say I didn't enjoy the book, on the contrary, I found it to be very engaging (pun intended). I could very much relate to the three, quite extreme, characters, going so far as to label myself as 25% Madeline Hanna (for only biological and naivety/optimistic reasons), 40% Leonard Bankhead and 35% Mitchell Grammaticus. I felt that the book had very little to do with the actual marriage plot described in the beginning and touched upon by Mitchell at the end of the book (er the actual "marriage" part in the book even seemed irrelevant to me, at the end of it all) and way more to do with the anxiety inducing mystery surrounding our individual fates, how romance is intertwined with the struggle to make sense of it, and how very different people who have the same questions and each approach and deal with it all.

I trailed off in search of the Madeline Hanna referenced A Lover's Discourse by Roland Barthes along with apparently every other New Yorker who read the novel (deduced from the unfortunate reality that the book was out of stock in every local bookstore). I resorted to picking up another Barthes selection (only because the synopsis said the book cited 'both Beethoven and Goldfinger'- which I took as a sign -yes, a sign from a man who wrote about signs (!), albeit different types of signs- since I have just completed a film about Beethoven and am setting off to research a story about the life of composer John Barry). Last-minutely ditching the discounted copy of Madness and Civilization, out of 50% fear that I'd appear like an amateur-existentialist- NYU student to the cashier and 50% not wanting to become even more distraught than I already am on the world's slow and steady disintegration, I left the Strand Bookstore on a lonely Saturday evening with a sufficiently eclectic combination of Zone One, Image Music Text and Cocteau, Frances Steemguller's biography on the legendary French visionary. Pas mal for a "lazy" weekend.

It's now 11:45 pm and I have about 3 hours of work ahead of me, so I better get to it. I just can't resist turning back to Whitehead's story every now and then... I will leave you with my favorite line so far from the book:


"Even angels are animals."


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I'm an LA transplant now living in Brooklyn. I develop film projects by day, write at night, and have a dangerous predilection for vintage Robinson Golluber scarves- this blog serves as a tiny window to everything else I do when I'm not satisfying those first three passions. I'm trying to blog more and tweet less @annabelleqv. What about you?

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