Thursday, January 24, 2008

Book #2: Lucifer: Devil in the Gateway

Title: Lucifer: Devil in the Gateway
Author: Mike Carey
Pages: 158
Date Completed: 01/23/2008
Thoughts: On the first day of the new year I was sitting in Starbucks with my roommate, Nicky, and slogging through Clarissa. One of my friends showed up and we started chatting about books and other nerd pastimes. We wandered onto the subject of comic books and he began telling me about the Lucifer comic books -- a spin-off of a charcter in the Sandman series. He started going through the plot line and I became hooked. Alas, Starbucks closed and we had to leave and I never discovered the answers to all the questions I had about Lucifer.
So, I did what any good library girl would do and dispatched a slew of interlibrary loan requests for the series. I finally got my hands on the first one. I sat down the other night and devoured the entire volume. This collection contains a miniseries-like episode and then issues 1-4 of the series. It is dark, gruesome, and Lucifer is everything you'd imagine him to be: arrogant, manipulative, suave, and hot as hell (pun completely intended).
I'd recommend this series to Sandman fans and the Milton/Dante crowd.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday Salon*

The Sunday

Clarissa by Samuel Richardson
This weekend I finally made it to the 200th page of Clarissa, the book is good (as in it holds my interest) but I find Clarissa absolutely annoying, her best friend Miss Howe grating, and her entire family dumber than dumb. In fact, I am having serious issues with myself because I find Lovelace -- Clarissa's seducer and future rapist -- the most intelligent and sensible of characters. Thus in the novel Clarissa has been told that she is to marry the vile Mr. Solmes. As a result Clarissa cries and pleads and her family acts like total douchebags. And this goes on and on and on. I'm looking forward to Clarissa's future death because she will shut the hell up and after all, this is one chic that totally digs dying for that purity.

The Persistence of Objects by Richard Garcia
Richard Garcia kicks ass. I really don't know what else to say. When he came to my University to read, he discussed how lucid dreams are where he writes most of his poetry. He says that you can train your mind to stay in a lucid dream state longer and not wake up and then viola, better poetry. He attributes this to eating ice cream before bed; perhaps I should give that a go? Anyhoo, his poems are quite lyrical and dreaming, yet he doesn't fall prey to that writer faux-pas of employing "fancy words" and "cleverness." He is still very much an imagist and leaves me feeling like I'm in a state of poetic zen.

The Best New Poets 2006 edited by Eric Pankey and Jeb Livingood about making me feel like a poop on the bottom of a sneaker. This anthology of the best new poets of 2006 are just that ...damn... good. Check out their site here.

Sir Francis Drake: the Queen's Pirate by Harry Kelsey
Any of my friends will tell you that since childhood I have had a fascination with Sir Francis Drake. In fact, he was my first crush. I remember being about 10-years-old and reading a Drake biography for children. I thought him dashing and that bad boy vibe was appealing to me even at that young age. Now, I'm reading a grown-up biography of Drake. Although I think that I would totally be trying to hook-up with the privateer if I was a wench back in the day, I now realize that Drake was really kind of a scary dude. He is randomly beheading people, manipulating folks, abandoning knocked up slaves on islands, and lying his ass off to his crew, but still, there is something hot about that general bad boy-ness and the fact that he gets away with it.

* yes, I know it is technically Monday, but not even a half-hour into Monday!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I recovered from my wicked bronchitis and was back to work this week. I was drowning in work, realized that I am astonishingly poor, and started my "that time of the month." Let's just say that I wasn't the most cheery gal in the world.
On Wednesday, my week improved dramatically. The director lady told me I wouldn't be getting a promotion. "What", you ponder, "how can that be great news?" Because I am FREE! See, it get the job I wanted in the library I would need to be a bona fide librarian with an MLS and not a meager library assistant. This means my ass needed to get into a library school ASAP. Well, the current librarian in the position I want is leaving in the summer and I am not in library school. So there we have it; no librarian position.

Awesome because I have been writing like mad lately and was most certainly not desirous to become a library student. All of my writing time would have been taken up with boring online courses, but now, now I am free. I can apply to an MFA program and no one can say I'm irresponsible for passing up more money because I want to scribble.

Ahhhhh.... freedom.

There is more I wanted to post today about my writing, but it is gray and snowy out and I have hot chocolate and the latest BUST magazine. Methinks a bit of reading is in order. I will pontificate more tomorrow.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Book #1: The Bell Jar

Title: The Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath
Pages: 244
Date Completed: 01/10/08
Thoughts: Writing a review of this book is an exercise in redundancy. I love The Bell Jar. I've read the book over 20 times and I still enjoy it. Every year after I read The Bell Jar I try to think of something new to say.

The only thing I can think of to say that I haven't explicitly stated before is that despite Plath calling it a "potboiler" and the tendency of some critics to declare it juvenile -- hell, Catcher in the Rye is juvenile but godforbid you tell that to some critics -- I find that The Bell Jar has grown with me. When I was a girl, I found the sex and suicide elements ENTHRALLING. I considered it a bleak book because I was immature and only reading the surface. In actuality, Esther Greenwood's story is vibrant, and funny, and hopeful, and smart. I love it.
I fucking love The Bell Jar.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Room of One's Own, Kiddie Lit, and Soap

Hi all! I still feel shitty. In fact, I feel so shitty I don't even feel like READING. Here are some linkies for you to peruse this morning until I get my health and nerdiness back:

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hacks and Tatts

Sorry for the Sunday Salon crap-out. I did read The Bell Jar for a bit and then fell asleep. I had been feeling pretty shitty and I woke up feeling worse. Surprise, surprise, I have my first confirmed case of bronchitis for 2008. I went to the doctor this morning and the gave me some gnarly drugs and a shot on the rumpus; hopefully I will get well quick. He said that I will start a-hacking soon due to the steroid shot. I can't wait (sarcasm alert). Hopefully, I will get well soon; I actually kinda miss work after the long break (slap me someone!).

I was perusing the net this morning and found this interesting article about authors with tattoos; check it out. I have three tattoos: a crappy gecko lizard on my upper right thigh that I got when I was 18, a swallow on my right inner forearm, and a black Pegasus on the side of my left calf. Each tattoo does have a story and significance.

My gecko doesn't have a story, but I think I will keep it and not cover it up because it represents my personality at 18 -- stupid and impulsive.
The bird was done by my friend Sam when he worked at New Vision Tattoo. That bird is a Panic Bird, like the bird Plath wrote about in her journals, " makes me feel good as hell to express my hostility for my mother, frees me from the Panic Bird on my heart and my typewriter (why?)...[December 12, 1958]." Not that I feel any hostility for my mother -- my mom is kick-ass -- but I can understand the Panic Bird being anxiety and anxiety that affects one's ability to write. The Panic Bird will eventually be part of a sleeve of all Sylvia Plath inspired tattoos.

The black Pegasus was done by my friend David at New Vision Tattoo. There is a reason for the black Pegasus and a very deep meaning and a very tight bond of friendship with a group of amazing women. Alas, if I told you the entire significance of Peggy I would have to kill you. So, enough about that.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sunday Salon

The Sunday

Well, this will be my first Sunday Salon. Actually, I didn't know about this until earlier today when I was perusing The Books of My Numberless Dreams. Most Sundays I work from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., but I am going to read tonight -- we closed early -- and I will wake up on Sunday mornings to participate. Expect an update in a bit. I'm grabbing The Bell Jar, Clarissa, and some poetry.

10 Things That Make Me Glad

This is Willard. He is not my bear. He belongs to my friend Nicky. What Nicky doesn't know is that Willard and I snuggle when she is at work. SHHHHHHH!!!!!

This CD was a Christmas gift. It is the Silversun Pickups. They kick ass. Listen to them and be happy!

My Transformers toothbrush that I believe is intended for eight-year-old boys and not 27 year-old women. It makes cool transformer noises and plays the song and has Optimus Prime sayings. Nicky says it looks like I am blowing an autobot when I am brushing my teeth.

My mummy bookmark from the Michael C. Carlos museum at Emory University. Right now he is chillin' in The Bell Jar.

Incense. Love it. 'Nuff said.

Hot chocolate. This is the cheap kind, but it is so delicious.

Here is the Harry Potter Hogwarts castle lego set I put together at Christmas.

My bird journal. I bought it last summer at Barnes and Noble, but it was designed at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

I don't really like beer, but my friend Erin saved this bottle for me. It is Holy Grail Ale and it is tempered over burning witches. Yesssss......

Lip Balm that Traci gave me for Christmas. It is violet scented and comes in a sweet art nouveau tin.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A Conversation

Scene: Back in December I was at work typing away with the Penguin edition of Clarissa by Samuel Richardson sitting beside me. I had just checked it out that day and was bringing it home to start on over the holiday break. In walks our friendly UPS delivery man laden with boxes. He pauses at my desk and we have a short -- and disturbing -- conversation.

UPS Man: "Hi, Amanda! Wow, that is a huge book!"

Amanda: "Yeah. I'm going to try to read it."

UPS Man: "What is it about?"

Amanda: "Well, it is was written in the 1700s and it is about this girl who gets raped and dies."

UPS Man: "Geez, this guy must not be a very good rapist!"

Amanda: "Excuse me?"

UPS Man: "I mean, I would think it wouldn't take much more than a paragraph to rape someone. Seriously, over 1,000 pages for one rape?!"

Stories for Men

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

And I'm Back!

Well hello, strangers!

The Blog Jar is back from the dead. Yay!

So why did I mysteriously disappear from the interweb in November?

Well I could make something up that sounds like a good reason (like a stint working for the CIA or an alien abduction or a foray into a Luddite cult) but it isn’t nearly as humorously stupid as the real reason.

The REASON: Vodka + Amanda = Retardation.

There was this night back in November when I had several vodka cranberry juice drinks and then a rum and coke (and yes, I have no tolerance for alcohol). I was really, really, really drunk. I started out as a silly drunk and then progressed to a surly drunk. Around 2 a.m. I stomped off to bed in a horrific mood.

The next morning – it was a Sunday – I woke up at 6:30 and decided that I was going to leave Georgia. As in hop on a bus that day with the Kid and scoot to Portland, Oregon. The grand idea was to change my name and become a slam poet/bookstore owner/cabaret singer.

For some reason, I thought it would be logical to delete my Georgia existence. I started with the web and deleted my Facebook account, MySpace profile, and my blog – The Blog Jar. My blog I had had for nearly 3 years and had grossed over 20,000 hits.


No more Amanda.

Goddamn it.

After my friends freaked out because I was incommunicado, I reluctantly resurrected my Facebook and created a new MySpace account; but what to do about my blog? The holidays were approaching and financial worries and social anxiety had me nuttier than the gifted fruitcakes I was chucking in the garbage.

I decided to wait until 2008 and then bring The Blog Jar back.

So I’m back and reading and not any more neurotic than is to be expected of a bookish girl. I promise not to blip into nonexistence again. I swear on my pretty new copy of the Pevear – Volokhonsky translation of War and Peace.

Expect updates soon about what I’m reading and an interesting conversation I had with a UPS delivery dude about Clarissa.