Lots of books were read this weekend.
Stephen Hawking’s tiny, tiny autobiography. What a disappointment. It was a fact-by-fact, step-by-step, dry accounting of his life. More than half the book was the same information that you could get in his other books.
A book about Alaska. I have a “thing” for books about Alaska. It was from a time when I had a Sweetheart, who moved to Alaska. I was in despair, but there was nothing I could do about it. All I could do was read books about Alaska. This particular book, and I’ve already forgotten the title, was your basic, average, everyday book about Alaska. The young woman moves to Alaska, sees some moose and fish, deals with a dark winter, and meets some salty characters. Alaska Literature is totally more than that. That’s just the basics of a book about Alaska.
I finished _Stitches_ by Anne Lamott. Part of me is embarrassed now, for having tried to link _Stitches_ with the Triggers and the Neoliberal politics of triggering and harm and trauma and whatever. Because right in the middle of that book, I’d gone to Amazon.com to read some reviews and a lot of them were complaining. “This is like the kind of book you’d pick up in an airport,” Anne Lamott’s readers griped, “this isn’t REALLY Anne Lamott.” How dumb of me, I’d thought, to think of stitching in relation to the harm and trauma. But really it was just an airport book.
(Although, one of Stephen Hawking’s main things in his autobiography was that he had WANTED to write a book that would be sold at airports. He WANTED to take something big and complex and unwieldy and get it to where someone at the airport could read it.)
I read a good book called _Jarhead_, about a Marine Corps in the Gulf War. He was large and filthy and sexualized and very American. They did all this training and then he only got a few minutes of actual combat and then they sent him home to rot. He very vaguely compared the Gulf War to Vietnam. I could probably compare them more.
I read Neil Gaiman’s _The Ocean at the End of the Lane_. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to really get into Neil Gaiman this year, to read all he’d had to write. But this is only the second book I’ve read of his all year, and it’s already July. _The Ocean at the End of the Lane_ had a good lot in common with _Coraline_. Coraline had all the imagery around the button eyes, and The Ocean had a lot going on with the rags and scraps of cloth. So again this is fibers, sewing, materials. I have no idea how that compares to _Stitches_ or to the Bully Bloggers or to anything at all. But at least I read some Neil Gaiman. He’s married to the musician Amanda Palmer, and what kind of effect do you think they have on each other’s work?
I don’t normally get to do things like read five books in three days, but I’m doggie-sitting for this little dog who’s recently had a leg surgery. So now the dog basically can’t do anything but sit in a room. He can’t play with other dogs, he can’t walk on linoleum or tile, he can’t jump or run. He basically can just sit in a room. In solidarity, I’ve been camping out with him this whole time. Me reading, him moping and sleeping or chewing determinedly on a rubber toy that I’ve stuffed with some small treats and his medications.