So if you've been spending sleepless nights wishing for some new Seigel material to cuddle up to (your copy of Panda is now presumably so cuddled-out that it's not even paper anymore, just downy fluff) and the blog doesn't work because it's a total pain in the ass to get your computer monitor under covers, I have a verrrrrrry short piece in this new book, out January 16th. It's the story of my sixth-grade boyfriend, Brian Millat, and our doomed, elementary school love.
Also, the end of my second term at Bennington approaches, and it's that time again to post my completed reading list and introduce my erudite "into it"/ "not into it"/ "sort of into it, sort of not" grading system.
OFFICIAL SECOND TERM READING LIST:
1. Autobiography of a Face- Lucy Grealy: Into it and totally shocked that the kids at her high school would be such incredible dicks to a girl with cancer.
2. Why Did I Ever- Mary Robison: Sort of into it, sort of not because while Robinson's a very witty writer and each section holds up entertainingly, a whole picture never exactly coheres.
3. Early Bird- Rodney Rothman: Sort of into it, sort of not because it's a good idea for a non-fiction book, but also does that thing I totally hate where old people are all cute and funny just because they're old, which I think is never, ever really the case.
4. The Woman Who Cut Off Her Leg at the Maidstone Club- Julia Slavin: Into it. Wayyyyyy into it. This is probably the most revelatory short story collection I read this term, and I really love the story about the woman who starts growing teeth all over her body.
5. Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet Of Wonder- Lawrence Weschler: Into it, and what's kind of sad, maybe, is that I found the book more fun than my actual visit to "The Museum Of Jurassic Technology" with Kate because I guess I'm just one of those squares who likes a little explanation with her obfuscation.
6. The Boys Of My Youth- Jo Ann Beard: Into it, especially because it contains my favorite story of the term, "The Fourth State Of Matter," which, as I just wrote to my teacher, Amy Hempel, I think is probably the best break-up story ever.
7. Sam The Cat- Matthew Klam: Into it, but not nearly as into it as I thought I was going to be because everyone's always all, "Sam the Cat is genius!" and while it is well done and often funny, I do think it's a little too in love with revamping masculinity for me to love it.
8. Children Playing Before A Statue of Hercules- Ed. by David Sedaris: Not that into it, surprisingly, and I thought I would be because I love Sedaris, and so I thought I'd love the stories that most influenced him. But really, I found most of his choices sort of boring. The Jincy Willett story inside, however, is one of the best I've ever read.
9. Wearing Dad’s Head- Barry Yourgrau: Not that into it even though I like the idea of his work. I just wish that Yourgrau would take his fantastical kernels, plant them, and grow a story with an emotional arc.
10. A Confederacy Of Dunces- John Kennedy Toole: Not that into it, which shocked me, because I assumed that this would be a book I'd be into because I'd always heard that it was "hilarious." It isn't, really, unless maybe you have a friend just like Ignatius, and you're all tickled by the likeness.
11. Killing Yourself to Live- Chuck Klosterman: Way into it. I am a gigantic Klosterman fan, and am a hundred percent in favor of his narcissism, which serves him well.
12. Dear Mr. Capote- Gordon Lish: Sort of into it, sort of not because it's impressively executed and a great portrait of a complicated murderer, but I had a hard time getting into the narrative because I was always so aware of the author working his hardest to write crazy.
13. Everybody Into The Pool- Beth Lisick: Way into it, especially the story about how Beth financed her abortion by working at this charity nun function. This book makes me wish she was my friend..
14. The Ice At The Bottom Of The World- Mark Richard: Sort of into it, sort of not because it falls into that category of books that Ryan would really love, and out of principle I tend to recoil from that category of books.
15. Truth & Beauty- Ann Patchett: Into it, especially in combination with Autobiography of a Face (and I don't think it's a betrayal of Lucy at all).
16. Lunar Park- Bret Easton Ellis: Sort of into it, sort of wasn't for awhile because I really do like Easton Ellis's work a lot and I'm all about ghosts, too, but he has this bad habit of connecting narrative pieces that have already been connected, and I'd rather see him use the space for more bitchiness. It took me some time (after reading), but I ended up loving the book.
17. Carnivore Diet- Julia Slavin: Sort of into it, sort of not and really torn about this one because I love Slavin's voice, I'm just not sure I like how untethered this book gets. Still, I am way more on the pro side.
18. Plasticville- David Trinidad: Sort of into it, sort of not, which is a pretty good review, considering that this is a book of poetry. Like: the nostalgia and pop culture references. Don't Like: the word games for the sake of playing word games.
19. Birds Of America- Lorrie Moore: Into it, even though I was sort of turned off by it in the beginning because Ryan said, "Read this, she's funny" and when I read it, I was like, "She's really not funny." But she's a strong writer.
20. Willful Creatures- Aimee Bender: Way into it because it's like bedtime stories for grown-ups, except I can read it myself instead of having it read to me.
21. Letters To Wendy’s- Joe Wenderoth: Not into it. Like Robinson's book, the pieces don't add up to a big enough thing, especially because these pieces are notes on Wendy's (the fast food restaurant) customer cards that sound like they've been written by all the kids I took "Cinematic Coding And Narrativity" with.
22. Honored Guest- Joy Williams: Not that into it, and why does it turn out that I dislike ninety percent of the books that really famous, good people on the back flap practically die over?
23. Diary- Chuck Palahniuk: Into it, and pleasantly surprised to find myself thinking that this is the best book I've read of Palahniuk's. He finally rises above the wanky nihilism that usually wrecks him.
24. Spook- Mary Roach: So ridiculously into it and seriously, I love Mary Roach and will read everything she ever puts out, even if that stuff stops being about death.
25. Mysterious Skin- Scott Heim: Sort of into it, sort of not because the subject of child molestation is handled interestingly, but the characters' first-person voices-- not so much.
26. Amnesia Moon- Jonathan Lethem: Sort of into it, sort of not (and discovering what a sort of into it, sort of not person I must be to have so many of these on the list). It's kind of rickety at first, but then gets crazy later on and I can get behind the crazy half.
27. A House Waiting For Music- David Hernandez: Shockingly into it, and not just saying that because David gave this book to me right after he cooked me a burger and I have to say something nice. Since he writes poems that are more like short-short stories than poems, I was less horrified than I predicted.