Link 116: A Good Life

I really like that Nicholson Baker has popped up in The Cut‘s “I Like This Bitch’s Life” series.

Because, yeah…


…yes please.

Although really I’ve already been channeling Nicholson Baker for years. Ever since reading The Mezzanine, I’ve always stood (and not walked up) escalators. That book remains a favourite.

Link 113: On Women’s Writing

I read this piece on the length of women’s fiction writing, and found it interesting. Elif Batuman’s The Idiot is a definitely an exception to Patterson’s thesis, but considering it’s the only recently published example I could think of off hand, it may be the exception that proves the rule.

(The Idiot is amazing, by the way. I’m not sure I would have gotten it when I was Selin’s age, but now that I’m old and have known a few Ivans, it speaks directly to my heart. It’s also very fun to pair it with Nell Zink’s The Wallcreeper. Both novels are darkly comic coming of age stories, but they go in utterly opposite directions. Both are brilliant.)

Links 96 to 112: So Many Things

So many rando links lurking in the drafts folder, so many open tabs… Let’s tidy that up, shall we?

96. Kara Walker’s latest artist statement made me cry. It is a STATEMENT. (via Jez)

97. David Wong Louie on (not) eating after cancer. Heartbreaking.

98. Tracing an amnesiac’s identity in the digital era.

99. Luvvie talks about her experience on the NYT’s best seller list.

100. A subject near and dear to my heart.

101. I’ve never watched Bachelor in Paradise, but I have been following the scandal all summer long. “Why are you watching this?” is a great question, but what I really want to know is what has happened to the producer who made the initial complaint. You know that person doesn’t have a career in tv anymore, despite doing the right thing.

102. I’m still trying to figure out eyeliner. I read this “review” [advertorial, lol] and immediately ordered the brush (from Nail Polish Canada, actually–ships free!) because I’m a bit of a sucker. I suppose it’s helpful for wings, but no good for smudging into your lashline, which is what I’m trying to do. So: not a total waste of money but not the answer to my liner woes. I think part of my problem is that the Tarte liner I’m using is quite dry…?

103. I’m not going to make this–I just don’t need another blanket–but, damn, I want it.

104. But I might make this? I may have suitable fabric… if I don’t try making a Fen top. Depends on the yardage I have on hand.

105. At one point over the winter I was thinking about sewing with sequins. I chickened out (wised up?) but if I ever do tackle sequins, this looks like the advice to follow.

106. If I don’t rent forever, these tiles are going in my house.

And … I do want to write about my own particular clothing philosophy–at some point. In the meantime, some links on wardrobe planning and the meaning of clothes.

107. Karen Templar asks her readers about wardrobe planning.

108. On uniform dressing.

109. Also from Racked: less serious but if you feel like conceptualizing? (And yes, I did mean to share that in May. But no reason you can’t make this kind of statement for autumn or winter.)

110. If I were going to break away from my denim-and-handknits winter wardrobe, I’d go for something like this, I think.

111. I feel a certain push and pull when it comes to dressing in a feminine manner (eyeliner, right?)… I definitely identify with this piece, even though I don’t do full-on femme.

112. And one more Racked link, because Tracey Robey and because there are all kinds of ways clothes can be powerful.

Book Recommendation: Laurie Colwin Really is So Good

I was stuck on ferries and buses and the SkyTrain today, coming back from a few days with my parents, and decided on a whim to re-read Laurie Colwin’s Happy All The Time (apparently The Crying of Lot 49 and To A Mountain in Tibet–the books I’d meant to read–were not quite doing it for me). I have a crush on someone, and my current emotional state is “it probably won’t work out, but at least I’ve discovered I’m not actually dead inside,” and Happy All the Time suits that perfectly.

I first read this a few months ago, and it totally holds up on a second go-around. It’s a wonderful romantic satire; it really is just so much fun to watch two men face their confusion and helplessness when confronted by two women who are truly individuals, and not merely “women.” Colwin’s wit is so sharp, and yet so warm. There is a great heart, and a great optimism, to this book that is totally at odds with the current socio-political mood, and yet it remains utterly beguiling.

Also, Happy All the Time is one of the few e-books I own (I really do prefer paper, but the iPad comes in handy now and again), and at the end, it has a fun little biographical section with photographs.

How perfect is this sullen teenager look that Miss Colwin is rocking? Of course you’d be utterly scornful of your mom seeing you off on your tour to Europe while your dad snaps photos like a freakin’ dork.

Home Cooking is marvellous, too, and now I need to read everything Laurie Colwin has ever written.

Link 37: A Good List of Good Long Books

This round up of 26 Very Long Books Worth the Time They’ll Take to Read includes my all-time fave, Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon. Calling it a “glorious mess in a career of glorious messes” is a very, very perfect description.

(And yes, I’ve read enough of the books on that list to make me feel just a little smug.)

Vacation Reading

So, apparently I’m going on a trip next week! I still can’t quite believe it’s real… although you’d think all the hours I spent scouring the internet for the perfect resort (and the hour I spent at Swimco pouring myself in bathing suits) would maybe have proved it to me. The trip is a birthday present from my unbelievably generous parents, and I am just so grateful to them. They left the choice of destination up to me, and while a trip to an all-inclusive isn’t normally my thing, once my mom suggested it, I decided to embrace the luxury. This is my chance to enjoy something I’d never pay for myself. On Monday, I head off to the Dominican Republic for a whole week at the Excellence El Carmen resort in Punta Cana!

Here’s what I’m going to read while I’m away… books

The Hothouse by the East River by Muriel Spark. Selected because Muriel Spark, and because it sounds creepy and fun. Plus it’s a nice slim volume for slipping into my bag.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. I haven’t read enough Woolf, and that’s something worth fixing.

Fonzie, Fonzie Superstar by William Johnston. My friend Meg sent this to me for my birthday. If nothing else the cover is 10/10, and I’m sure it’ll be a fun read when it’s too hot to think.

The Old Patagonian Express by Paul Theroux. I like Theroux. I like trains. Picking this one up at Pulp Fiction was a no-brainer.

A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit. I did consider getting Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me but decided that I didn’t need to die of a poolside rage stroke. This Field Guide seems like a more appropriate vacation selection.

I want to dig into all of these right now, of course! But first there’s laundry, and tidying, and packing…

Link 24: On Gin

Recently, something I read (a post on Mason Dixon Knitting, maybe?) linked to the blog Desperate Reader. I wasn’t super interested in that particular link, but the blog name and tone set my spidey senses tingling, and I was pretty sure a scroll through the archives would pay off. And boy did it ever: a whole series of gin reviews, paired with books! How perfect!

At the moment, I’m enjoying a bottle of Unruly Gin from the Wayward Distillation House–sent over on my birthday by my oldest brother (thank you, Andrew!)–but once that’s run dry and it’s time to refill the tantalus, I am definitely going to take a close look at DR’s picks. Hopefully some of her UK-based choices will be available in Canada.


Link 10

First off: happy screams that Jane Marie is on The Hairpin! There is a The-Toast-dot-net-sized hole in my heart (that is, a gaping chest wound) since the site shuttered earlier this summer, but The Hairpin has had some good moments lately, and seeing Jane Marie back there is a good one.

Second: I totally scoffed at the concept–after all, I wear a lot of denim–but the sketches and outfits look cute.

Third: but does she only draw thin women?

I’d like to flip through this book once, but don’t feel the need to own it.

You Might Actually Want This Book About How To Wear Jeans (The Hairpin)