Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What I really want

So for those of you sitting on the edges of your seats wondering if I am buying a Kindle DX, the answer is no. At least not right now. As usual, readers and friends (some of them one and the same) came forward with cogent and sage advice, some of which is summed up here and here. So I'm going to wait. For color. For a lower price. For . . . well, all sorts of things. And maybe in the meantime I'll decide I don't really want one. Of course I do not need one. Maybe there's part of me who wanted to be the kid with the new toy. Just for once. It's been tough watching all my friends with their zoomy new iSomethingOrOthers while I still do not own even a cell phone. And the reactions when I borrow a call phone and have to ask "How do you work this thing??" to place a simple phone call? Disheartening. To say the least.

Here, however, is what I know I really want: Junot Diaz to write something else.

Oscar Wao was the runner-up selection to Netherland at my last book group meeting, and after finishing Netherland and upon the recommendation of a Facebook friend (who says there's no point to getting in touch with people you never spoke to in high school?), I read this. What a kick in the pants. It's sort of an anti-Corrections. What I mean is that the characters in The Corrections rang so true for me that the dialogue sounded like conversations I have had. There is no character in Oscar Wao who bears any resemblance to anyone I have ever encountered, every piece of dialogue astonishing and a surprise, yet I was so drawn in to their stories. My understanding of them was fragmented at best but my experience nonetheless intense. I was up for another helping.

Drown is Diaz's earlier book of short stories, told from the perspective of one of the characters in Oscar Wao. Even better. I'm not the biggest short story reader, often annoyed at the lack of development and closure that can be achieved in such a small dose. Diaz's stories, however, are interconnected and weave what is increasingly an American story, the journey of an immigrant. The stories are brutal, tender, and raw. They leave open many questions, but the questions themselves are part of the story.

So there's my summer reading suggestions. We're on our way to the mountains next week, with half the time camping in Tuolumne Meadows and the other half at Berkeley Tuolumne Camp. Camping is never a great reading time for me: I'm either cooking, cleaning up, or hiking. Not much time spent on the butt. But BTC is another story: Much time spent on the butt while people are paid to cook and entertain kids with endless activities. Even I can relax there, and best with a book in hand and feet in the river.

Since I have not bought a Kindle, I'll be headed to the bookstore in the next few days. Suggestions?


Laura [What I Like] said...

I'm enjoying My Three Fathers by Bill Patten...

HXK said...

I'm reading Julia Child's 'My Life in Paris' which is fun and light. I can not say enough about the Norwegian writer Per Petterson's Out Stealing Horses and In the Wake. His novels are quiet, intense and interior facing. They're literary yet plot driven and unputdownable. Their strong connection to Norwegian nature might resonate for camping reading.

purple pineapple said...

just download the barnes and noble reader device. the download itself is free and the books are pretty inexpensive. then you are reading on a device you already own - it's on my laptop and it's a good time. It will tide you over until the Kindle comes down in price.

Ginny said...

Check out the Nicolson Baker article in The New Yorker on Kindles - very good. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/08/03/090803fa_fact_baker