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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What Am I Reading?

Bill Bryson’s The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain is currently on my night table. LOVE Bill Bryson. He’s originally from Iowa but has lived in Britain most of his adult life. Bryson now holds dual citizenship and, with his smooth, pithy wit, is able to crank off on both countries.
America has given us a pretty decent modern world and doesn’t always get enough thanks for that. But for reasons that genuinely escape me, it has also become spectacularly accommodating to stupidity.
And referring to his adopted country:
There are loads of people like us. We are all here because we like it here or are married to Britons or both. If I may say so, you are a little more cosmopolitan, possibly even a little more dynamic and productive, sometimes even more adorable and gorgeous, because we are here with you. If you think the only people you should have in your country are the people you produce yourselves, you are an idiot.
At times there’s a definite Hey-you-kids-get-off-my-lawn tone but he serves up prickly disgruntlement with such jolly style. Plus, being an older babe myself, I can SO understand.
The Dunning-Kruger Effect is essentially being too stupid to appreciate how stupid you are.
I recently finished another in Richard Kadrey’s hardboiled, dystopian L.A. Sandman Slim series, Killing Pretty. In it, demons, devils, gods and angels exist but not how you would ever think they would.

In conversation with a scientist, philosopher, immortal friend and collaborator:
“We learn as much from our failures as our successes.”
“Then I’m a goddamned Rhodes Scholar.”
Dahmer was a drunk with power tools who watched Return of the Jedi one too many times. I know I’ve thought about murder when people won't shut up about Star Wars.
Which brings me to another recent read – Carrie Fisher’s last book, The Princess Diarist. I wanted to be just wild for it, to find every other sentence hilariously inspirational or I-know, I-KNOW just as I remembered Postcards From the Edge.

Her reflections, her drollery seemed muddled though as if she had a a giant mass of thoughts tornado-ing out of her head and onto the page. There were certainly occasional brill, clear flashes and some, now, creepy prescience.
If anyone reads this when I have passed to the big bad beyond I shall be posthumorously embarrassed. I shall spend my entire afterlife blushing.
I call people sometimes hoping not only that they’ll verify the fact that I’m alive but that they’ll also, however indirectly, convince me that being alive is an appropriate state for me to be in. Because sometimes I don’t think it’s such a bright idea. Is it worth the trouble it takes trying to live life so that someday you get something worthwhile out of it, instead of it almost always taking worthwhile things out of you?
I went back and reread Postcards and, actually, found the same mix of brill wit and clouded, clutteredness. That's not how I remembered it at all. In the dimly lit caverns of my mind, it was this tour de force of scalpel-witted verbal gymnastics and juggling. Possibly the more straight ahead movie version has colored my distant vision of it.

So, that's what I've been consuming. What are you reading?

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