Friday, June 30, 2006

summer scrapbook

What Margo is drinking:

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Isn't she pretty? Aren't I lucky to have a friend who just happened to be in Europe the week of my birthday? So it's a little bit poisonous, but so is TaB.

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What Margo is reading:
It's summer, so I let myself read some books I'd been snobbishly resisting for a long time:
1. The DaVinci Code. I held out for a really incredibly long time, but when Lisa over at The Great Whatsit wrote about her friends' incredible DaVinci Code miracle I couldn't resist one minute longer. At first I made a stupid, predictable fuss about how bad the writing is, but then I got sucked into the plot and I liked it. I really liked it. I love Marian stuff. I even got out my Big Book of Goddess and remembered when I was an undergrad and thought Joseph Campbell counted as literary theory. That led to my stunningly sophisticated first published article, though one that, surprisingly, didn't make it onto my cv: "Geraldine as Victim of Patriarchal Oppression in Coleridge's 'Christabel.'" Good stuff. And in a great book. You can order it any time you'd like and they'll print up a copy and send it to you.

2. The Secret Language of Bees. Loved it for a few minutes and then hated it. I think I'll teach it in a unit in intro. to women's studies about Mammy figures and how great it is when African Americans take time out from their lives to educate lost and fragile white teenage girls about their true potential. Yeah, I'll pair it with To Kill a Mockingbird and A Member of the Wedding. It'll be swell. Jeezus.

I started The Lovely Bones next and got about ten pages in before I said NO. No. Can't do it. GF says "get past the rape and dismembering and then it's a really nice story about a dead girl." I guess, but I'd been telling myself that once school was out I could read The Magnificent Ambersons, and I really wanted a fun turn-of-the-last-century middlebrow book so I could both read for pleasure and soak in gender ideals of my research period. But now, 2/3rds of the way through, I know exactly how it's going to end (no, really, exactly: I peeked) and I want off this ride. It sucks when the Orson Welles character ruins his mother's life. GF is trying to get me to read what she says is a really fun, pulpy historical romance, The Other Boleyn Girl. We'll see.

What Margo is Watching:

So You Think You Can Dance. Heidi and Benji are both originally from my home ward (Mormon for parish). I haven't seen Benji since he was a toddler, but I loved his grandmother and his mom and his aunt--when I was a kid I thought they were the tannest, most sophisticated women I'd ever met. His mom was my cheerleading coach. Heidi I'd recognize anywhere, since she's looked exactly the same since she was born and a lot like her older brother, who played Patrick to my Auntie Mame in high school. So go Heidi! Go Benji! Go Mary Murphy, the judge whom I find oddly intriguing.

I'm listening to stuff, too: The new Built to Spill, You In Reverse (loved it so much I sent copies to my sisters); Colossal Yes' Acapulco Roughs; The Jessica Fletcher's Whatever Happened to the Jessica Fletchers?; and Plastilina Mosh's Tasty + B-Sides. I wish I had known about this band since '97, when they released their first album. I can't believe how much of my life I've wasted not listening to them. Mexican-jazz-thrasher-new wave-speed music. If you listen to them on the elliptical machine while you watch The Gilmore Girls with the subtitles on, you will have a very nice afternoon.


Anonymous joanna said...

I recognized the mammy significance in the SLB, but I liked the book anyhow. In part, I listened to it rather than read it, and the narrator's voice sounded like a young girl's, accent and all. Do you feel like the African American women are stripped of any personal identity in these works? I haven't read TKAM in a long time, nor have I read MOW, so I'd like to hear more from you on this.

5:26 PM  
Blogger MaggieMay said...

Margo, I am so with you on the DaVinci Code. Hate the writing, but liked the plot and it made me think about the class on gnostic christianity I took as an underegrad.

Question: How does one drink absinthe? I have a bottle, and have been wanting to try it, but doesn't it involve sugar, spoon, something like that?

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Holly said...

But now, 2/3rds of the way through, I know exactly how it's going to end (no, really, exactly: I peeked) and I want off this ride.

I am an inveterate end-peeker. I make no apologies for it. I think it comes partly from studying literature and having conversations about books I haven't read yet: I knew Jane ended up with Rochester long before I read Jane Eyre, and I know Anna Karenina throws herself under a train though I've never finished that one. But I don't think it ruins a book at all to know how it ends: if I find myself getting too caught up in what is going to happen and am thus unable to enjoy the character development or the language, I'll read the end to satisfy my curiosity, so I'm able to focus my attention on the pleasure of each page.

8:32 AM  
Anonymous joanna said...

Holly, I read the end after I've red the first few chapters, and then play a game of trying to figure out how and why the plot finishes as it does. It turns every novel into a mystery novel and keeps me reading.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Margo, darling said...

Joanna, I haven't read TKMB in a long time either, and I don't mean to diss it. I just felt like the protagonist of SLB was totally derivative of this genre of Southern Fiction (member of the wedding is a quick, quick read, as it's a play. But also a good movie, co-starring Ethel Waters as the wise, tough speaking, non-nonsense housekeeper who guides the motherless and confused white child to an understanding of her place in the world. Point in case: Ethel Waters was a talented blues singer and a strong actress, but this was the only role she could play. Damn waste of talent. Somebody famous plays the child--Julie something--but I can't remember exactly who it was.)

How much better would SLB been if it had just been about the sisters. There was so much I wanted to know about them, and so much to say. What really got me was an interview with the author at the back of the book, in one of those reading group guides. She's a rich Southern white woman who grew up with a black nanny and "as I wrote about Rosaleen, I could hear my own nanny's voice in my head. For instance, my nanny used to say . . ."

I find her attitude really offensive. MY NANNY? What was her name? Was she a person with her own life, or just your nanny? And are you a grown woman now, or is she still your nanny?

So that's where I was coming from with that.

Maggie May: I just do one shot of absinthe, one shot of water, served over one or two ice cubes. It's licoricy, like Pernoud, but the after taste is like nothing I've ever tasted before. It's pretty bitter, but interesting. What's really interesting is the way it makes you have a body buzz, as opposed to a head buzz. I have the absinthe spoon, but I don't have sugar cubes, so I haven't done the whole pouring it over the sugar thing (or the setting it on fire thing).

10:49 AM  
Anonymous joanna said...

Oh, Margot! I just spent half an hour writing a thoughtful response to your thoughtful response, and when I tried to post it, it was erased!!!!
Maybe I'll post about it on my blog tomorrow. Right now, I'm peeved.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Margo, darling said...

I hate it when that happens. I'll look for your response on your blog. BTW, I think Julie Harris is the actress in Member of the Wedding.

3:56 PM  

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