all words: Glory Edim
Inspired by our end-of-year laments of not reading enough in 2011, BYT as a collective decided to take things into our own carpel-tunneled-from-too-much-internet hands and start reading more, as a whole. So, every week (and sometimes more than once a week) we commit to reviewing a book we think you’d love. Cool? Cool. Feel free to post reading suggestions for us in the comments.
BOOK TYPE: Off-kilter non-fiction. Think: Zooey Deschanel-ish but more anomalous
YOU MAY ENJOY THIS IF YOU LIKED: No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
It Chooses You feels like a car ride thru Los Angeles with your best friend, in this case, it’s the oddly eccentric yet endearing Miranda July. With each stoplight, she’s pointing at houses and over sharing peculiar gossip. All of the stories involve people who have placed classified ads in the L.A. PennySaver, selling anything from Care Bears to bullfrog tadpoles. The narrative starts with the newly married author, agonizing over the completion of her screenplay. July (like most of us) procrastinates by googling her name and watching videos like THIS.
And then, she discovers a tattered edition of the PennySaver in her mailbox. (Cue: Life-changing moment.) Accompanied by photographer Brigitte Sire, July sets on a mission to interview a handful of sellers and in the process finds herself (and a fitting conclusion for her highly-anticipated film, THE FUTURE).
The book is filled with July-isms and touching observations about how we interact with one another, specifically when removed from the Internet.
“It occurred to me that everyone’s story matters to themselves, so the more I listened, the more she wanted to talk.”
“All I ever really want to know is how other people are making it through life – where do they put their body, hour by hour, and how do they cope inside of it.”
Deep. But with each page, I wondered, “Why didn’t she just use Craigslist?”
Needless to say, that was NOT the point. The book is muddled with bizarre real-life characters, ranging from a transgender who enjoys watching The Price Right to an over-pierced mother selling a Conair hair dryer. Overall, the themes were morality, human connection and everyday compassion via the classifieds. More deepness.
In conclusion, an easy & entertaining read for those amused by awkward avant–garde white women. *Raises hand.
EPILOGUE: This book could be required reading for July’s film, THE FUTURE. Watch it on Netflix, please. An omniscient cat named Paw-Paw narrates it. True Story.
NEXT BOOK I PLAN TO READ: Blue Nights by Joan Didion. Because I’m often publicly happy, I prefer to indulge in sad books in private. Didion always fits the bill.