Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Advanced Genius Theory - Jason Hartley

The Advanced Genius Theory by Jason Hartley; Scribner; 2010; 252 pgs;
Non-Fiction/Social/Popular Culture-Humor/Music/Miscellaneous

The Advanced Genius Theory is the product of a Pizza Hut conversation between Jason Hartley and Britt Bergman. The theory becomes a roundabout way to praise and appreciate the culturally famous people of our world who may at one point have been rejected by their fans. It basically comes to the point where the artist hasn't "lost" their talent but instead evolved and change their craft in such a way that we just haven't understood what they did yet.

It combines two thoughts, rejecting the preconceived notions about the life of an artist and embracing the "absurdities of geniuses as a means of expanding our thinking about what is good or valuable." At times the overall understanding of the theory seems to be as contradictory as the term falling gracefully. The general pattern is same: early innovation that is not immediately appreciated, a lengthy fertile period leading to widespread acceptance, and a long fallow period that eventually sullies their reputations and angers their admirers. See Elvis Presley, Steve Martin, James Brown, John Lennon and of course Lou Reed, from whom it all began with.

The language reads with witty, strong, enthusiastic statements that makes the reader want to be a part of the hipster crowd chatter, however it may be a little too extended at times especially for 200 plus pages. The blog and numerous articles in Spin and other such magazines seems to clarify the theory justifiably. Yet maybe its fullness is necessary for those to understand and achieve advancement and not just overt. Overall, the theory is interestingly confusing, to say the least.

Look to the website and read through articles to get a grasp on the theory

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Commencement - J. Courtney Sullivan

Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan; 2009 Vintage Contemporaries; p416; Women's Lit-Fiction

Commencement tells the story of four friendships told from each individual's perspective. The novel follows the lives of Celia, Bree, Sally and April who meet their first year at Smith college, an all women's school, an all to seemingly perfect backdrop to form their lasting bonds. Their first encounters occur like any another freshmen girl; homesick, lonely, and trying to find some normal ground on unfamilar terrain. At first their friendships seem to forms as a means of convenience, someone to walk to class or sit with in the cafeteria as their first appearances could have less in common with one another.

Eventually each girl learns that the others complement her in such a way that they come to find a new understanding of themselves and each other. As in any relationship, the friendships go through some strains; the girls live miles apart, Celia in New York, Bree in San Fransisco, their work and personal lives take tolls on their time, and soon the natural drift begins to take place.

Yet, the girls still and always will, retain the identity of who they were when they are a group, the unique persona that seems to appear only when they are together. Major milestones bring the girls together in times when they are needed the most, making their friendship something to be envied and admired. A shocking event will bring them closer than ever and forever change them.

Sullivan captures the essence of friendship with keen observation, evoking the rich rewards and also the trying time and endurance to face hard times. She does a wonderful job of capturing the true nature of awkward firsts and feelings of expectation and belonging. A quick summer read that will constantly remind you of what you love about your best friends.

Overall thoughts: A great summer read in the veins of The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants, the Jessica Darling series that starts with Sloppy Firsts and others where women are finding who they truly are and what friendship means.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Elliot Allagash - Simon Rich

Elliot Allagash by Simon Rich, 2010 by Random House, Inc.; 224 pgs; Fiction-YA

Elliot Allagash is a rich, corrupt, masterminded schemer who begins his demise on Glendale prep school as a transferred eighth grader. Enter his victim and daresay friend, Seymour Herson, the lowliest of the low, for no particular reason which is probably the worse scenario. The narrator of this smartly written first novel easily plays the pawn in Elliot's game only to be trapped and learn the hard lesson of growing up.

Elliot possesses the underhanded evil that most people secretly wish to obtain. Yet he still possesses the soft belly of a lonely, unsupervised, privileged son that just wants to be loved by his father.

The book is a very quick read in the lines of Juno and Superbad meets Catcher and the Rye, where the unassumingly cool become geek chic, with Rich's intriguing characters whose prose is illusionary enough to picture the snarky smirk on Elliot's face. The two make an interesting pair to say the least, surviving grandiose plotting, lying, cheating, and the average tribulations of being teenagers.

I would say a definite read for those who cheer for the underdog, want an easy, entertaining read, like coming of age stories. The little quirks set it apart from typical high school drama.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The First

It was recently suggested to me that in order to fulfill my current dream of reading books to eek out a living, I should probably start somewhere. How I didn't see that coming, I have no idea. So, in the aftermath of this incredible idea being sunk into my brain, came the product of this blog. I apologize in advance for my rambling but hope that it isn't all trivial and perhaps you might stumble across something that entices you to read it. That is my only hope and probably biggest fear. I plan to read a book and write my reviews on it. Simple enough right? Please feel to give me recommendations especially if there's something you are interested in but don't know if you want to put in the time and effort, I will probably be your guinea pig. I am pretty much open to every genre, trying to be a dabbler in everything, from biographies to fantasy fiction, to young adult and memoirs. I will try to read more current novels which is becoming a very promising and sometimes daunting task of a publishing intern. Being broke is never fun.

My goal for the year is also to get a start on all the greatest books lists one should read before they die, including but not limited to Penguin's top 100 list which is where I will being my journey. Sorry in advance for all the classics that may start to pop up but I feel that in doing this quest it will enlighten my literary cannon and hopefully I digest some thoughtful insights to say while schmoozing. Doubtful, but maybe.