Closing in the halfway point at 1,177 pages

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It feels like it’s been a little while since I’ve posted. Has it? The time is blurring due to its speed. Anyone else a little tired? I have no excuse with the immaculate weather we’re experiencing in Northern California. Anyway, I have been reading!

One of the books I read totaled at 70 pages, but it feels a little like cheating since it’s an artsy inspirational small book, but whatever, right?!

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Make Trouble by John Waters is a rendering of his speech given at a commencement to undergraduates. His advice is funny and sound– he self deprecates, reflecting on his own career and how his cinematic success has been riddled with judgement from all sides. He tells young graduates to ask questions, and make trouble as the title suggests. This was given to my husband and I as a Christmas gift, which made it feel even better to read. If you ever come across it and have a half an hour, it’s a great little inspirational lift. Can’t use too many of those these days!

And apologies on such a vague review– I do not have the book with me currently, otherwise I might pull a few lines to share–

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I picked up this Vonnegut book I had never seen before about six months ago on an afternoon stroll through downtown Davis. Turns out it was published in 2011 and is a collection of previously unpublished short stories. I don’t read a lot of short story compilations, actually, but this one is just wonderful. The voice of Vonnegut returns!

If you are a Vonnegut fan I would highly recommend grabbing this. I am 184 pages in and am taking a little rest. It is not that his writing is redundant, but thematically there is repetition. In the last 50 pages or so I felt myself rushing, almost predicting what would happen next. So I am going to turn to some other reading this weekend and reset my brain for the last quarter of this wonderful collection.

I will give you a synopsis of one story called “Jenny” which is about traveling salesman (George) who has a robot named Jenny who tours with him. Jenny is very life like and he controls her every move with special equipment tucked into his shoes. There is a scene at a department store where Jenny and George are dancing all over with a full crowd surrounding them cheering. A colleague from the Chicago office is sent on a mission to find him, as his ex-wife wants to see him. She’s dying of cancer. They were married but once he started the traveling sales gig, they split and she quickly married his best friend. It’s clear that this whole Jenny situation is quite strange and more tragic. George does eventually visit his ex-wife, but I’ll leave it there. The story, the first in the series, is so classic Vonnegut sci-fi touching reality. Yum.

I also read the first chapter of Teri’s swap book, The Glass Universe, and am looking forward to getting a little deeper into that before reporting back.

Happy Halfway Point! How is your reading going?

5 comments on “Closing in the halfway point at 1,177 pages”

  1. I haven’t read Make Trouble, but I do love John Waters…as an artist, as a character, and as a creator of characters. Just because it’s small and artsy, doesn’t mean it should be dismissed. 😉

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  2. I’m ready to get back to writing about reading after having spent time with company during the past couple of weeks. I enjoyed having Kurt Vonnegut’s book called to my attention. I think I’ve read him in the New Yorker, but I don’t remember reading any of his books. I don’t often read books of short stories, either, but I’ve done two during this challenge. Sounds like I’d like the stories in ‘While Mortals Sleep.’ We have a “shoes” theme going, don’t we? This is the third time they’ve figured in our books!

    Vonnegut’s shoes reminded me of a story by George Saunders. It was written way before the time of targeted advertising on the internet & now feels prescient. In the world of the story, every citizen was legally required to wear shoes with devices in them that would trigger holograms with personalized advertising messages. I thought it was laughable at the time.

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  3. I love short story collections and Vonnegut! (Possibly because it’s all I feel I like I can commit to right now???) I will keep this one in mind.

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