Book Reviewlets: Half Life, Shelley Jackson

In the early aughts, a younger, dapperer TfH encountered Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl, one of the best of the first wave of “hypertext”.

E-lit before e-readers, hypertext sought to exploit digital possibility for fictional ends. Armed with the best theories–all the promise of post-structuralism, postmodernism, post-ism–hypertext would would jump-start our glorious future of pure literature unbound from the timeworn conventions of the printed page.

Patchwork Girl, read on a desktop with mouse a-clickin, re-assembled Frankenstein, Mary Shelley biography, queer theory, digital consciousness, and story in a nonlinear mosh pit of images and ideas.

Thing is, Half Life, Jackson’s 2006 novel, does it all better and brighter. In good ol’ print.

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Sometimes We Read Instead of Write

Mini Book Reviewlets, y’all:

Mermaids in Paradise and George Bush, the Dark Horse of Love. Lydia Millet.

I will unapologetically compare these books to Mark Twain. The fully formed narrators who parlay sparkling ironic narration. The satire of US culture. The laughing to keep from crying. Why doesn’t Lydia Millet get more magazine covers? All the magazine covers!

All of them. Continue reading

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Stick With Toilets and Condoms, Bill Gates

Why does a Thinker for Hire waste even a fragment of a second?

A fragment of a second is 3 seconds too long on these cover stories about (I can’t even TYPE the phrase “education reform” without feeling queasy) in national magazines.

But when it’s spread out on the kitchen table, and reading is a temporary but welcome respite from weekday morning chaos, and her eyes must rest somewhere while chewing her sugary cud, where else should a TfH look?

And here’s what those fragments of time taught me: that as bad as I already thought Bill Gates was for education, with his self-made billionaire high school dropout hubris,

IT’S WORSE THAN EVEN I THOUGHT.

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Book Revewlets: The Neapolitan Novels

Looking for a nice beach read? A story about the lives and loves of two best friends, freckled and smartypantsed? Imaginative and precocious? Getting into scrapes?

Getting beaten by their dads, brothers and husbands? Getting raped by their neighbors?

In picturesque postwar Italy?

Nothing like a trilogy about patriarchal brutality and poverty to help a Thinker for Hire unwindulax and enjoy the carcinogenic Denver sunshine.

In earnest. Elena Ferrante’s novels are just what I needed this summer. A beach read for the overhot Rocky Mountains.

 

 

 

 

 

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Disrupt This!

Disruption is popular these days. Maybe you  noticed.

Maybe you heard a corporate type complete a full sentence, with complex clauses and maybe even a metaphor, without uttering the word aloud. But you know she was thinking it.

Even if she says the word without salivating, the way I might say “train station” or “zoology,” even when delight or greed or hubris is not evident on her face or in her voice, you know she’s thinking about disruption as the ticket to her new life as Steve Jobs.

I realize I generalize.

But this is the Internet.

Sometimes a Thinker for Hire needs to make a point.

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