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Original Essays | September 17, 2014

Merritt Tierce: IMG Has My Husband Read It?



My first novel, Love Me Back, was published on September 16. Writing the book took seven years, and along the way three chapters were published in... Continue »

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novacop923 has commented on (13) products.

The Sugar Frosted Nutsack by Mark Leyner
The Sugar Frosted Nutsack

novacop923, April 20, 2012

"--not realizing that his microphone was still on--"

INTRODUCTION

You are about to begin reading a review of Mark Leyner's novel "The Sugar Frosted Nutsack." Relax. Let all your other concerns fade from your mind. Watch them drift into the outer-most recesses of your psyche, where you can objectively view them at a distance, with detached curiousity.

II.

No, wait -- you skipped part "I."

III.

You were always like that in high school, weren't you? You seem the type. Renting "For Whom the Bell Tolls" on VHS, and watching THAT instead of READING Hemingway's original for your assigned book report, and never giving the matter a second thought after you got your "B-" grade on it.

IV.

Well, here's a "second chance" for you: to really DIG IN, and --

V.

Stay with me here, people!

VI.

Okay, so you're drifting -- à la the short-attention span of most of today's youth -- so I'll keep it ...

VII.

... brief, okay, HELLO?

VIII.

It's called: "THE SUGAR FROSTED NUTSACK," okay?

IX.

Yeah, he KNEW what HE WAS DOING, DIDN'T HE, calling it that! (Got your ATTENTION, and all!)

X.

"The Sugar Frosted Nutsack" will get, hold, and do NEW things WITH your "attention": bend it, shape it, do handsprings, stretch it out like rubber (or, at least, like those "Plastic-Man" toys from the '70s), leaving you: more adept, more adroit, and more thoroughgoing a "thinker."

CONCLUSION

BUY it! (It always feels swell to be totin' round a new, of-the-moment, fresh-smelling hardcover novel ... don't it?)
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Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

novacop923, April 20, 2012

(He painted himself into a corner -- don't let him take you with him!)

The broken-up, fractured thinking on "display" here -- though, truthfully and unfortunately, it's rendered as a shared "experience" -- is of the "long form" nature, so it might not be all that easy to discern, at first glance.

BUT: If you look at the title, even, this sort of "self-survey" [written by a MAN, is it not?] is, of course: "self"-DEFEATING . . . since YOU can NEVER be one of those "hideous" men. (Or CAN you? And 'round it goes ... um, see what I mean? Like ... RIGHT AWAY?)

I only read into the first few chunks of "Eternal Joke" [his mammoth, 1100pg.+ "opus" ... wait, did I get the title right?] but, I had to put it down once the "cause" of the tennis player's weird, unrealistic, you - have - to - take - it - on - faith - because - it's - so - "profound" ailment was "revealed" [eating really bad MOLD means a person would be unable to TALK ... kind of? ... for the most part, except in a "weird" way, with squeaks & squeals, like a sea lion? (Beat.) WHAT'S that now?].

PLUS: the whole "Year of the Glad Trash Bag"/"Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment"/etc. device was too labored -- "Oh ... that's like the Chinese 'Year of the Rat,' or something?" -- since that frame of reference is just, say, ONE ITERATION AWAY from being immediate enough to Westerns (i.e., his AUDIENCE -- unless one's in some sort of "appropriate" self-flagellating mode ... I guess ...?).

Similarly here, this book (which I not only read all the way through, but, pre-read, ALSO recommended to the "Book Club" my Team at Westlaw was starting at the time; my Team Coordinator soonafter suggested to me -- after one of my fellow [married, female, 20-something] copyeditors plowed through the thing -- that maybe my "tastes" weren't shared with the rest of the staff) sucks.

"The Depressed Person" story goes 'round & 'round -- clearly in an attempt to "mimic" an actual depressed person's thought processes (duh!) -- but, it completely AVOIDS the fact that, terrible as it may sound that "depression" is a DAMPENER of experience, not REALLY an "experience" in itself.

Skip it.
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HERE'S WORKS BY SOME '90S FICTION WRITERS/ESSAYISTS THAT'LL MAKE YOU WANT TO GO OUT & READ MORE; HOLDS UP ALONGSIDE CINEMA & MUSIC [THE OTHER TWO MOST POPULAR MEDIUMS OF OUR "LORE"]; AND "FITS" WITH THE DECADE'S CULTURE:
[1.] Life After God by Douglas Coupland (1995)
[2.] Letting Loose the Hounds: Stories by Brady Udall (1998)
[3.] The Exes: A Novel by Pagan Kennedy (1999)
[4.] Gun, With Occasional Music: A Novel by Jonathan Lethem (1994)
[5.] Slackjaw: A memoir by Jim Knipfel (1999)
[6.] Sewer, Gas and Electric: The Public Works Trilogy (Public Works Trilogy) by Matt Ruff (1996)
[7.] Mall by Eric Bogosian (2000 -- well, close enough, right?)
[8.] Fight Club: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk (1996)
[9.] American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (1991)
[10.] Et Tu, Babe by Mark Leyner (1993)
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The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century by James Howard Kunstler
The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century

novacop923, April 13, 2012

Think of not as a "book" but, simply, a "source"!,

Like reading Bruce Sterling[*] and Cory Doctorow[**], reading Kunstler one gets the sense that most other "critics" are, sadly, stuck in "first gear"!

Who could've predicted the 2008 economic crash? Um ... anyone who dissected the housing market bubble in 2005, or read a book about someone who did! [HINT HINT!]

Precious-sounding protests to the contrary, human "ingenuity" is NOT what's going to be found to be "lacking" in the times ahead -- but, simply, human "scope" to deal with the very real -- and hardly "scalable" (to use a crucial Kunstler word) -- problems that've been taking root under our feet since, well, before most of us were born!

As Thomas Pynchon says in "Against the Day", "It was the end of something--if not his innocence, at least of his faith that things would always happen gradually enough to afford time to do something about it in."

You've been WARNED, kids! (No hard feelings, or nothin' ... but we're all gonna get to know our "friends & neighbors" real well REAL soon!)
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[*] "Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next 50 Years," say, or "The Hacker Crackdown: Law And Disorder On The Electronic Frontier," or even his novel, "Distraction"
[**] "Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future," say, or "Context: Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting, and Politics in the 21st Century," or even his novel, "Little Brother"
The Hacker Crackdown: Law And Disorder On The Electronic Frontier,
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Skipping Towards Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America by Dan Savage
Skipping Towards Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America

novacop923, April 13, 2012

He has NO CLUE what he's talking about!

But since he's a gay man -- and, by implication, therefore "more sexually active" -- he's somehow more "qualified" to talk about Sexual Relations in an open forum ... which is great for him (sure beats TEMPING to pay the bills!) but not so great for the rest of us (i.e., everyone else living in the wake of the "cultural mores" he's shifted: encouraging cavalierness as a modus operandi).

I say this because:

(1.) I firmly believe it is all but IMPOSSIBLE to give "sex advice" in an open forum; advice about EVERYTHING ELSE, until you get there, sure ... but, sex?

On the one hand, something like a 12-point bulletin should cover the fundamentals, and on the other ... you REALLY DO HAVE TO START FROM SCRATCH EACH AND EVERY TIME!

Hence, his responses tend to fall into two (2) categories: "flippant" (i.e., "How'd that happen? Don't pull that crap with me! Of course YOU KNOW, silly!") and "pro forma" (i.e., "Well ... just SAY SO to the other person! It's easy! Find the time, occasion, way of putting it ... and integrate it into conversation! Q.E.D.! You're done!").

The possibility that he could be stepping all over the rawest of raw nerves is, of course, a CONSTANT possibility, but one he hasn't really had to acknowledge -- since, of course, that would be to admit he's doing a THERAPIST'S work, rather than following in the baloney-&hooey-trails that had been "blazed" for him by Dr. Ruth [wrinkled granny, thus "exempt" from being in the trenches herself] and Xaviera Hollander [a former prostitute & madam, who had "numbed" herself adequately enough to be "qualified"].

Look at any letter he gets -- week in, week out -- and try to identify the point at which: "Okay, you need to go back and address THIS, before you even articulate the rest of the question in a pseudo-anonymous letter to a 'Pop Counselor'" ... I can all-but GUARANTEE you can always find the "better question" point in each ... which is, of course, STILL not to say you'd know what the "solution" (or possible "solutions") would be, now, is it?

(2.) Secondly, the "pot kettle black" phenomenon which can afflict any person burdened with a human psyche (that means YOU and ME, too, kids!) invariably comes into play with his skittishness about exhibiting any enthusiasm for male sex w/women, and ... oh, what's that you say? Making comments about how he "doesn't particularly want to hear about cunnilingus, [he] just would like to know it's being done, like charity work in foreign countries" doesn't APPLY to him, since he's (stridently, publicly, and professionally) gay?

Yeah ... NO KIDDING, right? That's why the "schtick" doesn't ultimately, work; no "straight" guy would ever be "allowed" to make a living (at a nice cushy alternative-weekly office, of course; CERTAINLY NOT "cold-calling" cretins at the only job you can find!) giving "sex counseling" [c'mon, let's call a spade a spade] to "lesbo" gals ... which goes to show, right? [See: the "start completely from scratch" point made above; all ya'all not had the experience of finding it HARDER to just MEET people after graduating college, say? Yeah: welcome to REAL LIFE! Dan's EXEMPT: don't mind HIM, ya'all!]

Thus, his comments about Lynn Shelton's "Humpday" -- indicting "straight" guys for being skittish about being considered "bi" -- aren't just disingenuous or hypocritical, they're holding the rest of society (or, alternately, counter-cultural society) to a standard of "boundary loss" he exempts himself from.

(3.) What "straight" guy wouldn't like to have MORE sex, anyway? [Henry Rollins once made a typically-self-effacing, "grass is always greener" joke in one of monologues about how "if I was gay, I'd be g*****g l**d ALL THE TIME"!]

Of course, being born -- at ALL -- means you get the "problem set" you're born with; gay men may, indeed, be MEN, and therefore more quote-unquote "WILLING" as partners than "straight" guys may find women to be ... but that's not for NO REASON, correct? In FACT: that's for reasons upon reasons, converging & disparate, depending on the circumstance. [Yeah, that tells you a LOT, right? Sorry kids: that's ADULTHOOD!]

As such, the birth of these weird, "permission-giving" concepts such as "GGG" [which is, of course, nothing less than a way of saying: "I'm nice!" and, oddly, seems to mimic the more soul-crushing tendencies of the military, CIA & other such organizations in its transference of accountability into the neat "basket" of an acronym] have served a REAL NEED, alright: "cover" ... but only for those who TAKE it (and, uh, FALSELY, of course!)

IN SUM: Let's face it, everyone ... you can't be DEADLY SERIOUS and "blithe" at the same time! (Sorry, Dan! I know you "knock one out of the park" everytime you "step up at bat," but that's only because there's NO WAY -- given the way your column is "limned" -- that anyone could articulate (or, "pitch") it to you differently! That said, we'll leave aside the WEIRDER "issues" ... your very odd lack of "wariness," for example [having people write to you with the salutation "Hey, f----t!" is SO odd, and I'm sorta surprised nobody complained enough for the first four (4) years you were doing it [or whatever it was] and let it go THAT long ...
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Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow by Zak Smith
Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow

novacop923, April 13, 2012

Unlike J.T. Leroy, THIS is a "hoax," properly speaking!

Sorry to burst everyone's bubble (I haven't seen many reviews with this high an average on Amazon, truth be told), but: there's no evidence whatsoever -- despite the convenient "title" -- that Mr. Smith actually had the attention span to plow through the whole thing.

There's no mention of I.G. Farben (the REAL company which predetermines Lt. Tyrone Slothrop's life), the Hereros (the African tribe -- the "unfinished business" -- who launch the 00001 rocket on the [American] reader's head), or the "Bell" in the mineshaft Slothrop goes down (fictional-IZED, not "fictional," as it turns out) in the "Introduction" Mr. Smith provides; just some ranting & drooling about how "hard" he worked, before milking a contact's ability to get him in the business of starring in pornographic / debasement / defilement films, as result of his newfound "fame."

Truth be told, I can't make heads nor tails of Smith's illegible, inexpressive chicken-scratch; my best guess is, he glanced at EACH PAGE -- one at a time -- and figured he'd get away with professing to show what happens on "Each Page," without any respect to narrative continuity or actual plot events.

If this is true -- and only checking the text of "G's R" against THIS book will suffice, not personal testimonies by the "author" of this claptrap -- Tin House Books needs (at LEAST!) to pull it from it's place on the shelves aside Pynchon's novel(s) in every Barnes & Noble & other indie bookstore in the country.

I mean . . . what's next? "Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of . . " Fight Club and Atonement, too, without reading THOSE, either? Sheesh!
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