fun, own-it, spirit-self

Pen Pals (Cometbus #55)

Pen Pals (Cometbus #55)

author: Aaron Cometbus

name: Steev

average rating: 4.40

book published: 2013

rating: 4

read at: 2013/06/02

date added: 2013/06/02

shelves: fun, own-it, spirit-self

review:
I've been reading Cometbus for, oh, I dunno, about 20 years now. It's a strange feeling to pick it up again. Aaron's writing has always seemed beautiful and so vulnerable and honest, but also flawed, in that it's always so long-winded and a bit overly dramatic. It can be excused somewhat by saying it's poetic, but I don't really like poetry any more. I like stuff that gets to the point and doesn't beat around the bush or communicate in strained riddles. It just seems a little whiny sometimes, a white Berkeley punk kid, complaining about his 'mysterious', tortured heritage growing up in the hippie Eden. Waaaah.

That said, he weaves a fascinating tale that I couldn't easily set down, about an odd childhood friend that he kept in touch with all his life, but he had agreed to keep her out of all of his previous writing until she finally gave him permission - and so then he wrote this issue, almost entirely about her. Pretty touching.

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again:  Essays and Arguments

author: David Foster Wallace

name: Steev

average rating: 4.29

book published: 1996

rating: 5

read at: 2014/07/25

date added: 2014/07/28

shelves: fun, own-it, spirit-self

review:
Like all the DFW works I've read, this is, overall, excellent. Some of the pieces in this collection are better than others, but they're all worth reading. Of course the real standout is the title essay, about his week on a cruise ship, which comes at the end of the book and which is probably the most well-known and talked-about piece of non-fiction Wallace ever wrote, and for good reason. It's pure genius and also pure vulnerable and personal truth-telling, in the Herzogian, ecstatic truth sense of truth-telling - because I don't care if he made up parts of the essay or fudged some facts, as some have attested. The point is that it is a porthole (ahem) into how David Foster Wallace thought and lived, how his brain worked and the intricate inner gears of a very smart but disturbed and depressed writer. Furthermore, it's a valuable commentary on the state of the American psyche and how the American psyche deals with need, desire, luxury, consumerism, and marketing. It was written at, I think, about the same time he was finishing up his masterpiece novel Infinite Jest, which deals in a fanciful, fictional, and more extended way with many of these same issues. In short, they both ask the questions: Is constant, in-the-moment pleasure the pursuit that life is about? And what if we supposedly found that, then what? It's also interesting to see that this essay shows DFW using the phrasal tics like "And so but" and the generous use of footnotes and footnotes-within-footnotes that are so integral to the style and feel of Infinite Jest. He had arrived at a formal structure that fit perfectly the way his chattering grey matter operated.

Other stand-out essays in the volume for me are "Getting Away From Already Being Pretty Much Away From It All," about visiting the Illinois State Fair, and his brilliant examination of a great filmmaker, "David Lynch Keeps His Head."

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again:  Essays and Arguments

author: David Foster Wallace

name: Steev

average rating: 4.29

book published: 1996

rating: 5

read at: 2014/07/25

date added: 2014/07/28

shelves: fun, own-it, spirit-self

review:
Like all the DFW works I've read, this is, overall, excellent. Some of the pieces in this collection are better than others, but they're all worth reading. Of course the real standout is the title essay, about his week on a cruise ship, which comes at the end of the book and which is probably the most well-known and talked-about piece of non-fiction Wallace ever wrote, and for good reason. It's pure genius and also pure vulnerable and personal truth-telling, in the Herzogian, ecstatic truth sense of truth-telling - because I don't care if he made up parts of the essay or fudged some facts, as some have attested. The point is that it is a porthole (ahem) into how David Foster Wallace thought and lived, how his brain worked and the intricate inner gears of a very smart but disturbed and depressed writer. Furthermore, it's a valuable commentary on the state of the American psyche and how the American psyche deals with need, desire, luxury, consumerism, and marketing. It was written at, I think, about the same time he was finishing up his masterpiece novel Infinite Jest, which deals in a fanciful, fictional, and more extended way with many of these same issues. In short, they both ask the questions: Is constant, in-the-moment pleasure the pursuit that life is about? And what if we supposedly found that, then what? It's also interesting to see that this essay shows DFW using the phrasal tics like "And so but" and the generous use of footnotes and footnotes-within-footnotes that are so integral to the style and feel of Infinite Jest. He had arrived at a formal structure that fit perfectly the way his chattering grey matter operated.

Other stand-out essays in the volume for me are "Getting Away From Already Being Pretty Much Away From It All," about visiting the Illinois State Fair, and his brilliant examination of a great filmmaker, "David Lynch Keeps His Head."

Pen Pals (Cometbus #55)

Pen Pals (Cometbus #55)

author: Aaron Cometbus

name: Steev

average rating: 4.38

book published: 2013

rating: 4

read at: 2013/06/02

date added: 2013/06/02

shelves: fun, own-it, spirit-self

review:
I've been reading Cometbus for, oh, I dunno, about 20 years now. It's a strange feeling to pick it up again. Aaron's writing has always seemed beautiful and so vulnerable and honest, but also flawed, in that it's always so long-winded and a bit overly dramatic. It can be excused somewhat by saying it's poetic, but I don't really like poetry any more. I like stuff that gets to the point and doesn't beat around the bush or communicate in strained riddles. It just seems a little whiny sometimes, a white Berkeley punk kid, complaining about his 'mysterious', tortured heritage growing up in the hippie Eden. Waaaah.

That said, he weaves a fascinating tale that I couldn't easily set down, about an odd childhood friend that he kept in touch with all his life, but he had agreed to keep her out of all of his previous writing until she finally gave him permission - and so then he wrote this issue, almost entirely about her. Pretty touching.

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