Wednesday, September 2, 2009

American Wife

A lot of you have been asking me for a summer book rec. And although I do realize that we have almost hit Labor Day, I would like to share with you the book. The next book you should read and the next book you will tear through. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld.

I will give credit where credit is due-- this was originally my dear friend John's rec to me. John lived in France last year (he now lives downstairs!) and the two of us often exchanged emails stating only what we were reading, watching, and listening to. I suppose we found culture more interesting than our own lives, because we really never felt the need for further updates. I like that about us.

For example. An email set from earlier this year:

movie's i've seen:
mysteries of pittsburgh: WORST movie i've seen this year.
valentino: amazing, you should see it.
hair: awesome. (its from the 70s, really funny)
hook: so into that right now
witches: also really into that (roald dahl)
duplicity: meh.

mysteries of pittsburgh: contrary to the above movie opinon, LOVE the book. which is why the movie is so depressing
the history of love: married to jonathan saffron foer, book is really similar to him.
hugh hefner bio: just ordered it, really excited to get to that one.
never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro: also just orderd it, really excited to start it, it was rec. kinda science fictiony but looks good

really into neko, but that was your rec sooooooo thanks!
love the new pornographers (again, your rec i think, so thanks!)
love that new ingrid michaelson album, esp. 'me and you'. it reminds me of you because it says 'the south of france' in the lyrics.
love the arcade fire song that goes with the Where the Wild Things Are Trailer.
i should probably look into more of their music, huh?

in all reality, i need music recs from YOU because all my stuff is the same right now.
missing you much!

And his reply:

i have decided that i did really like 'rachel getting married'. super depressing but it stays with you for a long while after.
have you seen 'the wackness'? i'm watching it right now...not really feeling it. kinda boring i think...thoughts?

off to paris on tuesday...i want to catch 'wendy and lucy' and perhaps a few other films while i'm there...but 'w and l' is at the top of the list.
other films seen lately...

italiens-loved it
heat-quite good
the dark knight-(again)...brilliant
magnolia-amazing...the acting is supurb

also, i am reading the best book right would love. zoe heller's 'everything you know'.
i loved the book 'mysteries of pitts'. don't really want to see the film. i just finished his novel, 'the amazing adventures of kavalier and clay' and it was AWESOME.

you will love 'never let me go' is one of my favorite novels. i liked 'the history of love' but def not as good as her husband's writing.

i'm obsessed with the new camera obscura album.
really really into old yo la tengo esp albums 'painful' and 'i can hear the heart beating as one'...totally briliant
and i love love love the new/now almost a year old lil wayne good.

So that was a long way of telling you that even if you don't trust my taste, trust John. Or trust Allison, Alison, Katie, Kelly, or Meghan-- all of whom have already taken this rec and will tell you the same thing. The book is worth your time.

Its a novel based on the life of former First Lady Laura Bush that reads like fiction, because, of course, it is... but this doesn't take away the 'OMG' reaction of peeking behind closed doors. Its a free ticket into the life and mind of a woman whose public interaction is no more than a sweet wave, conservative red suit, and an annual Today Show special on the White House Christmas decorations and gingerbread houses.

But we meet young Alice (as she is renamed for the book's sake) and walk with her through a life so ordinary in its inception, aching to understand how this young librarian from the Midwest ended up First Lady. How her dufus of a husband became our President. It is interesting. You'll think so too.

There is a quote in there somewhere that will stop you in your tracks, nothing the writing, not solely the story. Its when Alice reaches the point where she is no longer a 'yogurt and cereal girl'. A perfect description of girls in their mid-twenties who--without knowing it-- are waiting for their lives to begin. Katie read it aloud to me the other night, and we both moaned, knowing how crazy accurate her observation is. Sittenfeld cracks open this fragile stage in life of girls like us--girls who legitimately have no idea where their lives are going-- with grace and confidence and a shuddering sense of truth.

I will stop there, not ruin it for you. Go get this book. Then let me know what else you're reading, watching, listening to.

1 comment:

Mach1 said...

We need to talk about the sex scenes in this book.