CONSUMED: A PARTIAL LIST.
the girls from corona del mar (book). i've been meaning to crack a book by someone my age that takes place where i grew up for years. i've resented maggie shipstead a little for painting the OC broadly in comments, but she isn't really talking about my (middle-middle-class, public-school) orange county. rufi thorpe, on the other hand, is: i know the shabby condo apartments she describes, the planned parenthood in costa mesa. that said, that mia and lorrie ann's afternoons sound like mine with my elementary-school best friend owes more to thorpe's facility with emotional architecture than it does with the fact that i too have admired the koi at fashion island in recent years; her tale of a stone-hearted girl who is terribly fortunate and an angelic girl the vultures of bad luck won't let alone, and how their relationship mutates as their fates develop, hits me where i live. i have some people to call.
glow (book). in thinking about young ned beauman's third novel i'm trying not to focus on the charming inscription (to someone who is not me) in the uk edition of it i found at my bookstore last week or the equally charming way he directs readers to his "new personal" twitter account, with some but admittedly limited success. glow concerns itself with south london, neurochemistry, pirate radio, and foxes, and i will tell joe to read it if he ever finishes kavalier & clay on his terrible daily commute to the bronx (why are you so far away, the bronx? i need that zoo); it feels like contemporary noir, but for the fact that the main female character is three-dimensional and determined (unlike the main character's sidekick's three indistinguishable japanese fashion-student roommates, described only and always as "magnificent," which is funny until it's insulting and, alright, possibly funny again). beauman was the youngest writer included on granta's most recent 'best young british novelists' list, but i don't feel the sort of contempt for him that many friends of mine developed when, say, jonathan safran foer turned his princeton thesis into a novel; this could be because in my mid-thirties i've lost the ability to care about when and how other writers decide to publish things, but i think it's because he sounds like a decent guy.
it follows (film). horror is the capsaicin of the film world, right? those jolts of unpleasantness goad your body into releasing serotonin as a self-soother, and you get a nice flush of feel-good chemicals to congratulate you on simply identifying with a pretty detroit-adjacent teenager who sleeps with a new guy and is consequently terrorized by an invisible-to-everyone-else sex demon instead of actually being one. good on writer-director david robert mitchell for using detroit and its suburbs as a thoughtfully updated version of the landscape john carpenter moved through in halloween instead of two-dimensional ruin porn, and for depicting a group that contracts protectively around an imperiled friend instead of scattering and getting picked off one by one, a la the majority of mainstream horror characters. i also very much appreciated how mitchell flipped the script (several times) on traditional treatments of sexuality; it follows is no mere VD metaphor, but a fine exploration of personal responsibility. it also scared the shit out of me.
imaginary reading group discussion questions
01 have you admired the koi at fashion island?
02 are you able to get rid of books which have been inscribed to you without removing the inscription?
03 would an art project involving books inscribed to strangers be exciting or unsporting? both?
04 who's the best young british novelist?
05 how does one defeat an invisible-to-everyone-else sex demon?
(ghost photograph on our refrigerator inspired by angela deane)