Fiction: Arcadia, by Lauren Groff

Wow, I am seriously behind on Snip. And to think I’ve actually been keeping GoodReads fairly up to date. As if that’s significantly fewer steps (not really). Well, I won’t have a job again in two weeks so maybe my mission will be to catch you up, dear reader. In any case, on to Arcadia.

Lyrical, beautiful. Completely compelling. I liked Groff’s debut novel a lot, I liked the stories she put out next even more, and I loved this book quite deeply. There’s some seriously gorgeous pieces of writing in it, even in the moments where the story seems to be twisting in on itself. And Bit’s mind just thinks through things in such a wonderfully textured way.


I think I also loved this because this story basically covers my lifetime and there was a real sense of having been in those times at the same time as the character. I mean, that doesn’t even really describe how I felt while I was reading it but that’s about as close as I can come to encapsulating the feeling: I was born in 1968, my parents never became part of a commune but they were quite hippie-esque in some ways, and in 2018, six years from now, I’ll also be 50 and we (as a global society) could very well be facing something similar.

There were so many moments I loved in this book but one from near the end that was especially lovely was when Bit gives his students the “digital free” assignment; Sylvie’s essay is very cool.

Also when the fox and the deer run into each other and Bit’s laughter breaks the bad inside him… So many times Bit has these sensations of breaking through that feel very much like there’s an actual audible breaking even though it’s a mental or emotional state that’s being transformed… Oddly was I was walking home tonight musing on something that’s been upsetting me, I suddenly realized that I was feeling like the witch at the end of Dark Shadows (Johnny Depp/dir. Tim Burton), when she can no longer hide behind the false veneer and her skin begans to crack apart like a porcelain doll; sometimes I feel like this front I’m putting up to get through my days is just teetering right there on the breaking point where the next bad thing that happens may just go POP and half my cheekbone may just fall off as the porcelain “hey I’m cool, everything’s fine” begins to crack away from the dark bitter innards.

That’s more about me and less about this book but Bit is the kind of narrator who’s so deeply into his head that it sends you a bit into yours as well.

Dear Lauren Groff,
I love your writing. A lot.
keep it comin’, more more more!

Dear President Obama,

I’m not sure why you need reminding of this, but hey: DID YOU FORGET YOU RAN AS A DEMOCRAT?

Democrats support unions. Democratic presidents do not sit silently by while Republicans rip apart the lives of public sector employees.

Is it really too much to ask that my President open his mouth and support the causes THAT HE RAN ON? Remember the man who was going to be the Education president? Teachers = public sector employees = UNIONIZED. (At least in most states. Sorry, Georgians.)

Was Candidate Obama not the person who was elected? Because President Obama does not bear much of a resemblance to him. Right now, he appears to be the Republicans’ most powerful secret weapon = presidential silence.

you are losing my support and upsetting me very much,

A Tale of Two Cities

Altering phone service. 65 minutes, seven transfers:

Dear AT&T,
do you have job openings in customer service?
Because the people working there right now? SUCK.
If I did my job that badly, I WOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED A LONG TIME AGO.
I am now being transferred to the SEVENTH person this morning.
You. Suck.

Altering cable service. Two minutes, no transfers:

Dear Comcast,
Your customer service today was EXCELLENT.
Not just in contrast to the suckass service of AT&T but even on its own merits.
In and out in two minutes flat, no transferring me 87 times to other people just as incapable.
Thanks so much and I’m seriously considering transferring anything I do through AT&T to you instead.

Dear Matt White,

When I first got your album, I have to admit, I found it kinda cheesy. Not in a bad way. Just in a “Oh, those are some cheeesy pop songs, dude” way. Do you believe in love at first sight? I think you do! But wow, these songs really grow on a girl. Don’t get me wrong. The cheese factor is still there. But now it’s a cheesy in a “that song really makes me grin” and “awwww” kind of way.

This weekend it was ALL I wanted to listen to. Particularly “Moment of Weakness”. Good on ya!


p.s. Also? it’s surprisingly danceable. I’ve got a whole hallway slip-n-slide routine going to it. Even the somewhat sad “I’ll Be There” has a good background beat.

Dear Owen Gleiberman,

I’m reading your review of “Let the Right One In“, (published in Entertainment Weekly #1018) and wow, I can’t believe how WRONG you got this one. The dude who kills people and drains their blood? He’s neither an actual “serial killer” nor the vampire’s father*. He’s something like her butler, or her servant (or perhaps someone her vampire family entrusted to aid her). He goes out and kills people and drains their blood…TO FEED HER. So she doesn’t go out killing people vampire-style and get caught and say, perhaps, staked in the heart.
I know it was in Swedish, but it wasn’t that hard to understand,
*Certainly no one I saw it with thinks he’s her ‘father’ and most vampires would acknowledge their ‘father’ as being the one who turned them.

Fantasy: The Hob’s Bargain, by Patricia Briggs

Another – typically as you might expect from who the author is – completely entertaining, engrossing fantasy novel.

Dear Ms. Briggs,
Every book of yours I read just breaks my heart a little bit more than the last one. The characters are so enticing; smart and funny and strong and so many other things that you wish people were in your real life. I just want their stories to go on and on and on…
I want to marry Kith, do you know a real him for me?,