Allison’s Post #2 2018
Although I was commissioned to write a reading blog post, I feel like it is appropriate to share with y’all my first finished knit of the year. This is probably the fourth or fifth time I have made this Tincan Knits Antler Hat; this one is in Lorna’s Laces Monsters Yarn in Mouse Grey . I added a pom pom and some length to the ribbing from the original pattern. It was very cozy ,while it was in the teens, here, this past week.
So back to why I am here: this week I am talking about one of my favorite contemporary literary archetypes: the quirky misfit. These characters are always socially inept but often charming as they try to fit into a world that they do not understand. Don Tillman, the protagonist of Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project, is the first that comes to mind when I am thinking about this category of fiction. If you have not read this charming little book I highly recommend it. Don is a professor in Australia who has decided that he has reached the point in his life where he needs a wife. So, as a scientist, he embarks on a project to find the “perfect” woman. Of course, he meets his opposite in bartender, Rosie, and hilarity ensues.
This past summer I read Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler, a modern retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. This book takes place in Baltimore and also follows an academic family and their “spinster” daughter, Kate. Kate is a rebel who had a promising scientific career but quit school before she completed her degree and now focuses on caring for her mad scientist of a father. When he introduces her to his new lab assistant Pyoder sparks fly, but will it lead to romance? If you have seen any Shakespeare comedy you probably see where this is going. I had a lot of fun reading it after I saw the play at Shakespeare in Park and it was fun to hear about Baltimore landmarks. Baltimore, also known as “Charm City” is a city I have a lot of affection for despite its reputation, it may in fact be the quirky misfit of cities.
My favorite fiction book I read this past year was Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Eleanor’s solitary and routine- filled life changes one day when she and a coworker help an older man who has collapsed on the street. It reminded me a little of A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Bachman because it is a feel-good story but wades into darker territory as we explore Eleanor’s lonely upbringing.
If nonfiction essays are more up your alley I had so much fun reading Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson. Jenny, aka “The Bloggess”, is hilarious as she write essays about how she has learned to live with her sometimes crippling depression. Jenny quotes the Breakfast Club to say “we’re all pretty bizarre, some of us are just better at hiding it”. Another book of essays by an awesomely bizarre writer is We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby. Samantha has been a part-time writer, full time vet tech in Evanston, IL for almost 20 years when she published this book after meeting her wife on the internet and moving to Grand Rapids, MI. I, again, loved to hear about a place that I have lived and I laughed out loud at the airport reading about Samantha’s “application” to The Bachelor. As much as I love to watch The Bachelor, it is not a place for a quirky misfit; although, this season features a girl with a pixie cut (GASP, short hair?!) so maybe there will be space for us there one day. Oh yes, if you haven’t figured it out I have a lot of affection for these characters because, as my mother so lovingly pointed out when I told her about this post, I too am a quirky misfit, but luckily I have always managed to find my place.
- Vinegar Girl and Accidental Tourist are the only books I have read by Anne Tyler. Does anyone have any other recommendations?
- Which city is your favorite for a book setting?
- Are these blog posts too long? Should I try to edit my thoughts for next week?
Books on my shelf:
- Vacationland (John Hodgman)- this book made me laugh out loud reading it at the brewery the other day.
- Lily and the Octopus (Steven Rowley)- I have probably read 10 pages since last week, this book is becoming my nemesis
- We’re Going to Need More Wine (Gabrielle Union)