I’ve never reviewed non-fiction before, but I’m a huge fan of David Sedaris and have had his work signed by him. He’s probably the only author I’ve ever had sign my books.
While there’s a ton of stuff I still need catching up on, here I am with another edition of Little Reads.
Because I was away for most of April I haven’t had a chance to keep up with this, but now that we’re back I feel like the articles are coming at me at full force. Maybe it’s just me or maybe it’s a really good article-reading month.
Little Reads is a weekly blog post dedicated to short stories or essays I find interesting online. They may be older posts or they may have published recently, but you will always find a link to those posts and my opinions here.
First off, while this isn’t a short story or an essay, I did want to share this amazing obituary written about the late Stephen Hawking. I’m not a physicist or have an interest in learning physics, but I admire this man. Despite the lengths his body endured through his sickness he continued to study and create many new theories. His contributions to science and physics help to bring more answers to what the meaning of the universe is. I even learned a little bit about the Hawking radiation, which is aptly named after him.
Now that he’s even more a part of the fabric of the universe, I read this amazing obituary from the New York Times about what he was able to accomplish in his life with Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s a pretty lengthy article highlighting many accomplishments of his life and some of it was a bit difficult to grasp because of the science, but still I would strongly recommend skimming.
The main thing they talk about here is his work with black holes. According to this and his theory, he believed that black holes not only sucked in a lot of materials, but it also radiated some materials back. I’ve read a lot of Science Fiction to know that a black hole is nothing but destruction. If I’m correct in this (and I’m probably not because I’m not a physicist), Stephen Hawking’s theory means that what we believed to be this swirling death hole not only destroys but creates. I mean, if you’re a scientist, that’s something big right?
The second article I found was this beautiful one written by Esme Weijun Wang and her struggle with her chronic illness. She talks about her fight with Lyme disease and how that’s essentially made her gluten-sensitive. She then goes into discussing the joys of enjoying a bowl of noodles from Taiwan and how that made her feel terrible and the adaptations we all have to make when trying to survive.
I resonate so much with this article. Ever since finding out that I have chronic Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism, I try my best to stay gluten and dairy free. I mean, I do have my weak moments where I get a cheeseburger or whip up a batch of my homemade mac and cheese, but I can never eat gluten and dairy regularly to keep my thyroid and body as healthy as I can.
But there’s so many things I miss from my childhood and a lot of that includes food from Asian countries. While my symptoms when eating these foods aren’t as bad (I get a slight headache), I still feel the sacrifices you have to make in order to stay alive. I have to sacrifice a little bit of my own heritage so that I can continue to maintain my body without ups and downs of thyroid issues.
And it kills me sometimes. I would do anything for a giant bowl of noodles but I also know that I’m better off with some meat, veg, and a bowl of rice.
We all have to make sacrifices and you can meet those sacrifices with a positive attitude and you can have that bowl of noodles. It can taste exactly like home despite the minor changes you had to make.
If you have any little reads to suggest, contact me and let me know! I would love to read your little reads.
Happy Friday everyone!
I’ve decided that I’m going to take my favorite links from the Internet series and turn it into a spotlight on short stories and essays I find. I’ll be featuring one or two articles at the end of the week in a new series I like to call Little Reads.
Today’s article is a little comic I found on Catapult’s page. It’s a beautiful story about a young woman who expresses her love and appreciation for people in the only way she knows how; through cooking food.
This story resonated so much with me both as a food person and because my family was never openly hugging or kissing each other. We were reserved people that really only know how to love by feeding each other. If it’s through a beautifully home-cooked meal or at a restaurant, we are always making sure that the ones we love are fed.
It reminds me of this “thing” that we do. When you love someone, you put a little food on their plate. It could be a piece of chicken or even just a pickle, but the simple act of putting some food on a plate is like saying you love them without the words. You want to see them eat and make sure that they are healthy and fed.
Hope you enjoy this literary snack! Have a great weekend!
If you have any short stories or essays you’d like to see featured, reach out to me at simonelikesbooks [at] gmail dot com.
I went into reading this book without much premise on what it’s about. I received it as a part of my Capsule Books box hoping to read something that will nestle me into my chair and take me on a grand adventure. Instead, I read a collection of short stories that all shared one strange element or another, but ultimately played into the idea of loving someone for who they are. Let’s get right into it.
Here’s some more about the collection
A grief-stricken librarian decides to have sex with every man who enters her library. A half-mad, unbearably beautiful heiress follows a strange man home, seeking total sexual abandon: He only wants to watch game shows. A woman falls in love with a hunchback; when his deformity turns out to be a prosthesis, she leaves him. A wife whose husband has just returned from the war struggles with the heartrending question: Can she still love a man who has no lips?
Aimee Bender’s stories portray a world twisted on its axis, a place of unconvention that resembles nothing so much as real life, in all its grotesque, beautiful glory. From the first line of each tale she lets us know she is telling a story, but the moral is never quite what we expect. Bender’s prose is glorious: musical and colloquial, inimitable and heartrending.
Here are stories of men and women whose lives are shaped–and sometimes twisted–by the power of extraordinary desires, erotic and otherwise. The Girl in the Flammable Skirt is the debut of a major American writer.
The book starts with the story about a woman who’s lover is devolving. You think that this was some sort of Benjamin Button thing, but what you’re seeing is a man who is now an ape and progressing back towards that single-celled organism everyone says we’re evolved from. While you’re reading this woman trying to cope with a man who is an ape, you also hear about her struggle to love someone like this. What do you do when something unfortunate happens to your lover? I’m pretty sure you would understand the character’s POV in this case.
This is what you come across while reading The Girl in the Flammable Skirt; stories that don’t quite make sense but deep down you understand where the characters are coming from. It was like reading Murakami with a little performance by Miranda July with the voice of Ernest Hemingway.
And this is the central theme of all the stories you read here. Each one has some quirk about it. It can be about a woman trying to fall back in love with her husband after he returns from war without his lips. It could be a story about a man who develops a hole in his torso. It could be the woman who falls in love with a thief and steals a ruby ring that turns the ocean red. These quirks are little, but remind me so strongly of Murakami; the magical realism of something so inane yet so impactful on the characters’ lives. It’s almost inconsequential how it shows up, but it impacts them the most throughout the story.
But overall, I wasn’t that big of a fan of this story. It was fun and interesting to see the different ways these characters confront certain situations, but I kind of shrug my shoulders at this. It was a fun read, but not one of my top favorites and kind of meh. I wish I was so enamored by it, but perhaps I’m the wrong person to read this. I’ve been reading magical realism for a while and this book was written in the 90s probably during a time when this kind of writing was considered more poetic than anything else. Perhaps you’ll like it. I’m not sure, but for me it was okay. Good stories. Good times. Like the roar of a fireplace; warm, relaxing, and ultimately extinguishable.
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Vintage/Anchor Books
- Rating: 3/5 stars
- Buy The Girl With the Flammable Skirt on Amazon
Simone and Her Books is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way affects my opinion of the above book.