Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What Else I Read Whilst Reading "The Invented Part"

Wednesday afternoon (July 26. 2007) I caught the tail end of Chad Post et al on WXXI's Connections There was a discussion on what to read after you've read a terrific book like The Invented Part. Does it spoil you for anything - everything - else? Not for me, but maybe it's time to reread Tristram Shandy. Or maybe I should finally read some Proust or Joyce. Or that Icelandic thing Chad keeps mentioning. Or binge watch Twin Peaks. Or listen to the Kinks. Or just go sit on the dock of the Bay.

When we started the two month read I wondered what I would whilst reading the book, I didn't even think about after. I always read more than one book at a time and I decided I'd just go on as usual. Since I read about sixteen books a month (love retirement) I figured I would probably read around thirty other books during the slow read. I actually read about twenty-three. I also read my usual of amount of online short stories, articles, etc.

Did my reading of the Fresán book influence my other reading? In some cases yes, others not so much. And did my other reading influence my reading of the Fresán book? Maybe, maybe not. I think I'll go back and unread all those books and see if it makes a difference.

So here a list of what I read, with a few notes that may or may not address these questions.

most of these are covered elsewhere on the blog but I wanted to view them altogether
* indicates translated work
RF = Ricardo Fresán
TIP = The Invented Part
Date is date I finished the book, I was usually reading two or three concurrently.

*The Magician of Vienna; Pitol, Sergio: Jun 5
 I think my enjoyment of Pitol's adoration of Chekhov was enhanced because I was reading RF--or maybe I my enjoyment of RF's comments on Chekhov was enhanced because I was reading Pitol.
   I had already started this before starting TIP. This was a slow (2 week) read for me, but I was much slower with the first two volumes of Pitol's "Trilogy of Memory"- Spent 11 months with The Art of Flight and five months with The Journey. The speedier read on this one had nothing to do with TIP, it was just that I was in more familiar territory than I was with the other two. 

Death of an Airman; St. John Sprigg, Christopher: Jun 7
 vintage mystery--love these for interim reads
   
In Their Lives: Great Writers on Great Beatles Songs; Blauner, Andrew (ed.): Jun 9
 I went to a bookstore event for this; came home; picked up FM's book and he was mentioning the Beatles.
 This sort of thing happened a lot, for example:
 My daughter suggested that I look at MST3K Jonah's Kaiju Rap (Every Country has a Monster)  which includes the line "Chupacabra's chewin' up cattle down in Mexico." This was the first I had heard of Chupacaba but, of course, he turned up in TIP a couple of hours later.
 I mentioned RF's comment on Alice Monro getting the Nobel. Assuming TIP was done before the 2016 prize was announced we wondered what RF would have to say about it. After reading the Bob Dylan part of TIP, I still wonder what RF thinks about the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature.
 Today we were having lunch at an outdoor restaurant. A boy, about nine years old, was running down a ramp and across the gravel parking lot and I thought of RF (p. 13 mirrored on p. 540)

*The Reader; Schlink, Bernhard: Jun 12
 One book that informed my reading of this was *In My Brother's Shadow: A Life and Death in the SS by Uwe Timm which I read in 2014.

The Last Boy and Girl in the World; Vivian, Siobhan: Jun 13
 A so-so YA. I would have thought that even if I hadn't been reading a bunch of good books. Be kind--it's a debut work. ARC
   
The Genius of Birds; Ackerman, Jennifer; Jun 13
 Non-fiction ARC

*The Piper by Yoko Tawada (short story); and some poems in Two Lines 23; Evans, C.J. (ed):Jun 16
  I had already read the rest of this issue.
  Two Lines 26 had an excerpt from TIP but I didn't read it. I don't like to read excerpts when I know for sure that I'm going to read the complete work.
 
*Journey by Moonlight; Szerb, Antal: Jun 19
    
In the Heart of the Heart of the Country and Other Stories; Gass, William H.: Jun 20
   
A Gentleman in Moscow; Towles, Amor: Jun 21
 An enjoyable read from my local public library on (shh...) Kindle. Actually I like ebooks if they are fairly straightforward narratives or short stories. Not so much for things I want to deep read. My Deep Vellum Press subscription includes both ebook and paper editions, but I always wait for the paper edition.

*What are the Blind Men Dreaming?; Jaffe, Noemi; Jun 22
  A mother/daughter diary/memoir/essay. The diary part is a translated work.

*The Naked Eye; Tawada, Yōko: Jun 25

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby; Wolas, Cherise: Jun 29
  A book about an author who loses her will to write. Huh? No comparison to TIP. A totally different (and predictable) approach.  ARC

*Killing the Second Dog; Hłasko, Marek: Jul 02

Varieties of Disturbance; Davis, Lydia: Jul 2
 Short stories, flash fiction. Library book

*The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao; Batalha, Martha: Jul 05
  ARC
   
*The Private Lives of Trees; Zambra, Alejandro: Jul 05
   
The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination; Coles, Robert: Jul 06
 Non-fic. published in 1989, a little dated and somewhat elitist. Some good stuff about William Carlos Williams. I think my TIP reading did influence my opinion of this book, making Coles' Harvard students seem naive and not particularly well read. But it was 1989 and Holden Caulfield and all.

The Frangipani Hotel; Kupersmith, Violet: Jul 08
 short stories, think Saki, not RF

Worlds from the Word's End; Walsh, Joanna: Jul 12
 short stories, lots of word play, compare to Lydia Davis

*Elsewhere; Weinberger, Eliot (ed): Jul 14
 14 poems. The brilliant use of language in TIP increased my appreciation of the poetry I read in this book and online. That goes for both translated into English and originally in English poetry.

Last Night at the Lobster; O'Nan, Stewart: Jul 15
 A totally undemanding read which I read because it is set in a neighboring town. I've gotten lost in New Britain, CT more often than anywhere else in the world. I didn't get lost in this book.
   
*Summer Before the Dark; Weidermann, Volker: Jul 15
  Non-fic  Nothing like reading about writers when you're reading about writers. This was a good one to read when I was finishing TIP.

Lunar Follies; Sorrentino, Gilbert: Jul 23, 2017
And this was a perfect final read. It's been sitting on my shelf for ages--maybe it was waiting for me to need something great to read after TIP.  How did I miss Sorrentino? And they say this isn't his best...
 
Final note: Everything informs everything. Everything I've ever read enters everything I'm reading or will be reading. Even the works I barely or can't consciously remember--like the one where the dog dies.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

July (third week) 2017 Reads

Not much to add to the reading log this week. Continued with the slow read of  Rodrigo Fresán's The Invented Part with Chad Post's Two Month Review  by reading  "Meanwhile, Once Again, Beside the Museum Stairway, Under a Big Sky" (The Invented Part, Pages 405-440). Also reading Chad's comments and listening to the podcast about this section. And, as usual, spending a lot of time Googling because Fresán has so many literary and pop culture references. I'm lovin' it.
Next week will be the final section. The next slow read is Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson, translated from the Icelandic by Lytton Smith. My copy arrived in the mail on Monday.

This week...

 “Deal Me In 2017!”
Story:   Collection by Camille Meyer (flash fictions)
There are eight very short, interrelated stories in this collection. They read a bit like primitive attempts to explain how giants came to Earth or, perhaps, little stories made up by an older child trying to entertain a younger sibling. Or maybe those stories that develop from a party game in which one person says the first sentence and then each person in the circle adds to it. The results can be an interesting, but not very cohesive, story.

At Big Bridge, "a webzine of poetry and everything else...."  Fun to explore.



Card: Eight of Clubs from Demon Deck by Ukrainian artist Egor Klyuchnyk. I'm not sure that I'm seeing what was intended here, but this looks a bit like shrubbery and that fits the story because plants play an important part in the giant's adventures.








online...


Cartoons magazine. v.10:pt.2 (1916). Linen Islands Sea by Helena Smith-Dayton 
A light commentary on the dining habits and conversation circa 1916.
Smith-Dayton is particularly amused by the gentlemen.

I found this because of a comment  Katherine Nabity made on my post last week. I had a lot of fun with this and ended up reading more than the article  relevant to Katherine's comment. 

The "Cartoons" of the magazine title is used in the "political cartoon" sense--there are a lot of political articles and a lot of European war news and commentary. This was before the USA entered the war.



An Entire Family Disappears by Gunnhild Øyehaug; Translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson
Another excerpt from the story collection Knots. (I also read one of these last week.)



Three Principles of Architecture as Revealed by Italo Calvino's 'Invisible Cities'  by Osman Bari

These next two pieces discuss  Lima-based architect Karina Puente's  project to illustrate each and every "invisible" city from Italo Calvino's 1972 novel.
Italo Calvino's 'Invisible Cities', Illustrated  by James Taylor-Foster (6 images)
Italo Calvino's 'Invisible Cities', Illustrated (Again)   by AD Editorial Team (16 images)



This Drone Video Captures the Mesmerizing Geometries of The World's Most Vertical City  by AD Editorial Team
Presentation of an eight minute film from architect Mariana Bisti exploring Hong Kong by drone videography. "Not limited to vantage points accessible to humans, the video zooms and pans deliberately over, across and into the city’s enormous residential blocks..."


Seven Questions for Lytton Smith on Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson
Scott Esposito interviews Lytton Smith. Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller is the next book we will be reading for Chad Post's Two Month Review  project.

 from my shelves...



Summer Before the Dark by Volker Weidermann; translated from the German by Carol Brown Janeway.
Stefan Zweig reunites with his estranged friend Joseph Roth in Ostend, Belgium in 1936.  At the time Ostend was a quiet refuge where a group of exiles and soon to be exiles joined together in a fragile social circle. Lots of booze, affairs, and rivalries mixed in with the really serious decisions that they must make about their futures in a crumbling European society.
A must read for anyone interested in Zweig, Roth, or European culture in the interwar years.



Saturday, July 15, 2017

July (second week) 2017 Reads

A lot of short stuff this week. Two short story collections, a poetry anthology, forty-two pages of The Invented Part (Life After People, or Notes for a Brief History of Progressive Rock and Science Fiction, pages 361-404), a short novel, and some online things including the Deal Me In story for the week.

 “Deal Me In 2017!”
The story:
The Gay Old Dog. By Edna Ferber (on Gutenberg in The Best Short Stories of 1917)
This story tells of the ups and downs of Jo Hertz, a successful man in the leather business but in a bind with his family and romantic life. It seems he made a deathbed promise to his mother: he won't marry until his sisters are taken care of. He does meet someone, but she isn't willing to wait for the sisters to find mates. Jo ends up a lonely and resentful loop-hound ("a man who frequents it [the Chicago Loop]  by night in search of amusement and cheer is known, vulgarly, as a loop-hound.") Note: back when this was written "gay" was not synonymous with homosexual.

"He was the kind of man who mixes his own salad dressing. He liked to call for a bowl, some cracked ice, lemon, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, vinegar and oil, and make a rite of it. People at near-by tables would lay down their knives and forks to watch, fascinated. The secret of it seemed to lie in using all the oil in sight and calling for more."


The card: Seven of Diamonds. The "beer card" in bridge and other trick-taking card games. Sorry I didn't know about this tradition back when I played this sort of card game.
Design by Christina Berglund, a graphic designer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
" Seven of Diamonds Brewery is based on the beer card tradition. As the tradition goes, when a player wins the last trick of the hand with this card, his opponent must buy him a beer." 

also online...

Alan Bean Plus Four By Tom Hanks
When I read that actor Tom Hanks has a story collection (Uncommon Type) coming out in October, I found and read this story in the October 27, 2014 New Yorker.
"Astronauts in the Apollo era had spent thousands of hours piloting jet planes and earning engineering degrees. They had to practice escaping from launchpad disasters by sliding down long cables to the safety of thickly padded bunkers. They had to know how slide rules worked. We did none of that, though we did test-fly our booster on the Fourth of July, out of Steve Wong’s huge driveway in Oxnard, hoping that, with all the fireworks, our unmanned first stage would blow through the night sky unnoticed."
What fun! I do want to read the stories in Uncommon Type.

It’s Raining in Love by Gunnhild Øyehaug; Translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson)
On a more serious note, a visit with a terminally ill friend.  From another story collection I want to read: Knots.

Stadium Club by Mark Mulroney
On the art of chasing down baseball player autographs. A great memoir piece in Victory Journal, "a print and digital publication devoted to the intersection of sport and culture. Rather than engage in statistical analysis or partisan squabbling, Victory spotlights the drama of sport and the enduring glory of athletic pursuits the world over."

Another Gutenberg find...

Little Songs of Long Ago   The original tunes harmonized by Alfred Moffat; Illustrated by
H. Willebeek Le Mair; published in 1912.
Words, music, and wonderful illustrations of thirty nursery rhymes. Sound files of the tunes played on the piano are available.



From my Shelves...

The Frangipani Hotel by




Worlds from the Word's End by


And Other Stories Publishing.



Elsewhere  by Eliot Weinberger (Editor)
Fourteen poems (translated into English) by fourteen international poets musing on travel and/or displacement. A perfect anthology for a former ex-pat (ex-ex-pat? re-pat-ex-pat?), displaced Californian (new-New Englander?) like me. First of all: the subject matter interests me


from the library...

Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan
This is not just last night at the Lobster, it's The last night. A few days before Christmas and manager Manny and his crew are serving up the last lunch at a New Britain, Connecticut Red Lobster. The chain has decided the location is not getting enough business. At least they have a little advance warning and manager Manny and four others are getting transferred. Why do the others even bother to show up? Well, Manny holds their final pay checks and there is also some team loyalty (or not). One shows up and leaves after lunch committing some acts of vandalism on his way out. Some lunch customers show up in spite of a snowstorm. Manny copes and even tries some lame attempts to revive a failed romance. A quick read about a bittersweet night.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

July (first week) 2017 Reads

We actually had a couple of really nice weather days--nice enough on Monday to go for a drive to a library we usually don't visit, combined with an outdoor lunch at a favorite seafood place.  And on Wednesday another outdoor lunch at a place closer to home. Then on Friday it poured all day so I got some reading in.

 “Deal Me In 2017!”
The Deal Me In story this week is non-fiction
 Life in the Qandil Mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan by Linda Dorigo
A photo essay on this disputed region. Brief, but informative.


The card I found has nothing to do with the essay.  It's so silly. Yep, it's Freddy Mercury! It's part of Long Live Queen Freddie!.  This series by artist, illustrator/cartoonist, and game designer Chuck Knigge features Freddie as various other famous queens. Knigge has other fan art and some comics on the site. Fun to explore.
 




Elsewhere Online...

The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away, by Bushra al-Fadil; translated from the Arabic by Max Shmookkler. This is the winner of The Caine Prize for African Writing. There are links to both text (pdf) and sound (soundcloud) files of this and the other four shortlisted entries on the Caine Prize Shortlist website.


Home is a Cup of Tea by Candace Rose Rardon
The story of a search for the meaning of home told through words and sketches of habitations and teas. This illustration is from her first stop in England. Her travels also take her to New Zealand, India, Canada, Spain, Guatemala, Norway, and Uruguay where she now lives.






From the Library...

Varieties of Disturbance: stories by













Killing the Second Dog by

The woes of two Polish con men in Tel-Aviv. Their mark is an American tourist. Problems ensue when she turns out to have a bratty son and a (possibly) dangerous brute of an ex-husband.

My copy through New Vessel Press subscription.




 
The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao by






The Private Lives of Trees by Alejandro Zambra; translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell
This short novel (104 pages) takes place in a single night while a Chilean man and his step-daughter wait for the mother to come home. Once the bedtime story is done and the child is asleep the man becomes increasingly anxious about his wife's lateness and begins examining the familial relationships in detail.





Sunday, July 02, 2017

Ridiculously Long List for Library Browsing

Placed on blog for easy (and shared) access when in various venues...I probably won't read most of this...list is subject to frequent revisions.

At D:
   The square of revenge / Aspe,  Pieter      
    Flora : a novel / Godwin, Gail   
    A dual inheritance : a novel /     Hershon, Joanna        

At R/M:
    The accordionist's son / Atxaga, Bernardo     
    Trieste / Drndić, Daša   
    How to build an android : the true story of Philip K. Dick's robotic resurrection / Dufty, David F.    
    Chronicle of a last summer : a novel of Egypt / El Rashidi, Yasmine,       
    A Bintel brief : love and longing in old New York / Finck, Liana  
    Sea room : a novel / Gautreau, Norman G        
    Gutshot : stories / Gray, Amelia         
    Stillwater / Helget, Nicole Lea        
    The line of beauty : a novel /   Hollinghurst, Alan        
    Montecore : the silence of the tiger /    Khemiri, Jonas Hassen        
    American meteor / Lock, Norma         
    Redemption in indigo : a novel / Lord, Karen        
    Loving Donovan : a novel in three stories / McFadden, Bernice L.        
    All that is solid melts into air / McKeon, Darragh          
    The city & the city /    Miéville, China        
    Confessions : a novel /    Minato, Kanae          
    In her absence / AMuñoz Molina, Antonio
   A teaspoon of earth and sea / Nayeri, Dina
   Short stories. Selections. English Nors, Dorthe   
    Boundaries / Nunez, Elizabet.        
    You & me : a novel / Powell, Padgett        
    In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts. English / Ruge, Eugen       
    The Makioka sisters /     Tanizaki, Junʼichirō      
    Naomi /  Tanizaki, Junʼichirō        
    The death of Ivan Ilyich : The Cossacks ; Happy ever after /     Tolstoy, Leo
    The dragon behind the glass : a true story of power, obsession... / Voigt, Emily   (639.3747 VOI) 
    Landfalls / Williams, Naomi J         
    A happy marriage : a novel / Yglesias, Rafael    

At Meri:
    The piano teacher / Jelinek, Elfriede
    Sepharad / Muñoz Molina, Antonio 
    The bridge of beyond. Schwarz-Bart, Simon
    The pinecone : the story of Sarah Losh, forgotten romantic heroine...  (BIO LOSH)

At W:
    The spy's Little Zonbi /  Alpaugh, Cole       
    Camouflage : stories /     Bail, Murray       
    Eucalyptus : a novel /     Bail, Murray        
    Ten white geese : a novel / Bakker, Gerbrand        
    Silent day in Tangier / Tahar Ben Jelloun ; Ben Jelloun, Tahar    
    Horses of god / Binebine, Mahi       
    The collected stories of Lydia Davis /    Davis, Lydia        
    Portrait of the mother as a young woman / Delius, Friedrich Christian       
    The book of memory / Gappah, Petina        
    An elegy for easterly : stories / Gappah, Petina        
    Skookum summer : a novel of the Pacific Northwest / Hart, Jack        
    My lady of the bog / Hayes, Peter         
    At the mouth of the river of bees : stories /Johnson, Kij        
    All the rage : stories / Kennedy, A. L.         
    Sweet nothing : stories / Lange, Richard        
    The boy in his winter : an American novel / Lock, Norman        
    The facades : a novel /    Lundgren, Eric         
    A thousand morons / Monzâo, Quim        
    A book of memories : a novel / Nádas, Péter        
    The end of a family story : a novel / Nádas, Péter        
    Sea room : an island life in the Hebrides / Nicolson, Adam        
    White is for witching / Oyeyemi, Helen        
    The secret history of the Lord of Musashi ; and, Arrowroot /  Tanizaki, Junʼichirō        
    Quicksand /  Tanizaki, Junʼichirō        
    The misfortunates : a novel /    Verhulst, Dimitri        
    Quesadillas : a novel / Villalobos, Juan Pablo        
    Down the rabbit hole / Villalobos, Juan Pablo        
    This Is Not an Accident : Stories and a novella / Wilder, April

Other Libs:
    Granada : a novel / Radwa Ashour     ʻĀshūr, Raḍwá 
    The Transylvanian trilogy : Volume I, book one : They were counted /Bánffy, Miklós 
    The Transylvanian trilogy : Volume II, book two, : They were found wanting ; Book three : They were divided / Bánffy, Miklós  
    The timeless land / Dark, Eleanor   
     Life of a counterfeiter : and other stories / Inoue, Yasushi
    Odessa : genius and death in a city of dreams / King, Charles
    Eléctrico W /Le Tellier, Hervé,
    Bells in winter / Miłosz, Czesław.   (Old/say891.857 MILOSZ))
    The opposing shore  / Gracq, Julien, E.Ly
    A manuscript of ashes / Muñoz Molina, Antonio   
    Happiness, like water : stories /Okparanta, Chinelo   
    Blue : the history of a color / Pastoureau, Michel
    Soundtrack of the revolution : the politics of music in Iran / Seyedsayamdost, Nahid;  Ham/Miller   New Nonfiction 780.955/SEY    
    The sasquatch hunter's almanac : a novel / Shields, Sharma.   
    The whispering muse /     Sjón   
    The moon in its flight / stories by Sorrentino, Gilbert Ham/Ml
    Learning to swim and other stories / Swift, Graham    
    A cat, a man, and two women : stories /    Tanizaki, Junʼichirō      
    Some prefer nettles /Tanizaki, Junʼichirō       
    The key / Tanizaki, Junʼichirō
     Memoirs of a polar bear / Tawada, Yoko Ham/Mil
    Time on my hands / Vasta, Giorgio

Saturday, July 01, 2017

June (fifth week) 2017 Reads

Still reading The Invented Part and I started The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas. Oops...maybe not a good idea to juggle two 500+ page books about writers and the writing process. But they are very different and I'm enjoying them both so I'll see if I can manage, if my wrists hold up.--Actually, it was a good idea. I finished the Wolas book and it was a complementary read (see below).

I also read a great novel by a Japanese author who lives in Europe and writes in both Japanese and German. This book is translated from German and is about a Vietnamese immigrant in France. Just the sort of international work I love.

Not much other reading this week except, of course, the short story challenge...
 “Deal Me In 2017!”

The Story: The Wild Pandas of Chincoteague by Gregory J. Wolos
A man, a boy, and an infant on a wintry vacation to the Outer Banks. They seem well prepared, but things go wrong. There's the odd landlady, the power outage, two dead batteries (car & phone) and the thing in the shed. They are left with stories to tell.

The Card: Two of Clubs: The story had a kind of Charlie Brown quality to it (though its protagonist is a bit more optimistic than Charlie) so I liked this card from a Peanuts deck.
This is how I picture the guy when he gets his phone back and calls his wife to tell her the story.

The story is in Post Road Magazine, an online journal that is new to me. I did a bit of browsing to see what else is there. I read another story -The Room Where Elizabeth Bishop Slept by Paola Peroni. In this one a translator is at a writer's retreat and isn't having a great time of it. I liked this story better than the panda one. (A telephone also has an important role in this story.)

Post Road is a print magazine published twice yearly by POST ROAD, Inc. in partnership with the Boston College Department of English. It features poetry, fiction, nonfiction, short plays and monologues, and visual art. Only a part of its content is available online. I enjoyed browsing the current issue and the archives.

more online...

The Person You Are Trying To Reach Is Not Available by Andrea Chapela; translated from the Spanish by Andrea Chapela
A daughter deals with her mother's illness in a future time when when people can live very long (with replacement parts).

In the 26 June 2017 issue of Samovar "a quarterly magazine of and about translated speculative fiction. We publish fiction and poetry in their original language and in English translation. We showcase the work both of writers and also translators, who we have to thank for opening doors to new worlds.
Our definition of speculative fiction is broad, and includes science fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, and other genres that may not fit neatly into labels. We also publish reviews, essays and interviews."

The American Experience in 737 Novels  Susan Straight discusses and maps her experience reading American regional literature.

from my shelves...

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby  by
Fresán talks a lot about the loneliness of the author, Wolas protagonist just wants to be alone to get on with her writing. Beyond that one can't really compare the two, Fresán is a master, this is Wolas first novel.
Free advance review copy from publisher

The Naked Eye
by Yōko Tawada, translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky
Excellent novel about what is is to be an illegal immigrant. While in East Berlin to present an essay, a North Vietnamese girl is abducted and taken to West Germany. In an attempt to escape she boards what she thinks is a train to Moscow but ends up in Paris. She is befriended by several people and has a rough time since she cannot work or go to school as she has no visa. She becomes fascinated with the films of actress Catherine Deneuve and watches them over and over. She doesn't know French and often doesn't understand the films. Some of the best passages in the book are where she misinterprets the film and relates it to her own life. I loved this book.