Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Square Finds

Hello, readers. Your blogger spent his Sunday walking around the Oxford Square, perusing the shelves of our local booksellers. And he found things, some of them interesting, a few of them he'll share with you here. Pictures included where appropriate.

In the Believer, there is a list of the Fifty Greatest Things That Just Popped into Jack Pendarvis' Head. Included are such things as windows, curtains (because sometimes windows are too good to be true), and also, erm, something else representative and humorous but which I can't think of at the moment. For more of Jack, a person/thing which is great and often pops into my head unannounced in a hilarious manner similar to that of Kramer from Seinfeld, visit here, which is the place where Jack Pendarvis has a blog.

At Square Books, Jr., John Green's Looking for Alaska called out to me, but he will be read later. As well, perhaps, as will something called The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, a series concerning the geography of imaginary places. What truly stuck out to me, though, was the great number of books concerning the awkward and occasionally tragic experiences of attending high school with zombies, or as they're called in Generation Dead, the living impaired, or differently biotic. It seems zombies are not quite the brainless moaners of yesteryear. They listen to music. They ride the bus. They hope you will sit with them in the cafeteria, but they know you won't because they smell funny. In You Are So Undead to Me, they receive counseling from a fifteen-year-old girl named Megan Berry. She's a zombie settler. It's her job to help the recently undead adjust to being no longer dead. Perhaps that all sounds a bit hokey, and rather--excuse the mixed monster punnage--defanging to the zombie mythos, but such premises appeal to me, at least in theory, because of their implicit and empathetic message that monsters are people, too. Frankenstein could have used an understanding listener like Megan. Perhaps he wouldn't have ended up quite so homicidal or alone.

Finally, but not leastly, a book called Born in Flames: Termite Dreams, Dialetical Fairy Tales, and Pop Apocalypses surprised me by existing and the more so by containing many amazingly schizophrenic and insightful rants into pop culture's milieu. Howard Hampton is the author. He's like Quentin Tarantino if Quentin Tarantino went back in time and ate Lester Bangs' brain so as to take his powers of criticism and hyphenation. Topics for Howard include a dissection of the beflanneled songstresses of the "weirdo republic"--Cat Power, Lora Logica, and Enid Coleslaw, plus a wonderfully long-winded and overly hypenated discussion of Lester Bangs himself. As someone once said, "knee-jerk intellectuals may find it easy to lampoon someone who takes pop this seriously, but Hampton is a writer--possibly the only one--who can analyze Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the context of D. H. Lawrence ("American Daemons") and make it work."

Until next time, dear readers, happy Monday, and if you see a zombie, take a moment to not run and really listen to what they're trying to say. If after a few minutes, it seems to only be "Grr...Argh," or the like, and also if they try to bite your shoulder, then probably you should go back to Plan A and start running.

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