Thursday, October 31, 2013

Elbow Stands and Smack

Follow the author as he goes on a harrowing journey from the US Olympic Training Center to homeless shelters to shooting heroin on the job to being declared dead. This story goes beyond addiction. It is about the fragility and tenacity of the human spirit and how that spirit can redeem each and every one of us by helping to push us through the darkness, whether the darkness is from death, divorce, or the disease of addiction.

Acrobaddict is a story about the close relationship between athletics and drug addiction—how the same energy, obsession, and dedication that can create an Olympic athlete can also create a homeless drug addict.

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (Starred review) After reading former Olympic gymnastics hopeful Putignano's sinister yet intoxicating memoir of addiction, recovery, and more addiction, you wind up feeling like one of his closest friends. The first-time author, who now portrays Crystal Man in Cirque du Soleil's traveling production of Totem, divulges what must be nearly every significant detail of his journey from the basement of his parents' Massachusetts home, where as an 8-year-old he taught himself flips using old couch cushions; to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, where the author's insane quest for perfection exposed his insecurities and triggered his self-loathing; and finally to a seemingly never-ending series of addict escapades throughout his college and post-college years that somehow did not even climax after he was twice declared clinically dead. Putignano's homosexuality plays a crucial role in his story, and it is the one topic here he handles delicately. Elsewhere, his prose is unfiltered: graphic and intimate. Prone to hyperbole to the point of distraction, Putignano nevertheless writes so vividly about his highs that readers practically experience them with him. Similarly, his lows drop them into the private circles of hell on earth he created. A more powerful anti-drug missive would be tough to find.

Joe Putignano in the pages of Instinct.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane's Book

The chilling novel that inspired the iconic film

The neighbors all whisper about the two sisters who live on the hill: It's Blanche Hudson who lives in that house, you know. The Blanche Hudson, who starred in big Hollywood films all those years ago. Such a shame her career ended so early, all because of that accident. They say it was her sister, Jane, who did it—that she crashed the car because she was drunk. They say that's why she looks after Blanche now, because of the guilt. That's what they say, at least.

Nobody remembers that Jane was once a star herself. A fixture of early vaudeville, Baby Jane Hudson performed her song and dance routines for adoring crowds until a move to Hollywood thrust her sister into the spotlight. Even now, years later, Jane dreams of reviving her act. But as the lines begin to blur between fantasy and reality, past resentments become dangerous—and the sisters' long-kept secrets threaten to destroy them.

Now available with three short stories available for the first time in print, including What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte, the basis for the film Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte.

They know you have their book, bitches...read it and give it back.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Whence bloweth these highly selective winds?

On the one hand, it is sad that the book doesn't get a good review. On the other, the review makes me giggle.

Via the NYT

Boyne handles this first part ably enough. He tips his hat to Dickens, patron saint of moral orphans, even offering that early cameo. He draws a picture of Eliza as a young woman without much imagination, forced to use her raisin-sharp wits to carve out a brand-new life in a difficult new place. Unanswered, and intriguing, questions abound. Who are these weird children, anyway? Who is the woman in the yard, the old man by the driveway? Just how tight-lipped can a villager get? Whence bloweth these highly selective winds? How mahoganied and manner-­addled will the dialogue become? How many “answers came there none” and “I daresays” can be endured before we begin to search behind shrubbery and stonewalls for the “Masterpiece Theater” camera crew? Most important, will Eliza be able to unravel the mystery at the heart of Gaudlin Hall before it unravels her?

The scene set, we readers should careen, hairs raised high, through the darkened rooms of Gaudlin Hall. The pages should turn themselves. That they don’t is due not to a lack of ghostly fingers but to a lack of fun, and with it Boyne’s seeming desire to qualify his ghoulish tale every step of the way.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Is it wrong...

...that I find this guy who has chosen to live his life as a merman really hot? I think it's that gay shoulder shrug.

Via BuzzFeed

Now How Accurately Are They Portraying Gay Sex in This Movie?

Via Towleroad

“I don’t think there’s any difference between how one falls in love. People express love differently, person to person, but it’s not gender or sexuality related. The only difference it made was obviously the actual sex scene, of course…”

...I was talked through it by the director. He would be telling me what I would be feeling in each take. Basically, gay sex, especially for the first time, is really f**king painful. And [Krokidas] said that he had never seen that portrayed accurately on film before. He wanted it to look like an authentic loss of virginity. The transformative thing about the role wasn’t playing such a famous character or playing a character that had such a huge influence on society. It was more of trying to find your voice, and finding out who you are. It’s usually an awful and very painful journey, and it has to be—it involves getting heartbroken or failing at something that you want to succeed at. Those are important things to go through, and that was the thing that attracted me to the part.”

Click over for a short starring Radcliffe as well.

2013 National Book Award Finalists

FICTION

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling author of The Namesake comes an extraordinary new novel, set in both India and America, that expands the scope and range of one of our most dazzling storytellers: a tale of two brothers bound by tragedy, a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past, a country torn by revolution, and a love that lasts long past death.

Born just fifteen months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other in the Calcutta neighborhood where they grow up. But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead. It is the 1960s, and Udayan—charismatic and impulsive—finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty; he will give everything, risk all, for what he believes. Subhash, the dutiful son, does not share his brother’s political passion; he leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a quiet, coastal corner of America.

But when Subhash learns what happened to his brother in the lowland outside their family’s home, he goes back to India, hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered family, and to heal the wounds Udayan left behind—including those seared in the heart of his brother’s wife.

Masterly suspenseful, sweeping, piercingly intimate, The Lowland is a work of great beauty and complex emotion; an engrossing family saga and a story steeped in history that spans generations and geographies with seamless authenticity. It is Jhumpa Lahiri at the height of her considerable powers.

Other finalists...

  • Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers, Scribner/Simon & Schuster
  • James McBride, The Good Lord Bird, Riverhead Books/Penguin Group (USA)
  • Thomas Pynchon, Bleeding Edge, The Penguin Press/Penguin Group (USA)
  • George Saunders, Tenth of December, Random House

NONFICTION

From one of our most accomplished and widely admired historians, a revelatory portrait of Benjamin Franklin’s youngest sister and a history of history itself. Like her brother, Jane Franklin was a passionate reader, a gifted writer, and an astonishingly shrewd political commentator. Unlike him, she was a mother of twelve.

Benjamin Franklin, who wrote more letters to his sister than he wrote to anyone else, was the original American self-made man; his sister spent her life caring for her children. They left very different traces behind. Making use of an amazing cache of little-studied material, including documents, objects, and portraits only just discovered, Jill Lepore brings Jane Franklin to life in a way that illuminates not only this one woman but an entire world—a world usually lost to history. Lepore’s life of Jane Franklin, with its strikingly original vantage on her remarkable brother, is at once a wholly different account of the founding of the United States and one of the great untold stories of American history and letters: a life unknown.

Other finalists...

  • Wendy Lower, Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • George Packer, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Alan Taylor, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832, W.W. Norton & Company
  • Lawrence Wright, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief, Alfred A. Knopf/Random House

Visit the National Book Foundation for the finalist in the Poetry and Young People's Literature genres.

Sadly, David Levithan's Two Boys Kissing, which had been nominated in the YA genre, did not make the final list. Booooo.

Um...So Yeah, Zac Efron Naked...

I've lost the...um...potential...what...to typo...sprinkles...

Via E! Online - Click over for trailer to his new movie That Awkward Moment...there's apparently something with strap-ons as well.

Eddie Redmayne Can Stephen Hawking All Over My Face

Eddie Redmayne on the set of Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything via Just Jared

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ernie and One

Friday I learned that someone I cared about in the rooms...I knew him as Greg, though it seems quite a few people called him Ernie...died. Given his behavior over the past month, we're 99.99% sure he died an alcoholic death. Another friend in the rooms said I should get used to this happening - I neither want to nor do I think that will happen.

His obituary is here.

And, now, today, we're all a little gunshy. Another friend was supposed to go with me and another AA to see Gravity this weekend. He did not show. He missed an appointment with a sponsee on Sunday, and today we still haven't heard from him. And I'm a little freaked out.

I do not want to lose anyone else...especially this second person, I'm much closer to him. :(

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Congratulations to Alice Munro, 2013 Nobel Prize

Image via BuzzFeed

The rest via the LA Times:

Alice Munro is the winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in literature. The Canadian author was lauded for being "master of the short story" by Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy.

Munro, 82, is the rare author who has made a career of crafting short fiction instead of novels. "I can't do it yet. And believe me, I'm always trying. Between every book I think, 'Well now, it's time to get down to the serious stuff.' Sometimes I look at novels and see how short people can make them. If I can string a story out to 60 pages ["The Love of a Good Woman," 1998] surely it can't be too hard. It doesn't work," she told the Guardian more than a decade ago.

Munro is the author of 13 short-story collections. Her most recent, "Dear Life," concluded with a section "Finale" that she says is close to her own life. In July, after winning Canada's Trillium Book Award, she announced her retirement from writing.

Also, via The Millions: A Beginner's Guide to Alice Munro

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Reading Beau, though I have a qualifier

This was posted on a friend's Goodreads feed.

My qualifier: there is nothing more exasperating than two people (one of whom isn't a child being read to) sharing a book. One or the other either reads too fast or too slow.

Geeshie Wiley's Last Kind Words Blues

Hey, y'all. I'm reading an essay about pre-WW2 blues, and in reading about this particular song, I decided to see if it was on YouTube. Amazing song!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Is This Photoshopped?

I'm on vacation this week...more so than usual...

I went the above Ricky Martin via Facebook, but I can't imagine that this is a real photograph. Is this photoshopped?