Libraries are oh so nice when they have interesting books. I checked out a fifteen-inch stack (last) Monday, and they’re not due till the end of the month! Happy joy.
Currently reading I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe. I’d been intending to buy this ever since seeing Wolfe on the Daily Show several months ago, but the price was just too high for something I would read once and then shelve. Thus, seeing it in the New section at the library was quite a pleasant surprise. Currently on page 188 of 676. If you’ve read any of Wolfe’s other books and disliked them, well, you probably won’t enjoy this. Wolfe’s particular style (gonzo?) is unlike anything I’d read before; whether that’s a good or bad thing is in the eye of the reader. I find that my interest/pleasure in reading it seems to be cyclical, mainly due to the chapters being just a bit too long for my taste. I look forward to the change of scenery accompanying each new chapter. It’s not that I get bored with the chapters, just maybe a little bit tired — Wolfe creates very detailed characters and environments, but change is good too, yeah?
Finished the book on Saturday night. The last few hundred pages read much faster than the first few.
Overall, I’m pretty satisfied; no regrets about reading it, certainly. The ending left a few things to be desired in terms of wrapping all the threads up satisfactorily (I’m looking at you, Cast Away!).
And the stuff in the middle? Hmm. Well, let’s put it this way: I’ve read less explict stuff by Anais Nin. (As the late Mitch Hedberg would no doubt insist I add: that’s not to say that I haven’t read more explict stuff of Nin’s). Wolfe paints a picture of college as being naught but getting drunk and having sex, usually in that order. I do rather like Camille’s colorful turn of phrase to refer to cohabitation: “draining his testicles”, as in “Oh, Charlotte? She’s been draining Hoyt’s testicles for like three months now.”
Another thing that I haven’t quite grokked: why is Charlotte so obsessed with popularity, looking good in front of her female peers? The references to her experiences in high school made me think that she would have continued to shun the popular establishment and do her own thing; instead, she seemed to have felt a profound need to do Hoyt’s thing instead. Why the sudden boy-craziness? Really… boys aren’t “all that;” what’s so special about us as a gender? I think it’s fortunate that females, as a rule, are utterly oblivious of the scope of the imbalance of power in any potentially sexual relationship.
At some undefined point in the future, I’ll try to compile and post a list of the ~2 dozen words in the book that were unfamiliar to me.
Having read the book, I now want to go back and see the Daily Show interview that first piqued my interest.