Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss and Redemption by Daniel Jones

I’m not sure I’ve ever really talked about this, but  I do the majority of my reading on a Kindle. I’m sure that’s pretty common now, so it’s not something that really needs to be talked about. I’ve always been a reader though, so I do kind of love the feeling of flipping through pages and having an actual book in your hands.

Every so often, I’ll take trips to the bookstore with my family members and search for something new to read. Right before we were issued stay-at-home orders, my mom and I went to Books A Million just on a whim one day. I actually have a really hard time finding books at bookstores because I want to walk through the entire store and check out everything before I make a decision. There was a section for books that have been made into tv shows and movies that I kept coming back to, so eventually I made two purchases there.

Modern Love stuck out to me. I feel like I’ve hinted at this a few times in past posts, but I’ve had this “thing” with a person for almost 3 years now that’s been very hot and cold. I think it’s safe to say it’s over for good now, but it was definitely a roller coaster of emotions for me the last few years.

I’m not going to share all the details here, but what stuck out to me the most about this book was that it was about unconventional love stories. My story with this person didn’t make sense to anyone else that knew the details and it doesn’t have a happy ending, but I felt like (at least on my part) it was real, pure love. Now, enough about me…

I really enjoyed this book. I loved that the stories about the relationships weren’t just couples. I loved how different they all were. The stories made me teary-eyed, they made me laugh, they made me smile. Above everything, I felt like each story touched me in a different way. I felt like each story was important to be reading, even if I couldn’t relate.

I would absolutely recommend this book to everyone. I actually already passed it on to my mom (great thing about having an actual book, right?). Who knows if she’ll actually read it, but I hope she does.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

7fea81d08d1a6e809a22ff05dfeab606One boring, rainy day I was looking for something to watch on Netflix (is this how most stories start these days?) and I came across Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I had never seen an Audrey Hepburn movie and, to be honest, I thought that the movie was literally about having breakfast at a woman named Tiffany’s house. Dumb, I know right?

I was pleasantly surprised by the film and now I would definitely say it’s one of my favorites. I loved everything about the movie, so of course I had to read the book. I had never read anything by Truman Capote before (although In Cold Blood is definitely on my reading wish list) and was really excited to just read his words and see for myself the development of these characters that I loved so much in film.

When I started reading, I could already tell that many changes had been made when the film was produced. Even though the characters were built a little differently in the story and some scenes had been changed I still felt like the story of Holly Golightly and the narrator was there, and I still really enjoyed reading the story.

I do have to say I was a little disappointed by the ending. Of course, I wanted Holly to come back and end up with the narrator but that’s the ending that Hollywood added. Although it was a different ending from the one I wanted I still liked it because it was actually more realistic.

Overall, it was definitely worth the read. I would probably read it again now that I know not to expect the same exact movie version of the story, which is why I usually like to read books before seeing their movies. In this case though, the fact that it was a little different definitely made it more enjoyable to read because I didn’t know what to expect from the story and it gave me another experience with the characters.

“How to Become a Writer” by Lorrie Moore

8220380da98719e4cd14efbc79d6023f

I thought that the instruction was very clear in Moore’s story. It seemed like she was telling you everything you needed to do to become a writer. The story was also very enjoyable for me. I thought that the stories she was writing for her classes seemed like they were sort of funny, and I wanted to read at least one of them to see what it would be like to read something with no plot. It seemed like she was a really good writer, but she did not understand how to put together a story. Her stories were just ideas for stories and could have probably been edited to have a plot, but no one really helped her to actually put a story together. It was sort of ironic that she was writing about how to be a writer and people were constantly telling her that her writing was not worth reading.

I did not find this story depressing, like others in my class did. Even though she was not successful, she was doing something that she wanted to do and worked really hard to be a writer. Plus, if this is something that we are supposed to believe the character is writing, she was able to write something with a plot.

“Letters to Wendy’s” by Joe Wenderoth

015a26377ff6eafcba71ca80ff01e17a

This story/series of letters was extremely disturbing to me. Some in my class found it funny, but I think most felt the same as me. If I worked at Wendy’s and received these letters in a comments box, as I assume they were intended to be written for, I would be so freaked out. This man would probably be banned from Wendy’s forever if this was true.

I feel like the whole point of the letters was to shock whoever reads this. Once again I’m a little concerned about my professor and the stories he decides to assign us.

The writing was good and there was a definite flow, but I could not get over how creepy this guy was. I also kind of wish that he wrote more about his life in the letters. I wanted to know if he was in a relationship that wasn’t working out or if he just had some serious issues he was dealing with. He does discuss that a little bit when he writes about his mother spanking him, but I wanted to know more. The whole thing kind of felt like he was just trying to be weird and write about his strange sexual fantasiesSide note: My ex-boyfriend worked for Wendy’s and I honestly could never eat there again after hearing him talk about it. Never eat the chili.

Before Adrien Grenier Was Famous by Sarah Sweeney

3e60fc4e1080487d9d3d20785fe3b48e

I thought that this story was very interesting. In my class before we read this piece, we talked a little bit about adding fiction to non-fiction. While I was reading this story I wondered how much of it was really true, not only with Adrien Grenier, but also with some of the other men that she and Evie called. The story was still believable enough that I found myself accepting everything as fact by the end.

I liked that this story really showed what the bond was between these two friends and how their relationship dissolved over time when they no longer had that bond. It was an interesting point in the story when the narrator was called out for being deranged and she realized that she was very much deranged. I don’t think that is something that people really think about when they do these types of things. I think they usually just do it for fun or because they got away with doing it the first time

I also liked the way that Sarah Sweeney incorporated dialogue into the story without the full quotes and saying “he said” or “she said.” When writing a non-fiction piece, it would be almost impossible to remember exactly what a conversation was like and this definitely was a successful way to get around having to recall exact conversations.

The Prophet from Jupiter by Tony Earley

earley

This story was very monotonous and had elements of a stream of consciousness that made it sort of hard to follow. The narrator would be talking about the present in one sentence and then go to a memory from the past in the next sentence without any sort of transition. I had to pay closer attention to the little details than I usually do and had to do a little more work on my part to figure out what time frame he was talking about.

Even though it was hard to follow, the story was good. I felt bad for the narrator who had experienced all of this and seemed like he was having trouble accepting all of the things that were going on around him. He was very good at remembering details and conversations that he had with people. I think it would be difficult to have this monotonous stream of consciousness and still produce a story that creates a bit of emotion, but Tony Earley was successful in doing that with me.

Demonology by Rick Moody

c260f1e60123f1475bc17dfc95658746I enjoyed reading this story. From the very beginning it hinted at something possibly happening to the sister. I think the mood and tone of the story really suggested at that.

The way that this story was written was kind of hard to follow. It seemed like it jumped around a little bit and I wasn’t very sure of the time period/frame that things were happening in.

However, the way the narrator was describing the different memories sort of reminded me of how it is to be at a viewing and look at the boards of pictures around the room. Seeing these photographs would bring up all these memories, and if that was what Moody was doing, it was a clever way to hint at a funeral.

I thought that the photographs and describing them were an interesting way to bring more realism to the story. People can relate to seeing photographs of their loved ones and having memories return to them.

The realism element definitely made me feel some shock and emotion when the sister died. If the story had been completely fictionalized, the feeling associated with her death may not have come through as well.

The Jon Lennin Xperience by Rachel B. Glaser

927898d5c14efddcfa6345ed79f4a9b6This story was pretty strange. Everything from his sister virtually dating Kanye to Jason worrying about being able to give Yoko Ono an orgasm was definitely different.

I liked the story and I’ve definitely been caught up in that sort of virtual world where you can basically do anything that you want. I hope that it hasn’t effected my life in the way that these characters have been affected but I guess it could happen.

Something that was pretty interesting was that these games always had an ending that wasn’t necessarily good, but definitely final. Jason’s sister kept having to break up with Kanye and Jason ultimately had to kill John Lennon.

I’m interested to see what my classmates think about this story.

Final thought – Once again the story assigned has a sexual element to it. I’m seriously curious about why my professor assigns so many sexual stories. Does he think they’re easy to relate to? Does he even notice that he’s doing this?

The Healer by Aimee Bender

0048b667c91636db37f3b46faf08022dI’m a Game of Thrones fan, so I couldn’t help myself.

I absolutely loved this story. I guess when I read, I tend to go for supernatural or fantasy elements and this story was right up my alley. I would even go as far to say that I would recommend it to someone.

There’s definitely underlying themes in this story like be thankful for what you have and to be helpful to others, or to not judge people by their cover. But I just really enjoyed the story for what it is.

It’s a pretty interesting concept to come up with and to make into a complex story about feelings and friendship. I loved that the ice girl and the fire girl were able to cancel out each other and be normal, and how after the fire girl sort of left, the ice girl had to leave too. It was sort of like one couldn’t be there without the other.

Man, I feel like I’m fangirling all over this story. I hope that people in my class like it just as much.

Last comment – the mutant girls totally reminded me of X Men. I wonder if there was any sort of inspiration from that.

Sea Oak by George Saunders

95024c7085e97836dcd4090658584936Last Thursday, our reading was the short story “Sea Oak” by George Saunders. My professor let us know that this was the first story we were reading that would stem away from realism and have some supernatural elements, so I was really excited to read this.

First of all, I should probably explain my choice of photo for this post. If anyone has read the story, they know that the narrator works at this weird sex restaurant-type place where the male “waiters” strip as they bring out food. It has a pilot theme apparently. I’m not sure if places like this actually exist, it seems pretty unsanitary. Anyway, all I could think about was Magic Mike and male strippers. It’s relevant, I promise.

This story was pretty interesting overall. Without spoiling it, the whole twist was pretty shocking and I’m not sure that it was completely believable for her to act that way after dying. However, it did give the family the push they needed to improve their lives and they probably would not have done that if all of this didn’t happen. I also thought it was pretty gruesome and awesome that she continued to decay after coming back.

It’s definitely something that I would be interesting in hearing how George Saunders came up with the idea and what it was like writing scenes like that. Something about the craft of writing is so interesting to me and I guess that’s why I take so many creative writing classes even though I’m a journalism major. I guess that’s a lot of writing too.

The only thing that sort of bothered me about this story was that the sentences were sort of difficult to read until I got used to them and the dialogue seemed sort of unrealistic. But, the whole thing I think is supposed to be sort of a parody, so I guess it makes sense then.