Thursday, January 05, 2006

On Beauty

Oh, I've got to stop staying up so late. In the morning, when I get up around 5:45 or so, I think "I really need to go to bed by 10 or 10:30." Then that evening, I often don't even pick up my book until 9:30 or so. If I want to get any reading done, I have to stay up til at least 10:30.

Last night, I finished Zadie Smith's latest, On Beauty. I'm pretty impressed/jealous of her talent, this young Brit who has come out of nowhere to write three decent novels that are totally crammed with people and humor and uncomfortable moments.

I may prefer White Teeth at this point, but I'm still digesting On Beauty. I think it was a happy ending, happier than Howard probably should have had. It's also a very visual ending, as though Smith were writing something for the screen: the art history professor used to talking his way through life and art without enjoying it but finally gives some big lecture but choosing, at the last second, at the podium, not to speak at all, but to simply click through his power point presentation, letting the Rembrandt slides speak for themselves. Now that I think about it, it is an improbable end, but still worth a smile. I remember laughing more at White Teeth, I think.

5 comments:

Random1001.5 said...
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Random1001.5 said...

Normally I can't get to sleep either! It is really annoying tossing and turning in bed for hours on end, and you still can't to sleep.

I've never heard of that author, or those books, but currently I'm reading The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury. I’m only on chapter two or three, I believe, but so far it is very unique.

It’s about this man, who has all these tattoos on himself, but unlike normal tattoos they move and display stories, most of the stories are extremely grim. One was where two children live in this “nursery,” but this nursey isn’t like the common nursery that we know of, instead it is more or less like the TV Wall in F451, but more on the lines of Virtual Reality. The “nursery,” was originally intended for learning and happiness, but now it is now a source for the two spoiled kids’ amusement, as they witness people getting eaten by lions in Africa.

These two children are very spoiled, to the point where they do nothing that requires work, even as simple as tying his or her shoes, or brushing his or her teeth. These children are so spoiled that they actually threaten their family in order to get what they want.

All of this sickens the father he wants to turn off the power on all these amenities in his home, even though he has his own problems, like excessive drinking and smoking. Remarkable he does, even against the protests, threats, and crying of the children. I liked it when they described the room as like a machine graveyard and they listed all the broken machines. To the children the “nursery,” replaced their mother and father, and when it was taken away well bad things happened.

Eventually, the power return, and for some flaw in the program of the “nursery,” the two parents get eaten by the lions to the amusement. Even as the Illustrated Man turns in his sleep and another story is told out

Mark said...

I'm in the guidance office second period as you know from me delivering you passes, and we are left in a small room to do whatever we want. When the announcement comes on every day, I usually disregard the pledge and moment of silence - not to be disrespectful, but being free of authority (and because I am still asleep and most of the time don't notice I'm supposed to be standing until half-way through). Plus, we're not provided a flag to honor, just a lousy blackened TV screen. I love our country, but I just don't see the need to do the pledge every morning, considering I haven't done it since about the beginning of 5th or 6th grade. It's caused so much controversy and people would be very angry that I do not give respect to my country, but then there are the people who get mad that everyone says the pledge (especially in school). I just don't really find a need either way, I still respect it the same.

What is the silence for? Who died?

-Mark C.

Mr. Hill said...

I remember totally loving The Illustrated Man, but I can't remember many of the stories now. "The Nursery" came back to me pretty vividly when you described it, though. Good stuff.

Mark, man, that cracks me up. What? You're too good to say the pledge to a darkened television screen? Would it be easier for you if we turned it on "Cribs" or "Laguna Beach"? I bet you'd pledge to that, you ungrateful American.

janette said...

My Language Arts teacher in 8th grade had us read "The Illustrated Man," and I fell in love with it. I made sure to buy the book for my little brother after he went through middle school without reading it. Ray Bradbury rocks.