Newsday Tuesday:

Before we start this news segment, I would like to interrupt your regularly scheduled programming with a review.   Like most presidential speeches, weather men, Mother Nature, amber alerts…I may be a little annoying in the middle of your show, but still important.

In the Bedroom - Andre Dubus

I’ve sent my body into super speed (see: Sonic the Hedgehog) these past ten days with both reading and running, since the two do go so well together.   And somehow, I’ve managed to finish nine books in nine days.   Don’t ask me how I did this, maybe it was by having two single digit paged books in my pile to read, or maybe my two jobs 10 to 8 everyday aren’t filling enough of my time, (humble brag), but either way I have literally become the superwoman I spoke of in my earlier blog (see: Captain Planet with Boobs and a little Magic School Bus teacher on the side).   Literally, every book I’ve read this year so far has been amazing, with Shelter by Jayne Anne Phillips being my least favorite because the language was too dense for me to really absorb it through my pores and ride the words to the last period.   However, the last book I finished was titled In The Bedroom by Andre Dubus (Yes, one of the stories in the collection has been turned into a movie with that title) and I want to write quickly about how much I recommend this read.

Funnily enough, I had already read two of these stories.  It took me about halfway through, but after I recognized and made a few connections, I realized I had read both of them in a fiction writing class.  The problem I have with this was that I didn’t really love them then.  I kind of understood the merit and the reasons behind Norton anthologizing each story and I vaguely remember plot summary, but mostly I was rushing through the book because it was “educational” and not “lyrical” or “relaxing.”  What I’m trying to say is that I had to read it for class and when you read something for class you either find it underwhelming, or you completely overanalyze it to the point that it’s no longer wonderful, and becomes a dud.

Andre Dubus is amazing (there’s that word again Jen).  He’s the Joseph Millar of fiction writing.  Raymond Carver and Andre Dubus should have been bearded best buddies and spent their lives boozing and letting their mouths round with words.  They are men of the same jeans (and I mean jeans as in raggedy blue denim).  They are working men, or so I’ve led myself to believe from reading a lot of their stories.  Dubus resembled Santa Clause late in his life and I think Raymond Carver could have written a story where Mrs. Clause left him if they would have only found each other in their lifetimes.  What I really want to talk about (when I talk about love – I couldn’t resist the Carver wittiness) is how alive I was in these stories.  Everyone wants, and loves a book where they become a character in the bar drinking a Bloody Mary, or a White Russian, watching the characters talk to one another, maybe their palms sweating on the bar.  Or maybe, you imagine yourself as the family of the boy killed in “A Father’s Story” and yet, as a girl, I personally understood the story in a whole new light because I think my father would do that for me.  (And yet, he wouldn’t do that for my brother.  It’s the daughters you have to worry about, it’s the daughters that call for sawed off shotguns in the South).

Let’s be honest for a second, I bought this book because the title was In the Bedroom and I thought it would be raunchy literary.  As in, still anthologized, still accepted by writing scholars and critics, but sexy, sensual, under the sweet sheets (and cheeks) of a queen bed.  In the corner of a room, next to the wall, with dirty sheets, or a clean comforter.  Wherever Dubus placed me, I was hoping I’d be with lovers.  (Is that creepy)?  No one ever really thinks out loud about the books they choose unless they use the excuse, “it had a wonderful cover” which is rarely the case of why people purchase certain books (in my opinion).   And yet, while I was always in, and around the bedroom (going to bed, avoiding the bed, rolling over, dreaming, reading, petting), I wasn’t always comfortable there.  I wasn’t in love, or I was waiting for something that wouldn’t come, or I went to bed angry (as a reading character I mean…maybe I’m taking this metaphor too far).  Sometimes, at my worst, I was alone.

And this is what a good book should make you do: read with them.  You’re them, you’re there, you’re in the reality episode that is a short story.  Instead of watching Jersey Shore, or Road Rules v Real World Challenge, or *dare I say it* The Bachelor, read an episode of entertainment.  Andre Dubus and his characters both in and out of bed will be much more lively than Snooki and her vagina, I guarantee it.  That’s all I really wanted to say, was to read this book, I just said it long-windedly.  My eyes are getting tired just looking at this typing so I’m going to head onwards to the news and let you have your time back.

Here are any links I’ve found of Andre Dubus stories – in case you didn’t believe my opinion and needed a taste before swallowing.

Newsday Tuesday:

  • Elton John will pen a book about AIDs.  This makes me happy.
  • Pastor writes book about sex, reviewers don’t know how to feel.  What are they supposed to say?  That’s an intimate life situation and it would be weird for me to pen a book with my wife about our intimate life IN THE BEDROOM (Couldn’t stop myself).  But seriously, isn’t this a bit over the top….the Pope would not agree.
  • This happened in the State I grew up in and although I had nothing to do with it, and neither did any of my family line, I’m still completely disappointed.  Forced sterilization … and I’m sure it still happens today.
  • Books prevail.  People who ban books (especially Sherman Alexie & Judy Blume) make me want to throw small animals across rooms, and time zones.
  • Homeless student nabs book deals.  From car seats to …. I can’t even think of a rhyme.  If anyone does, I’ll give three, exactly three, pats on the back.  Also, from tunnels to….
  • I am SERIOUSLY begging anyone in the UK to send me a letter with Roald Dahl stamps…or to just send me some Roald Dahl stamps.  The BFG is my favorite children’s book of all time.  Please, please, please, please.  There’s a collectors set with The BFG because it turns 30 years old this year.  I’m …. I …. will like implode if someone sends me these.  I will love you forever. (Email me, or tweet message me if you can do this for me).  (Update: Don’t worry I already bought both the stamps, and mini-cards).

Roald Dahl Stamps (only in UK) Please send.

And that’s it for my sharing this week.  Now, I’m going to bed.  I played exactly two card games and one charades game with my teens this afternoon, finished writing a stellar grant for the non-profit org, did a wii ten-minute ab workout and ran two miles so I’m ready for bed…in the bedroom.  (ZING)!


18 responses to “Newsday Tuesday:

  • Leah

    Those stamps are so awesome! Going back to Andre Dubus — I love his writing and am even more in love with his son’s writing. Did you read Townie (his memoir)? It was fascinating! And you learn so much about father and son.

  • Jen Thompson

    OMG Cassie!!! First off let me just say how super awesome (more new words yey) it is of you to mention me in your blog. I’m so flattered.
    Next off… 9 books in 9 days plus with all of that other stuff going on, you must actually have some kind of super power, i’m struggling to get through one a week. I’m slightley jealous haha…
    You write a mean review and I shall be checking ‘In the Bedroom’ out for sure.
    And finally I just wanted to say how much I love Newsday Tuesday and how glad I am that I’ve found it. I must walk around with my eyes and ears closed because the things you mention I don’t even know about until I read them here. So thankyouuu :)

    P.S. I have to get some of those stamps!!!

    • Cassie

      Jen – haha, of course! I hope a lot of people click to you, and find you blog. I couldn’t resist after I said amazing about four-thousand times and we were talking about it. Super Awesome is such a great one, makes me feel like a cheerleader on top of a pyramid.

      Thanks for your kind words on my review – do read it, it was really wonderful. Newsday Tuesday is the same way for me actually. I hear none of this really, and then when I’m googling and finding, I find out all of these important things that I feel I need to share. Really, it’s my mom who told me to keep it on my blog even though no one really seemed to care. It’s always the mom, sheesh.

      I got some of them – I’m sure I’ll take a picture when they come in the mail, but I couldn’t resist. I still have my copy of The BFG and it is torn, bitten, smudged, written in (in my fifth grade handwriting), stickered, folded, I mean…anything I could do to crush it’s book spine, I pretty much did. And yet, it’s still alive in my hallway book case. Love it!

  • Kevin

    I need to know more about this books with digits in the single pages.

    I’ve wanted to read In the Bedroom, but since the movie is one of the most depressing films I’ve ever seen, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to handle the stories.

    • Cassie

      Have you seen…Blue Valentine because I seriously cried for a few days after that movie. And the story that In the Bedroom was made after is titled “Killings.” It’s the first story in the collection, and it is SUPER depressing. BUT, you can only go up from there and they aren’t all that horribly sad. There’s seven stories in “In the Bedroom” and the last one is surprisingly fairytale-ish so I think you can get through it. And thanks for warning me about the movie because I definitely won’t see it now.

      Digits in single pages, two words my friend: Poetry Chapbooks. (Read Dorianne Laux Superman first and then look through people who have won poetry chapbook prizes through poetry competitions like the Whitman and others…small number of pages for people who need to meet goals). Haha

      • Kevin

        You really should watch the movie, though. It’s one of those to watch once, acknowledge its greatness and then vow never to watch again out of fear of entering a crippling depression.

        I love the word “chapbooks.” It makes me think of “We’re just regular chaps enjoying some books.”

      • Cassie

        Hmm…okay….I guess I’ll just buck-up and try it. I google imaged it just now and was like…oh God, no. But we’ll see.

        I feel like I need to smoke a pipe and have a mustache just to respond to your “chapbooks” comment. : )

  • Bea

    What would I do without Newsday Tuesday? Thanks to you, I catch up on all my “word” news, whether written, libraries, or on the tube. I hadn’t heard about the library situation, or the Roald Dahl stamps. I just know that you will love having those. But, will you use them on actual mail? Interesting…
    Anyway, thanks for my update, keep it coming.

  • Let's CUT the Crap!

    NINE books in NINE days? How is that possible? I can’t even think that fast but hey, more power to you. The only book I’ve read by Andre Dubus is House of Sand and Fog.

    I’m glad I found your blog. Mighty interesting.

    • Cassie

      I didn’t either….I think I’m going insane. Believe me, its a first … That speed. And thank you for finding me! I’m glad I can read and hear from you.

      Do you recommend the Dubus book you mention?

  • lapetiteveg

    Cassie, I LOVE the way you write! I think it’s quite similar to the way my mind works, but I just have a much harder time encapsulating my mental processes with words. I have ambitions to be more of a reader, so while I’m currently reading me some F. Scott right now, I’m making mental notes of all the other things you recommend! I never know what books to read next and so always choose the classics, but your blog is a great source of book input! (and just general laughs.) good luck with the running, it sounds like you’re rockin it!

    • Cassie

      Aw thank you! I think you do fine, I love reading your blog when it comes to my e-mail. And I love hearing about Paris, and markets, and pizza, and running. It’s all inspiring. You should read F.Scott and Zelda’s letters to one another – they’re brilliant. If you’re loving F.Scott that is. Zelda writes beautifully…honestly, I think he stifled her for her entire life so she couldn’t out-shine or out-write him.

      And thanks for the encouragement with the running!

  • When a Third World Came West

    i am so impressed that you read nine books in one week on top of a job thats from 10-8 and running. i have to do the same!

    • Cassie

      Haha do it! I’m sure you’re awesome.

      • When a Third World Came West

        awww! what’s your favorite out of the nine?

      • Cassie

        In the Bedroom by Andre Dubas is amazing if you like short stories. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a really fun, and thrilling read, plus it’s just damn odd, and Annie Dillard is killer at talking about writing. Plus, Dorianne Laux is one of the best contemporary poets currently. I guess there’s a quick run-down. If you read any, let me know how you love them. :)

      • When a Third World Came West

        oh thank you thank you!

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