Summer in May (and Some Book Criticism)

We’ve had a couple of warm sunny days here, finally. Time to try out the terrace and I’m pleased to announce that after the first test run yesterday the terrace proved to be quite awesome. After a long dry run of being stuck with Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union I finished that yesterday and the whole of Miranda July’s short stories (well, at least those that were in No One Belongs Here More Than You.

(Wanna hear my thoughts? Well, first I have no idea why it took me so long to get through The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, or I do, but it has nothing to do with the book, but with everything else, most of all this strange thing they call life and everything that comes with it these days. It has nothing to do with the book, because the book is awesome. I didn’t expect that much, it being a mystery crime story with a very strange title and equally strange cover illustrations. It’s hard to describe the genre though, kinda like a science-fiction alternate universe really sad mystery crime style film noir novel? Kinda like that? See, this is why I dig the fact that I discovered that slipstream exists. (Does TYPU actually fall into the slipstream genre? I have no idea.) Because now, whenever I’m at a loss for words fitting a book into a certain genre I could say ‚It’s slipstream!‘ and to all the ‚Huhs?‘ and confused faces that are sure to follow I could say ‚Look it up‘. Easy. Anyway, I was surprised at how much I loved TYPU, this strange story about a murdercase set in the imaginary Jewish settlement in Sitka, Alaska and everything else in the book.

About Miranda July’s short stories I can say this: I read somewhere that her stories sometimes resembled Fingerübungen – finger practices – , varying from amateurish to really good. Which, yes, is true. But it’s okay. Some of the weaker stories, if you want to call them that, do indeed lack something, but they’re fun and interesting to read anyway. Don’t bother yourself with the question if that was the best story you have ever read. Chances are, it’s not. Could you have done something more worthwhile in the time it took you to read it, like saving kittens? Well, yes, because sure and no, because come on, that was ten minutes of your life. It takes longer to save a kitten. What I want to say is that while I think it’s true that some of the stories weren’t exactly breathtakingly good, they were no waste of time either. And I’m not even so sure that those I liked less are necessarily the same ones that you might not like that much. It might all be a matter of taste after all.)

Anyway, the terrace is at least set up a bit, but it’s not actually worth a picture because it’s so big that the deck chair and tables still look a little lost out there. And hardly any plants either. I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet.