Sunday, January 15, 2006


I dislike memes. They lull their takers and readers into a false sense of knowing one another. They're sort of like those peer-building excercises where you're forced to sit with a coworker and ask them questions, like "What's your favorite color?" And yet, I, like everyone else, feel compelled to take them, so hate 'em or love 'em, you will find the occassional meme here.

This one comes courtesy of Kate at The Little Bookroom.

2 names you go by:
1. Kat
2. KP

2 parts of your heritage:
1. Irish
2. English (or so my parents tell me)

2 things that scare you:
1. Walking into a dark room
2. Being followed

2 of your everyday essentials:
1. Reading
2. Laughing

2 things you are wearing right now:
1. Black yoga pants
2. Aqua and yellow double tank top

2 favorite bands or musical artists:
1. Bach
2. Ella Fitzgerald

2 things you want in a real relationship (other than real love) (I copied this one from Kate)
1. Honesty
2. Intellectual stimulation

2 truths:
1. Bill just asked me if I'd like to go get ice cream. I told him no, saying I'm too tired to go.
2. I've felt really fat since I having had mono. I had to be on steroids, so I've gained over 50 pounds. I really would like to have some ice cream right now.

2 physical things that appeal to you (in the opposite sex):
1. Height
2. Nice butt

2 of your favorite hobbies;
1. Reading
2. Crossstich or sewing

2 things you want really badly:
1. To be less stressed about work and the wedding
2. To own a bookstore or work for a publishing house

2 places you want to go on vacation:
1. Italy
2. Greece

2 things you want to do before you die:
1. Be a good Christian
2. Be financially succesful

2 ways that you are stereotypically a chick:
1. I complain about being fat, but then eat things that are bad for me anyway.
2. I love kitties.

2 things you are thinking about now:
1. Maybe I shouldn't be so honest in anwering the questions to this meme.
2. Yum. Ice cream.

2 stores you shop at:
1. Jones New York
2. Any Bookstore that catches my eye

2 people I would like to see take this quiz:
1. You.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Night Train Arrives Late

Nihilism tastes bad to me, and love's topping doesn't make it any sweeter.

Martin Amis' Night Train tracks a heroine, a deep-voiced, incredibly sensitive, female cop, who works around mean, unhappy men. Amis' heroine speaks in first person as she unravels the mystery of the death of one of her sort-of friends. That friend was a beautiful, let me stress that she was breathtakingly beautiful, brilliant, but depressed young woman, who dies by gunshot to the head in the book's opening scenes. She speaks in the second person.

It seems that these two disparate creations are yoked to one another, as the heroine investigates who killed the beauty. Eventually (it's not a huge suprise), you find out that the beauty offed herself. Why? Because the world is such and ugly place, you're better being part of it, even if that means you're an alcoholic cop. Perfection and sophistication can't save you. Even perfection itself is mortal. But, beauty leaves a roadmap for her investigator. Being inexorably tied to the cop, she lays a roadmap leading to her killer: herself.

Why would a brilliant, beautiful woman, with no apparent problems kill herself? This was the toughest part of the story for me to feel comfortable with. She kills herself because she can. She's sad because there isn't anything out there. Her family doesn't provide her comfort and can't sheild her from nothingness, from death itself. The world has nothing to offer her (so she thinks). It holds no secrets, no mystery, no pot 'o gold at the end. She's a physicist for whom there are no mathmatical questions she can't answer. She starts making up the numbers to her experiments, perhaps because everything is too predictable to her. There's simply no point to continuing, since the end is the same. Whether she meets her end 90 years from now, or at the barrel of a gun, "Black holes mean oblivion. Mean death."

Yuck. How sad. The whole book exudes sadness, grief. The only glimmer of hope is that the heroine wrestles with oblivion and wins. It's a small triumph if you ask me, because she takes no happiness in the defeat.

This creates a paradox: the dead girl's love and care which leads her to leave clues for the detective is what saves the detective from devaluing human life. The dead girl kills herself. Amis in the heroines first person, metallic voice says "Suicide is the night train...speeding your way into darkness...this train takes you into the night, and leaves you there" except that isn't what the beauty's death does. It sheds light on everything. It wasn't without purpose, at least to the heroine. And what does the beauty care, she's dead. Her life and her death must have had some purpose, or she would have left clues for the heroine to discover. She knew her death would provide insights into life. Love, something which nihilism says does exist, is what drives her to care.

It's the Neitzche effect on a detective novel. God is dead. Don't think about the afterlife. Think about the now. Be earthly. Be like the heroine. Worship no absolute, enjoy the grit. God, the beauty, perfection, afterlife, it can't save you and it can't offer you anything earthy (EXCEPT HERE IT INSPIRES THE HEROINE TO SAVOR LIFE). Don't look for life's purpose, you wont find one, and, if you do, then you're just lying to yourself, trying to make yourself feel better by clasping tightly to the chimeric rags of a ghost.

I'm not a nihilist if that isn't obvious already. I get it, but I just don't agree, nor do I like it. Nihilism just doesn't sit well with my senses. The book was well-written. I enjoyed it (in a twisted way), but I just don't like the suicide theory that drives this Night Train.

I'm Still Here

I'm reading. I promise. I am, however, in the midst of preparing for multiple trials right now, and that's why I haven't been posting recently. For those of you who have commented on the paucity of my posts, thank you. It makes me feel great to know that someone other than myself gives these a once over. Posts to follow, soon.

Plus, even when I am not posting, I'm still reading yours...keep 'um coming.