Shiny Objects

Why yes, I am easily distracted by shiny things and memorabilia.

Why yes, I am easily distracted by shiny things and memorabilia.

I’m going through boxes and files from storage and getting rid of things. Of course, it’s slow going because I’m doing the thing you’re not supposed to do: I’m stopping and looking at each item, note, photo and remembering bygone days. Some bring fond memories, some bring up old wounds.

I found the blonde tail I used to have in college. I cut the tail off and put it in an envelope and apparently saved it. I came across the plethora of cards from my ex-husband and notes from our couples counseling sessions. I found my old high school yearbooks and notes that shatter the illusion of the cool teen I thought I was. I was in the high school musical and on the student council. Nope, definitely not cool. Definitely a nerd. I wrote pathetic lovesick poems and songs about boys I liked. On the plus side, I forgot that I had written song lyrics throughout my junior high and high school years. I also found another poem I apparently wrote in high school. When I read it now, I thought, Wow, this is really good. Who wrote it? Turns out it was me! That’s the best kind of surprise.

So what do you do with your memorabilia? Do you save it or throw it out? I’m throwing most of it out but you can bet I’m keeping that blonde tail.

Oooh look at these shiny objects . . .

I’ve been reading . . . Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.  I finished it, and I loved it! Saunders is a best-selling short story and essay writer, and this book is his first novel. It didn’t disappoint—at least not for me. I can see where the book’s unique format could annoy people. It’s almost written like a play, with lines of dialogue attributed to each character. There is no running narrative text.

I loved the unique format of dialogue between what turns out to be 166 narrators—many minor characters and several main. This dialogue was alternated at times with short clips from historical “news” accounts (most of which were fabricated by Saunders).

The book is based on a seed of historical truth: the death of President Abraham Lincoln’s son Willie, said to be his favorite. The seed is that apparently, at the time, there was news reports that Lincoln returned to Willie’s tomb several times to hold his dead body. Whether that actually happened or not, we don’t know but Saunders takes this bit of trivia and creates a unique and moving story.

The setting of the book is the cemetery and most of the characters are the “semi-spirits” of the dead who don’t actually realize they are dead. I loved most of the spirit characters and the banter between them as they try to figure out what to do but my favorite parts were the scenes between Lincoln and his son. At the heart of this book is the relationship between a father and son as well as a father’s grief over the loss of the son.

I do think some of the banter and dialogue could have been cut—it goes on quite a bit and can get tedious—although the writing is so beautiful, I could deal with it. What also helped is that I listened to the audio book as I read. The audio book is fantastic, and I highly recommend it. Many actors and actresses—as well as Saunders himself and his family and friends—read as the characters. 

My only real quibble with the book is the ending, which I won’t give away. I’ll only say I thought it could’ve ended earlier and that the ending he wrote was unnecessary.

Now that I’m done with Lincoln in the Bardo, I started Arundhati Roy’s new book Ministry of Utmost Happiness. I’m also reading a book of poetry by Kevin Coval A People’s History of Chicago and Every Day Is Election Day by Rebecca Sive.

I’ve been watching . . . Master of None. Finished Season 1 and liked it enough to start Season 2. AND . . . only one month until Game of Thrones!!!!!

I’ve been listening to . . . the La La Land soundtrack. Yep, again.

Have a wonderful weekend!


(Image found here.)

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