Saturday, June 30, 2012

largely unquantifiable in business terms

Baltimore got rocked by a pretty brutal storm last night - to quote a friend of mine, the aftermath looked like "the giant Monty Python foot had stepped on my city." That's pretty much it. My car was thankfully not crushed by falling trees or their limbs, but it is completely blocked in by storm debris and a downed power line. Of course, the last time I saw my car was around 7:45am, so it could have been crushed into a cube by the elements by now.


Which is a long way of saying that I'm in UB's business school lounge charging various appliances and thinking about the books I've read lately: Amberly Hyden's Piano Lessons, Abigail Higgs' Hit the Ground Laughing, and Bil Wright's Sunday You Learn How to Box.


I graduated with Amberly and Abby, who both write memoir, which has always been a hard genre for me to stomach because a lot of it smacks of people trying way too hard to seem cooler and more interesting than they really are. It's like watching a high school sophomore cycle through false personae to try and find a clique that will put up with him/her.

Amberly and Abby, however, are as earnest and unpretentious on the page as they are in real life. Amberly has a knack for observation and a graceful sense of narrative that a lot of fiction writers would envy, and Abby's ability to transfer humor to the page is most admirable. It's hard to write things that make people laugh out loud as they read them, because that kind of laughter is generally a public phenomenon. That Abby can do it so well says more about her gifts as a writer than dissections of craft or whatever the hell actual book reviewers do with their time.


Bil Wright's book, which is about a gay black kid's coming-of-age in the late 1960s, was also an enjoyable read. The tone is way more understated than I expected, and Louis (the protagonist) has a refreshing sense of who he is, even if he doesn't often understand other characters' hostility (and even if, as the New York Times pointed out, "[his] episodic adventures are disjointed and never pick up much momentum"). Boxing doesn't really occupy much of this book, though: an alternate title could have been Holy Shit My Mom Is Insane, because every scene Louis shares with her is equal parts surreal, painful, and darkly funny.


Man, I never know how to end blog posts.

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