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Turn of the Screw. Jamie Fraser. David Foster Wallace. Shakespeare. Well-constructed sentences. Leonard Cohen. Captain Wentworth. Neruda. Hemingway. Chapter 21 of Jane Eyre. Clive Staples. Tolkien. Melina Marchetta. Big, fat Russian novels. New words. And honey in my tea.

Currently reading

The Brides of Rollrock Island
Margo Lanagan
The Dream Thieves
Maggie Stiefvater
The New World (Chaos Walking, #0.5)
Patrick Ness


Tampa - Alissa Nutting This is one of those books that's almost impossible to rate. What kind of rating do you give to a book with the most despicable of narrators, most unsettling descriptions of sex, but with the sharpest satirical descriptions, the most darkly humorous observations and a strangely engaging narrative? I was horrified and captivated by Celeste. I mean, read the summary. She's a beautiful 26 year old middle school teacher who systematically, almost psychopathically, sets out to seduce 14 year old boys. She's unapologetic about her proclivities, and it's flat out gross being in her head. But the writing is beyond compelling. I "really like" books that make me think and are crazy well-written, but I don't want to give this one a four star rating and admit I "really liked" a book about pedophilia. Granted, [b:Lolita|7604|Lolita|Vladimir Nabokov|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327871906s/7604.jpg|1268631] is one of my all time favorite books, but it's more about compulsion and obsessive love than about systematic grooming and stalking and sexual fetishizing of a certain type of child. Give Humbert Humbert the personality, wit and satirical worldview of Amy from [b:Gone Girl|8442457|Gone Girl|Gillian Flynn|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1339602131s/8442457.jpg|13306276] and you have Celeste Price. She's diabolical, disgusting and kind of completely intriguing. This book gets you directly into the head of a sexual predator, which I can't imagine anyone WANTING to be. She holds nothing back: not her darkest fantasies, not her most debauched hobbies, not her deepest compulsions. If you don't find the book offensive, then you are either not being honest, or not quite right in the head. I think even the author would say you are meant to be disturbed. I think being horrified by Celeste is a psychological boon. A self-edifying "Hey, I'm so glad I don't think like that." But this book is about things that really happen. Beautiful people often get away with murder (or in this case, sexual battery). Women are sometimes the predator and not the prey. What our society means by consent is murky when it comes to gender and age and reputation and attractiveness. So I'm glad I read it, though I might wish I could forget it.