Monday, February 20, 2017

American Pastoral by Philip Roth


Warning: I guess you could say this review contains spoilers, but the novel itself starts with a whole chapter of what you could call "spoilers."
Before the review of this book really starts, I want to say that I felt a bit of sympathy for Philip Roth and his obvious itching temptation to italicize at least one word in every sentence he writes. Dear Philip, I also suffer from that malady. I, however, read Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery when I was in Junior High. It's a book about a girl that wants to be a writer and shares her amateur pieces with her rural school teacher, a very passionate and smart but unforgiving man, who mocks the juvenile naïveté of the obsessive italicizer. That is why, from that day on, I have felt a little bit embarrassed every time I give in to the pleasure of italics. Perhaps poor Mr. Roth would've already won the Nobel if he, too, had read Emily Climbs in Junior High.

Now, on to the review. 

I generally feel guilty rating a book that's a renown masterpiece badly due to the fact that it provoked *yawns.* I mean, nobody expects the Odyssey to be lots of fun, and yet we can recognize it has a lot of literary merit, right? However, I tend to be more forgiving of boring books written, you know, two thousand and five hundred years ago*, than of books written only a two decades ago which make their pages feel like groveling through steamy and endless shit.

For one, this book could've done without the endless repetition of the same, exact, thing, over, and, over, and, over, again. I do understand it can be a literary device. I've read my Beckett. But 400 pages of the same, same, same thing? Ain't nobody got time for that. I, at least, sadly a very slow reader and a college student and a person with, you know, a life don't.

And, I'm not from the USA, and have no connection to it, so my reaction to the book's theme/teaching/morale is: Another book on the failure of the American dream? How many of them are there? I read my Gatsby already, I GET IT.

Also, as a Jew, I was frankly disappointed at the lack of true Jewishness (no yiddishemames to be seen) and annoyed by yet another Woody Allen character (Swede's dad), created to annoy the fuck out of all mankind. (I swear, 99% of Jews aren't like Woody Allen. At least not the ones I know.) And, as a socialist, I feel that Merry and her kind were unfairly one-dimensional. (This I say because I was once, and still sort of am, an adolescent fighting with her conservative parents over politics and economics. However, I really do hope that I'm just not as short-sighted as poor demented Merry.) Anyhow, one-dimensional characters, dear Philip Roth, is another literary device that according to moi, you got wrong, in spite of the inkling of complexity we have of the Swede in the last quarter of the book. That was yum. Needed more of that.

Finally: WHY DOES HE NEVER TELL US HOW THE EFF MERRY DIED. Why!!!!! You could've given us some entertainment, you damn fool! I'd rather just think he forgot.

So, in sum: This book, meh, had it's good parts, mostly bad, can't understand what the genius of Roth is. I am not giving this book less stars because it's my father's favourite book and, as a good Jew, I respect my fifth commandment. Over and out.



*As you see, my sympathy for Philip Roth's italics really do stem from my shared affliction.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Movement Dreams


LOVE IS FREE from Greg Mirzoyan on Vimeo.

I sometimes wonder if I am a person condemned to dream-state. I am constantly fantasizing about all the possible ME'S that could exist: Artist me, confident me, successful me, popular me. Perhaps that is the reason why I'm so much better at starting things than at finishing them; My dreams have enough gasoline in them to spark the fire, but once the quenching crash of reality comes along, my dreams flicker out and are doomed to the cemetery of forgotten projects.

One of the best examples of this is sporty me.

I have often dreamt of being able to skim through a soccer field, with dancing feet that give me confidence in the art that is working as a team and enjoying it.

And I have also dreamt of mastering the more elevated aspects of yoga, of taking the connectedness and conciousness of my body to the Instagram-worthy pose. Oh, and also to feel like I'm flying.

Another of my dreams is to reach a level of cardiovascular mastery that allows me to jog through beautiful places without feeling as if death is near. Nope. In fact, I want it to feel like the muscles in my legs are made of fire and my heart is an organ whose purpose has never been so much to be alive.

To be able to flip-flop the heck out of my spine. To have the strength and dedication to hike every mountain in rugged ole Chile. To be able to roller-skate, like the "beautiful girls in Barcelona." And dance! Boy, would I love to hip-hop or ballet the shit out of my body.

Honestly, I'm not exactly sedentary. At all. But my exercise mostly consists of gym-time and if I ever practice sports it lasts for a week or so. Probably the crux of all this is that ONE CANNOT DO EVERYTHING IN LIFE, ONE MUST CHOOSE, and I have not chosen sports, because, ain't nobody got time for that (at least I don't.)

So there: I have chosen blogging. I have chosen you guys, my blog readers.  :')


Friday, February 17, 2017

OBAMA KITESURFING WITH RICHARD BRANSON IS W!R!O!N!G!



This is not a blog about politics (because I spend my every day talking too much about politics and rarely about beautiful things) and it is even less about the United States' politics, a country that I have no connection to other than the fact that everybody talks about it all the time. In fact, I find it a bit infuriating, that Trump-related news seems at times not to be international reporting, but stuff of national importance. It. is. not.

Anyhow, after probably having alienated most of the people reading this entry with that introduction, I want to state my point. I know that most of this blog's readership is from the U.S., and that is why I thought that my blog would be a proper platform to state what the title says in caps lock. A FORMER PRESIDENT HANGING OUT WITH A MILLIONAIRE IN SUCH A CHUMMY WAY IS NOT SOMETHING TO BE APPLAUDED AND CHEERED, IT IS SOMETHING TO CONDEMN!!!! I am sorry about the hysterical tone of this post, but, honestly, why would anyone think that such a blatantly obvious demonstration of the relationship of politics and money, ie, CORRUPTION, is at all sexy! It. is. not.

I do realize that in comparison with Trump, Obama seems like a God-given cross between Adonis and Mandela, a man beyond charming, smart, and with a true sense of good. But, that does not mean he can go around the day after his mandate ends, frolicking with a guy that has enough money to lure any ole politician into having less-than-commendable motives!

In Pepe Mujica's words, Uruguay's former president (and a man I trully admire): "Politicans have to live as most people do, and not as a wealthy minority does."

I am not saying Obama is corrupt, or that he can't have a well-deserved good time. I'm saying that I'm amazed at how people can cheer the fact that the former president of the most powerful country in the world is parading BFF status with a guy that represents a formidable opponent to clean and good democracy -lots of money.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Shine Theory


This is my friend June. She is a woman full of drive and power. One day, I will vote for her. Every day until then, I thank the Heavens for having gifted me with a friend so full of love, adventure, understanding, and smarts.



This is my friend Nicole. She is a woman who refuses to subjugate to popular opinion. Her rebellious perspective about everything in life makes her eternally wise and funny.



This is my friend Nathalie. She is the friend whom I brag about: "Ah, yes, I have this friend who studies Theater in Berlin, how artsy is that..." She is also the person to whom I owe most of the belly-aching LOLs of the past decade. (And some of the most rabid teenage fights.)



This is my friend Beatriz. This tiny piece of a woman holds in herself a tornado-like force that refuses to spin in any sense that is not her very own.


My sister. A woman beyond beautiful, beyond dignified, beyond wise. She is, in many senses, the true eldest of the family, and I am, in many others, the young and annoying urchin that is to be reprimanded and Snapchatted.


This is my mother (and me). The woman who holds captive most of my arsenal of love in this world, my eternal role model in everything except political ideals, a woman eternally smart and driven and the epitome of overachieving. I LOVE YOU MOM!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Does a book have to be entertaining in order to be good?



It's only been a few minutes since I finished reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being. At times I felt I was upon a work of unbridled genius, and at others I flipped the remaining pages with a groan of boredom. What struck me as confusing was that I couldn't pinpoint why I found it boring. Its plotline was mostly a spiral of sex scenes, pseudophilosophical meanderings, weird but funny events, and more pseudophilosophical meanderings. It didn't spend an excess amount of pages on either of these ingredients, and I usually tend to enjoy any of these. In spite of all this, I had to plough through its 300 or so pages, despite the exquisite pen with which it was written.

Objectively then, it's a good book. Perhaps great, if it weren't for the whiff of "I've read this elsewhere" that tainted my reading. And yet I can't say that I enjoyed it, not like I enjoyed Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels or Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Fifty. 

I don't have any good answers to the question that titles this post. Obviously an entertaining book is a better one, but is a tedious one immediately bad? (This would immediately invalidate nearly all of the Western canon) What if it's sort of entertaining, but never "grabs" you? 

What does the kind blog reader think?



PS. I started a new bookstagram, because I love starting things in spite of my trouble finishing them. You can follow it @WritingOnBookMargins.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Almost Five Years


It's been almost five years since I discovered feminism. A few months after that, I started this blog.

I have a very Sofía Coppola-ish memory of the moment it dawned upon me that I needed this blog. It was an afternoon math class, a month before my 17th birthday, and my legs were pantyhose free under my plaid school uniform, a tribute to the dawning spring. It was a few months after I discovered feminism, and felt very out of place in a High School that was brimming with guys who felt superior and girls full of hateful gossip. I couldn't believe that I was turning 17, and age when one is old enough to do great things, and yet, I had done nothing. Something must be done. And because I had already had a few (unsuccesful) blogs and knew the power of THE ONLINE, 1+1= Start "Dancing without Moving."

(It's funny how I haven't felt the need to change the title. Dance still feels to me like the body exploding with beauty, and by "dancing without moving" I meant something akin to prayer, something akin to awe.)

I was a young girl full of dreams and necessity and I still am. Five years older, still a feminist, still guilty with the feeling that I am piddling away my time, filling it with worthy things but not important things. Perhaps I am a bit more patient, a bit less rebellious, a tad less worried about what others will think.

But in essence, five years have gone by, sort of in vain, depending on your conception of "in vain". I am still a lover of beauty, a child in a woman's body, a person who feels the injustices of the world like knives to the heart, a woman searching for love and finding reality. Etcetera.

I am flawed, and I will always be. But I am a fighter, and I always will be.

Thank you for enjoying the journey with me, dear Blog Readers.

Me, five years ago. Even physically I am still the same.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

When in Cuba



The past few weeks I spent backpacking through Cuba.

Although the backpacking experience was something new in and of itself, it was that I went to a socialist country that piques most people's interest.

The questions I've received afterwards range from "Is it beautiful?" to "Are people famished?" No, people aren't famished, and yes, it's beautiful, but not in the classical sense. 

Most of Cuba is worn and tattered (except for the highly touristic spots), but it carries out its aged look with dignity and pride.

Propaganda is everywhere to be seen, capitalist amenities are hard to find (anytime I found Coca Cola I would shrill with glee, and then giggle at my capitalist vice), and people are overly friendly and are wont to spend an easy 20 minutes talking to the tourist stranger -about politics, culture, attractions, whatever (this makes me wonder how true it can possibly be that the police arrest anyone who blabs, because boy do people blab freely.)




It's a multicoloured country, and by this I'm referring to the people, the streets, the ideas -and the truths. 





Alas! Keep in mind that anything I can tell you is from a tourist's perspective, that is, I always had cash in my pocket, people were often kind to me because I was the money-bearer, and I only visited tourist-friendly towns (usually the richest ones.)

All in all, I would say that Cuba isn't poor in the classical sense; its people are rich in culture and knowledge thanks to the great educational system, they are all healthy and fed and clothed, but they aren't rich in the classical Occidental way. You won't find expensive cars or fancy stores, for instance.

On the other hand, I was sort of estranged by a number of things I assumed that a socialist country would provide for free, and didn't: Housing, transportation, electricity. I couldn't believe people were supposed to pay for these basic rights, just as neoliberal Chileans do.

All in all, this is a country that has decided to have a different conception of prosperity. It has its many flaws, MANY flaws, but, in sum, it works pretty fine. In a number of ways, it works better than others. And whatever is to be its destiny, it should be up to the Cuban people to decide. 




To see more pictures, follow my Instagram @anaruizboogers.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Journaling is my hot, hot, sex


In many ways, this blog is like Gilmore Girls. Not just in the sense that the main character is way hot (me), but also because I feel that nothing is better expressed than as when expressed through a pop culture reference. (In case you didn't get the title's reference, check THIS out before we can be friends.)

Anyhoo, summer has arrived for my happy Chilean self, and with it, a lot of time to dedicate to journaling. And because I mostly suck at prettifying stuff (in contrast with my huge talent at uglifying things) I need very professional artistic inspo to get me going. Here are some things I've found through the magic of Tumblr (you can also find the due credits here.)













Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Rain in Spain


These are some pictures of my trip to Spain in February. Hugs to the blogging community :)




Thursday, December 1, 2016

Greetings December


Greetings evenings of iced tea and sangría. Greetings dipping my feet and entire being into crystalline chlorinated water. Greetings spending a lot of time with family, my boyfriend, friends in general. Greetings watching the Gilmore Girls revival.

Greetings to a lot of fun shit and also...

GREETINGS POSTING EVERY EFFING DAY FOR A MONTH BECAUSE I'M BACK BABIESSSS.

PS. In case you didn't get the clue, December for southern hemispherers is all about summer and only a bit about Christmas. So if you are a modern day Grinch and sangría lover, tune in during this month and delight yourself with my summery frolicking. :)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Instagram Tales


I only have about two-three weeks until YAY VACAY time, but until then, I'm going though something akin to hell called exams. Here's a dash of colour from my Instagram to make everything happier meanwhile. 
(I'll get back to normal blogging in December.)

My account on Instagram is @anaruizboogers.







Friday, October 21, 2016

Aesthetics


As of late I've become an Instagram junkie, dedicating my mindless hours of procrastination to the art of having an impeccable feed. That is when I came to the realization that I wanted to have a FUN Instagram, and have it pop with color, and this is what I decided to do.


What do you think? Is it too much? Am I the only crazy-head that spends so much time stalking beautiful Instagram feeds and perfecting one's own, or do you do it too?

PS. You can follow me @AnaRuizBoogers

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Anything is Possible



Does anybody actually like studying? I sometimes tell people that I do, but it's not completely true. I enjoy: Learning, feeling efficient and accomplished, channeling my inner Rory Gilmore. But I would much rather be laying on the grass, watching either the clouds or the stars go by, listening to The Shins and channeling my inner Manic Pixie Dream Girl than working through 200 pages of Aristotle.

Anyhow, there is always stuff you can do to make unenjoyable things very enjoyable. Like listening to a podcast whilst driving through traffic or watching TV to divert your attention from the slowness of time on a treadmill.

Can studying be made fun? With the right music, eats&drinks, incense or aromatic candles, maybe. With the right stationery, even Aristotle can be something to look forward to.

But in the end, you just have to push through it. Breathe in and breathe out. Know that nothing good in life comes for free.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Not a Pants Person



These pictures are pretty old. (They're from last year.) But they're timeless in essence, because of one eternal truth: I hate pants. I hate feeling conscious about my hips and my butt and my thighs. And I need vaginal ventilation.

Another thing remains true: Winter sucks. Summer dresses rule. Tanning is a danger that exhilerates anyone. 
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