Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Happy Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras! Whoo-hoo! Since my days of jetting off to New Orleans are over for a little bit, the boys and I are staging our own Mardi Gras parade, complete with beads, feather boas, and crazy hats. (I believe Jude will be sporting his ever-popular-with-the-old-ladies “Magic Hat.”) Afterwards, we will convene in the kitchen where we will eat doughnuts (the closest I can get to beignet) and listen to Cajun music. After all, it is FAT Tuesday, may as well go with it. If you can’t eat doughnuts now, when can you eat doughnuts? To quote the wise Homer, “Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do?”

My reccs for New Orleans books:

Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Now, I have to admit that I was not as in love with this book as other people I know, but it was amusing, and it made me wildly happy to see the actual Lucky Dog hot dog carts in New Orleans after reading about Ignatius’ adventures with them. And I assume everyone knows the story associated with this book (blurb from Amazon):

"Toole wrote this novel in Puerto Rico during a hitch in the U.S. Army. In 1966 it was rejected by Simon & Schuster. In 1969 Toole committed suicide. Toole's mother then tried to get it published. After seven years of rejection she showed it to novelist Walker Percy, under whose encouragement it was published by Louisiana State University Press. Many critics praised it as a comic masterpiece that memorably evokes the city of New Orleans and whose robust protagonist is a modern-day Falstaff, Don Quixote, or Gargantua."
And then it won the Pulitzer, too.

Madeline’s Ghost by Robert Girardi. And I am excited to find that Girardi has a new novel, The Wrong Doyle, which I must go buy immediately.

Many of Ellen Gilchrist’s characters are from New Orleans, or have lived in New Orleans, and some of the stories are set in New Orleans. I remember being green with envy over one of her protagonists who was a knocked-up teen living in a dive in the Garden District. Pooh to poverty, pregnancy, and overwhelming heat; the girl was hanging in the Big Easy! What did she have to complain about?!

I *know* someone is out there saying, Wait, you forgot Anne Rice. No, I didn’t, I left her out on purpose. I personally think her books suck. Along with Lestat. However, she lends some nice local flavor, as she *is* a bit eccentric: for example, you can’t see it in this photo (or --bummer-- maybe it’s not there anymore) but Ms. Rice has this huge black dog statue that hangs out on her balcony. It’s oversized enough that it’s obviously not real, and frankly, I found it downright creepy. Creepy enough that I took a picture of it, which I do not have online so cannot post - sorry. But it was sort of what I pictured the Baskerville hound would look like...that's neither here nor there as far as her writing is concerned, for me; I just don't think she's all that great a writer. Prolific, yes; great, no. So no Rice recc from me.

So, go have a Hurricane, party a bit, and pretend you're in N'Awlins. Because tomorrow we die. Or at least some of you give up chocolate for Lent, which is practically the same thing.

1 comment:

Gina said...

I read Confederacy of Dunces within the last year, and from his very first spoken line, IJR was COMIC BOOK GUY from The Simpsons. Is this just me? It seems to me that at least a handful of the show's writers would be fans of this book, and I have to wonder whether CBG is an homage of sorts to IJR.

Today is the only day of the year that I feel badly about not still working at WQED: Chris Fennimore (that sweet angel man) spends the morning on the set of QED Cooks making stacks and stacks of pancakes for everyone in the building. Mmmmm . . . pancakes.