Strippers, baby pandas, books.

Well, dear readers, I made it out of MLA alive and am now seeing in the New Year in Atlanta with Z’s family. Several of you have asked for an interview progress report, and all I can say without jinxing myself is that not a single interview was terrible, most were fun, and a couple were downright exciting. I’ve been invited to give a talk at one campus and I’m waiting to hear on the rest.

The night after my interviews were finished, my charming psychoprince took me out to my first-ever strip club. Unfortunately, lap dances are verboten in the Washington D.C. area (too much scandal potential?) so we had to satisfy ourselves watching nubile ladies shimmying delicately at a distance. What amazed me about the stripper spectacle was how unlike pornography it was: so many rules and boundaries in place to protect the integrity of the dancer’s bodies, lit up like objects made of something harder than flesh and propped up on a stage above human ground. Frumpy men grovelling below, looking up in desperation and offering crumpled bills that disappear into garters full of the night’s offerings before any possibility of contact surfaces—it was mesmerizing, watching supplicants worshipping at the altar of indifferent goddesses.

Since leaving D.C. for Atlanta, I’ve mostly just slept. Z and I rang in the New Year watching an Animal Planet special on the birth of celebrity baby panda Tai Shan, who is too cute to exist, and then I slept for the first 10 1/2 hours of 2006. So I’m feeling unusually well-rested and chipper on this first day of the year, but for those of you who had more Ghetto Fabolos evenings, the NYTimes offers a helpful article on hangover cures. (It claims that spicy food does nothing, but I still swear by a breakfast smothered in Frank’s Red Hot.)

I guess now I can do my official tally of Books Read in 2005:

Read in 2005, from last to first:
77. Bill Watterson, The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, Vol. 1
76. Brenda Shaughnessy, Interior with Sudden Joy
75. Susan Cooper, Silver on the Tree
74. Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak
73. Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers
72. McSweeney’s collection, Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things…
71. Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams (reread)
70. Linda Watanabe McFerrin, Namako: Sea Cucumber
69. Shyam Selvadurai, Funny Boy
68. Susanna Moore, In the Cut
67. Aimee Bender, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt
66. Poppy Z. Brite, Liquor
65. Hari Kunzru, The Impressionist
64. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (reread)
63. Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril
62. Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews (reread)
61. Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (reread)
60. The Celery Stalks at Midnight (reread) (audio)
59. Howliday Inn (reread) (audio)
58. Bunnicula (reread) (audio)
57. Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis 2
56. Walter M. Miller, Jr. A Canticle for Leibowitz
55. Raj Kamal Jha, If You Are Afraid of Heights
54. Dear New Girl, or Whatever Your Name Is
53. Amanda Davis, Wonder When You’ll Miss Me
52. Peter Dickinson, Eva
51. Michael Ondaatje, Anil’s Ghost
Andrea Lee, Interesting Women
49. Kobo Abe, The Woman in the Dunes
48. Chang-rae Lee, A Gesture Life
47. Paul Poissel/Paul La Farge, The Facts of Winter
46. David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
45. Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
44. Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
43. J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
42. Poppy Z. Brite, Exquisite Corpse
41. Julie Otsuka, When the Emperor Was Divine
40. Richard Russo, Empire Falls
39. Bette Greene, Summer of My German Soldier (reread)
38. Tanith Lee, Piratica
37. Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
36. Susan Cooper, The Grey King
35. Tom Perrotta, Little Children
34. H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds
33. Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves
32. Haruki Murakami, The Elephant Vanishes
31. Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (reread)
30. Natsuo Kirino, Out
29. Ian McEwan, Atonement
28. Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility (reread)
27. Tove Jansson, The Summer Book
26. Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (reread)
25. Fanny Burney, Evelina (reread)
24. Daniel Handler, Watch Your Mouth
23. Jane Collier, An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting
22. Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (reread)
21. Frances Sheridan, Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph
20. Francesca Lia Block, Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books
19. John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces
18. Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
17. The H.O.W. Book Series: Your Disgusting Head
16. Patricia Highsmith, Little Tales of Misogyny
15. Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex
14. Philip K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly
13. Louis Sachar, Holes
12. Haruki Murakami, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
11. Alexander McCall Smith, The Kalahari Typing School for Men
10. Tad Williams, Tailchaser’s Song
9. Nadine Gordimer, The Pickup
8. John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera
7. Edward Young, Night Thoughts; or The Complaint and The Consolation (illustrated by WIlliam Blake)
6. Cornelia Funke, The Thief Lord
5. Terry Pratchett, The Colour of Magic
4. Orhan Pamuk, The White Castle
3. Susan Cooper, Greenwitch
2. Ha Jin, War Trash
1. Susan Cooper, The Dark Is Rising

And that’s all I got for now. Welcome to 2006.

8 thoughts on “Strippers, baby pandas, books.

  1. I’ve got a copy of Your Disgusting Head here somewhere. 🙂 Have you read Giraffes, Giraffes?

    Also, do you think the Susan Cooper books would be good for my son? He’s 7, but he’s already read the first four Harry Potter books, The Hobbit, and The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (in addition to listening to 5 of the other Narnia books – we still have The Last Battle to go). He’s a pretty good reader, but he’s still a bit innocent, if you know what I mean. I think these would probably be good, but I haven’t read them myself. What do you think? I don’t want to censor his reading, but I don’t want him scared and coming in my room at midnight either. 🙂

    • I think they would be perfect for him. The language and use of British mythology are sophisticated, but thematically there’s nothing questionable—just good old fashioned good vs. evil.

      I have read Giraffes, Giraffes. I loved it.

      • I would recommend starting with The Dark Is Rising. There’s a “prequel,” Over Sea, Under Stone, but it’s like The Magician’s Nephew.

        I look forward to hearing his response!


    Well, charming is not a word I’ve heard often linked to my name or pseudonym, but since it’s in the context of strippers, I’ll take it. Glad to be the one to take you to your first strip club. We’ll make it an annual event, and in places with less rules.

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