Author Archives: Sasha Martinez

On THE PUMPKIN EATER by Penelope Mortimer

“So we were back at the beginning again.”

Some books announce themselves with a punch to the gut, some with a sting. Some sneak up on you and take care to embrace you with a numbness that expands as you need it to—all the better to prepare you for the sick, sly shock of recognition. Of course: The trap that awaits me whenever I seek to feel less alone with books points to the seeming ubiquity of scenes from my life. My story is not the most original thing, is the reminder; devastations like mine are never unique. See: Someone long dead has already conjured the very words that carved out something bright and soft and essential from within you, and set them to a fiction. [Continue reading.]

Madame Bovary, Sasha Martinez

Regarding longing

Consider the peculiar dangers of provoking desire through the books one reads; how words on a page can remind you of a longing you thought you’d long ago calmed, or tease you into considering the weight of someone else’s gaze, or galvanize you into crossing a once interminable distance to take the wrong person’s hand in yours and confess a wanting. Consider this unflinching definition of desire, brought forward by Siri Hustvedt via the very first line of an essay: “Always a hunger for something, and it always propels us somewhere else, toward the thing that is missing.” (And, here, remind yourself of Anne Carson declaring, “Desire moves. Eros is a verb.”) See yourself armed—first with your library, and then perhaps (of course) with your longings. And then, please, consider yourself in a reality where you moved, arms laden with the books that compelled you. [Continue reading?]

The cost of this

The cost of this

I’ve been turning a thought over and over in my hands for the past several weeks, holding it up against the light when my arms can bear the weight. Just thinking—navel-gazing, really, and a little mopily. About the writing I do about books, for books—here, in this space, and elsewhere online, and (to a lesser extent) what appears of me in traditional print. It’s an exhaustion-borne thought, I know this—but I don’t know how it got to this point, that it can actually calcify into a whole thought, or when it started brewing. It’s a declaration, one that’s (upsettingly) more assured than most of the sentences that’s sprung whole in my mind: I want to stop writing about books, because I want to stop trying to justify myself. [Continue reading.]

20140504_152443

Batman’s mom

I’ve come across a lot of disdain for Batman: Haunted Knight and I suspect that it’s mostly because it dared to be on the same breath as the fanta-marvelous Long Halloween. I’m actually rather grateful to Haunted Knight for giving me what I’ve been looking for in the Batman mythos, high and low—Batman’s mom, Martha Wayne. Because, dammit, it’s all been about Daddy Dr. Tommy everywhere. [Continue reading.]

MOORE — Bark

Outgrowing Lorrie Moore

Days after reading Lorrie Moore’s latest collection Bark—and still lugging it around with me, because it gave me a disquieting conundrum that very much needed solving—I ran into Petra. We talked about a great many things, about cabbages and things, and she saw Bark, and she asked me how it was. I let loose everything that I had love about it, and even more lengthily about why it hurt me so. Petra laughed, asked, “Sasha? Have you outgrown Lorrie Moore?” I let that one sink in. And then I had to nod. I had outgrown Lorrie Moore. [Continue reading.]

HAUL — Fully Booked Comic Book Day May 2014 01

An embarrassment of riches

These are my first purchases in more than a month. Am I trying, finally, to fill the gaping reading-shaped hole in my already-listless life? Or am I just trying to fight how terribly, nauseatingly pathetic my inner life has been lately? Through Comic Book Day. And Tintin, for some reason. And, naturally, Batman. [Continue reading.]

OFFILL — Dept. of Speculation

The devastations of Jenny Offill

There is nowhere to cry in this city, Jenny Offill writes. And also: But she is tired all the time now. She can feel how slowly she is walking, as if the air itself is something to be reckoned with. But, then, also: There’s that moment, you know, for most people, where you decide you want to wake up in the world one more day. [Continue reading.]

BALOGH — Slightly Dangerous

A tall glass of cold hero

Figuring out my personal canon, here—historical romances are bound to pop up. Among the more notable: Slightly Dangerous, by Mary Balogh. It’s a love story between two very sensible adults, very much attracted to each other, very much aware of how far they’re willing to satiate their wanting. They’re two adults, too, with the necessary barricades around their hearts—and seeing them ease up, seeing them let a little of their control go—it’s so satisfying. [Continue reading.]

ex 03 — The Room of Requirement

The dismals of March—but books!

Books read versus books acquired—the perennial imabalance. March was a craptastic month for reading, and for getting anything remotely related to soothing my inner self done. But. I did buy a lot of books. That is: I seem to have bought a lot of books. I don’t remember. I woke up like this. [Continue reading.]

ex02 — February Books Read

February 2014 Reads

Here are the books I read in February, which seems to me now to be very long ago. Also: That it seems to have lasted a curiously long time, judging from what I recall with the reading of these books. And it’s not even a goddamned leap year. [Continue reading.]