Sunday, September 9, 2012

Lint in Literature: The Girl Giant by Kristen den Hartog

I just started reading The Girl Giant by Kristen den Hartog last night and could tell right away that it was a winner. This small book--both in size (it measures about 5 X 7 inches) and page length (just 219 pages)--is compact but tells a big story.

Here's where the lint comes in (on page 26), when Ruth is describing going to her first day of kindergarten with her mother:

"On my first day, I was creeping up on five feet, heads taller than my peers, who stared at me as I made my way down the speckled hall to my classroom, sweaty hand gripping Elspeth's sleeve. Clip-clop went Elspeth's shoes, and her dark dress without a speck of lint swished against her nylons, like people whispering."

The writing is so good and the story wonderful.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lint in Literature: The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler

I finished reading Anne Tyler's latest novel last night. The Beginner's Goodbye was a wonderfully simple story and too short. I always enjoy Anne Tyler's characters and the quirky situations she puts them in.

In The Beginner's Goodbye, Aaron is married to Dorothy, but actually when the book begins, Dorothy has already died and Aaron, a thirty-something year old who works at his family's vanity press, has started  having visits from Dorothy. Yes, back from the dead.

In one of the last pages of the book, this little gem of lint in literature showed up during a conversation about walking on freshly refinished wood floors:

Gary straightened and laid his brush across the top of his can. "Now, don't go walking on this, you hear?" he said. "Not for twenty-four hours. And then, the next few days or so, keep your shoes on. You wouldn't believe how many folks think they're doing a floor a favor to take their shoes off and walk in their stocking feet. But that's the worst thing."
"Worst thing in the world," the other man agreed.

"Heat of your body . . ." Gary said.

"Linty old socks . . ."

"Bottoms of your feet mashing flat against the wood . . ."

Nice! Linty old socks! (I've provided a link [the sock shown above] in case you have linty old socks and are need of some new ones. Just in case.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

The New Republic by Lionel Shriver

I'm a big fan of Lionel Shriver's writing. I haven't read all of her books, but several. I'm currently reading The New Republic. It's about terrorism and she wrote it a few years before 2001. It didn't get published then and immediately after 9/11, it couldn't get published, so 11 years later, it's okay again to have a book about terrorism. That is, a humorous book about terrorism.

So far, so good. She is such an excellent writer:  smart, funny, way over my head at least half the time but down to earth enough that when I get it, it's good and I don't feel dumb, just ignorant of her references. I'm not a worldly type person. She is obviously. And that's okay.

So, last night I read these paragraphs, which, you guessed it, one of them contains lint. So here goes:

Edgar could only intuit vaguely that they had money troubles.

"Barrington understood," she added sadly. "But Barrington collected meaning like lint. Like that Peanuts character:  it followed him in a cloud."

If you've never read any of Lionel Shriver's books, do yourself a favor. Do. I wouldn't recommend starting with We Need to Talk About Kevin though. It's her deepest, darkest and very good but so scary in the subject matter. Most of her others are more tongue in cheek and a delight.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lint in Literature: The Bride's House

I'm reading The Bride's House by Sandra Dallas and came across a passage with lint in it last night:

Peter smiled, then fiddled with the air force cap that he'd set on the table, straightening it, brushing off a piece of lint.

A friend gave me this book or I wouldn't be reading it. I've only ever read one other novel by Sandra Dallas, Tallgrass. It was good. This one is not as good, but I'm almost finished with it, so will plug along. It's just not my type of novel, but I'm sure lots of people love her work. I lived in Colorado for more than 20 years so reading about parts of it is interesting!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Named One of the Four Weirdest

Squidoo is a Web site where I write articles. They offer quests (sort of like assignments, where, instead of a grade, you get extra points) on certain topics. One of the recent quests was called "Be Weird." We were tasked to write about "an offbeat hobby, strange occupation, unusual habit or any other eccentricity they might have." 

Well, I was stumped since I'm so weird, but a friend suggested I write about lint. So, I did. My article is What To Do with Dryer Lint. I submitted it a few days ago but woke up today with this headline in my dashboard:  "Four Weird Lenses and Counting." 

In the news from Squidoo HQ, they shared four of the weirdest articles submitted to the Be Weird quest so far. Yep, I made the list. 

Thank you. Thank you.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Lint in Literature: 11/22/63

I've been reading Stephen King's latest book 11/22/63 for a week or so now. It's long, but it's very good. Last night while reading along, I found the first bit of lint in it! Since the book is 849 pages, it would be fairly disappointing if lint didn't show up at least once!

Here it is:

"That evening at six, Sadie inspected me, reknotted my tie, and then brushed some lint, real or imagined, from the shoulders of my sport coat."

I don't think I gave anything away with that snippet, in case you haven't read this book. But seriously, it is so good. Basically, a guy from 2009 (I think it is) goes through a portal that takes him to 1958. He has the opportunity to change history by keeping JFK alive. Of course that can't happen but if anyone can convince you of wormholes and alternate realities, it's Stephen King.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Make Fire Starters with Lint and Toilet Paper Rolls

Okay, I saw this easy project somewhere online (Pinterest probably; everything's on Pinterest) and have been meaning to write a blog entry, so here goes.

It's so easy and when you're done, you'll have handy fire starters for the fireplace in the fall or the campfire this summer!

Here are the steps:

1.  Save your lint and your toilet paper rolls.

2.  Take some lint and stuff it inside a toilet paper roll. Paper towel rolls would also work if you like to start big fires!

3.  Store them somewhere dry until ready to use. 

If you want to jazz this little project up a bit, let the kids draw on the toilet paper rolls with crayon to decorate them. They can also help stuff the tubes with lint since they have those handy little-sized hands.

I don't have a fireplace and don't go camping but I have friends with a fireplace. I think I'll save my lint and toilet paper rolls and make up several of these for them. I think three of them stacked in a pyramid tied with string would be a fun little gift to give. I have no idea if they'll like receiving them but I think so!

In case using lint as a fire starter sounds familiar, you're right. I blogged about it way back when, but the toilet paper roll to encase it is new!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Lint in Literature -- The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003

This "lint in literature" entry comes to you from The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003, edited by Dave Eggers, with an introduction by Zadie Smith.

This is a compilation I've had lying around for several years. I've moved it from one bookshelf to another, but when I finished a book over the weekend and didn't have another on deck, I grabbed it and am loving the short entries. All of the stories appeared in magazines and periodicals in 2002, so they range from very short (2 pages) to usually less than 20 pages.

Imagine my delight when last night I was reading The Littlest Hitler by Ryan Boudinot and I stumbled on a line about lint. Not just once, but twice!

Mr. Boudinot was writing about a fourth grader who dressed as Hitler for Halloween, even wearing the costume to school. He was heckled nastily, mostly by the girl who dressed as Anne Frank, and was pretty much tarred and feathered during class and at recess, so he had to make a change (literally) before the afternoon parade. His teacher let him borrow her gray wig.

"By the time our parade made it to the middle school I was thoroughly demoralized. I had grown so weary of being asked 'What are you?' that I had taken to wearing the wig over my face and angrily answering 'I'm lint! I'm lint!'"

This book is full of wonderful writing that you just don't come across unless you read these periodicals in 2002:  Time, Mississippi Review, Atlantic Monthly, Little Engines, Shout, Esquire, and Columbia Review (plus a bunch of others). I, for one, didn't.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lint in Literature: This Charming Man

Marian Keyes, the author of This Charming Man, writes well, writes funny, and writes provocatively. I've only read one of her other novels (The Brightest Star in the Sky). It too was funny and wise, but This Charming Man goes way beyond that. It addresses some tough truths. I'd recommend it in a minute.

But where's the lint, you ask. Here 'tis:

"He walked away, then stopped and turned back. "Hold on a minute." He approached like he had spotted something about me--lint on my collar, perhaps, or ball of fluff in my eyebrow--and wanted to help remove it."

Oh, what the heck.  I'll tell you. This book is about four women who all, at some point in their lives, know a powerful Irish politician. And they all know how dangerous his charm he can be.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lint in Literature: The Brambles

Last night while reading, I found lint mentioned in the book The Brambles by Eliza Minot. Edie, one of Arthur's daughters, is flying him to his other daughter Margaret's house, from California to New York:

"Only then does she remember the bottle of Valium or whatever it is that his nurse, Alice, gave her. She digs into her silver carry-on bag:  the grit of frayed cigarettes mingling with lint; a piece of naked cinnamon chewing gum, conglomerate with grit and hair; the mellow scent of shredded tobacco."


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