Saturday, February 06, 2010

What is Kathleen Rooney reading?

This weekend's featured contributor at Writers Read: Kathleen Rooney, author of For You, For You I Am Trilling These Songs.

Her entry begins:
Everybody is probably a little bit tempted to go superlative when they assemble this kind of recent-reading list, and that probably makes the people reading the list a little bit skeptical, but I can’t help it: the illustrated novel Cruddy by Lynda Barry is the best book I read in late 2009, and may be the best book I read the entire last decade. It is crushingly sad and violent, yet also funny and super-smart. And the heroine, Roberta Rohbeson, is sensitive, articulate, deadly, sharp and very, very ugly—like broken-nose, chipped-tooth, missing-digit not good-looking. Roberta is an unforgettable character overall, but the ugly thing sticks with me. So many female protagonists—both long ago and contemporary—are set up by their creators as “ugly” at first, but it becomes clear they are really to be read either as a) ugly ducklings who will morph into swans by novel’s end, or b) young women who were never truly ugly in the first place, but rather were just misunderstood, and part of their character arc is having people around them realize, “What a fool I’ve been for not recognizing her beauty this whole time.” I dislike and distrust a fake-ugly heroine. I admire Barry’s writing—her toughness and her compassion—but I also...[read on]
Kathleen Rooney is a poet and a writer. With Abby Beckel, she is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press. With Elisa Gabbert, she is the author of That Tiny Insane Voluptuousness (Otoliths, 2008). Her non-fiction books include Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object.

About her book, For You, For You I Am Trilling These Songs, from the publisher:
In this collection about life as a twentysomething in the twenty-first century, Kathleen Rooney writes with the finesse of someone well beyond her years, but with fresh insights that reveal a girl still making discoveries at every turn. Varied and original, the tales in For You, For You I Am Trilling These Songs recount the perils of falling in love with the unlikeliest of people, of visiting the New York apartments of a vanished poet, and of touring an animal retirement home with her parents. Of getting a Brazilian wax, and of chauffeuring a U.S. senator around town. Of saying good-bye to a cousin who’s joining a convent, and of trying to convince herself that she's not wasting her life. This is a book about love and longing, poetry and plagiarism, death and democracy, mountain floods and Midwestern cicadas. Here is a young woman struggling to find her place as an adult and a citizen in an America that rarely manages to live up to Whitman’s dream of it. With this book, Rooney sings—yes, in fact, she trills—loud and clear.
Visit Kathleen Rooney's website.

The Page 99 Test: Live Nude Girl.

Writers Read: Kathleen Rooney.

--Marshal Zeringue