What's exciting about Yankee Hotel Foxtrot: The first track, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, ends in a cloud of ambient noise containing two lines of vocals that aren't written in the liner notes. Tweedy sings: "...loves you / I'm the man who loves you..." in a toneless drawl, quoting the chorus from the well-known eighth track of the album, I'm the Man Who Loves You. Despite the words being clearly audible, the melodic and rhythmic lines identical in both tracks, the quotation is almost unrecognizable - the alienated, drunken Tweedy in I Am Trying is the exact opposite of that within Loves You, making the words almost meaningless.
Furthermore, the ambient closing to the sixth track, Ashes of American Flags, quotes the piano line in the following track, Heavy Metal Drummer, in a disjointed fashion. This quotation parallels the aforementioned quotation, and perhaps is more effective - after Ashes stumbles to an end, the confident and nostalgic Heavy Metal Drummer rolls in, the piano line playing in entirety, seeking refuge in a song about past glories and heartbreak.
There's something special about Yankee Hotel Foxtrot; there's a certain spontaneity that doesn't exist in other records. This is ironic considering that YHF was the result of meticulous studio manipulation. But it's almost counterproductive to actually analyze the album. We all know that it's a perfect album, so why ruin the fun by pretending that Tweedy actually knew what he was doing?
There's something about this picture that makes people happy. It's the depiction of an author who is still excited about writing, one who is motivated not by loss but by the thrill of creating worlds simply by scratching marks on a page. This is the essence of the author who sits smiling by fountains in major cities, entirely lacking in self-consciousness, deep in thought, constantly surprised, infatuated with relationship. This is why people dream of being writers, while lacking interest in the actual process. There's something very nostalgic and very exciting about that jacket and that smile and that fountain. Though that might not even be a fountain in the background. You can't even see the fountain. There's no fountain. That's John Green, by the way. The jeans are essential.
I haven't been able to write an intelligent piece on any of Green's books (thus far). But, Aahan Agrawal has pretty much succeeded in this post found in the nearly-defunct extension:
Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees: Another inherently flawed novel that doesn't know the word "subtlety", akin to Kingsolver's The Bean Trees. It reeks of "debut novel". The pacing is ridiculous - the "big ones" are too in-your-face - the storyline is entirely "contrived" (i.e. contrived poorly). Basically, it's a shameless mess. And that's what makes it practically a classic.
The black Virgin Mary is really something, though. Inspired John Green to put the black Santa into Paper Towns, for sure. It would be much better if it were just a coincidence, though. That would be nice.
People describe authors as "racist" or "sexist" or "bad". People do this to satisfy their swollen egos. Two things:
a. The author doesn't matter, because much of the time, the author is dead, and you can't really do much to hurt a dead person's feelings. And as for living authors, it's not like they actually care what you think.
b. Authors are substantially smarter than you are.
Something disgusting: Paste Magazine is doing book reviews with numerical ratings (as are countless "book blogs"). This system seems to be generally accepted for music, as major music magazines employ the numbers. In fact, I admire most of Paste's musical criticism. But it's just gross when applied to books. A lot of musicians are stupid (see their music), so it's not entirely indulgent to numerically rate albums. (A lot of musicians are extremely intelligent as well.) But the fact is that almost all of literary fiction is written by people who are massively intelligent (see point b).
And something exciting: the guitar strings on the cover art for Egan's Goon Squad are correctly proportioned in width!
Sasha and her circle make it pointless for me to write that poem about the sun still shining, because once someone writes a novel about the sun still shining, a poem about the sun still shining is just self-indulgent. And now to The Keep and eventually Infinite Jest.