My Big Chill Epiphany by Founder Kristy

So I’m going for a two-parter today, a double-header, a literary hat trick…wait, is that a three-item thing? You know, I never was a big sports fan. Anyway, I’ll be writing about two seemingly unrelated issues today, and by seemingly, I mean completely.

First, the thing I wasn’t originally going to write about: The Big Chill.

Have you watched it lately, and I mean watched as in sat there and stared at the screen and listened to the dialogue, perhaps getting up to dish out some fabulous panang curry from the excellent Thai place down the street but putting it on pause while you did so? And not the TNT version, but the DVD or, if you’ve not yet joined us here in the current decade, VCR tape (or perhaps Betamax is your thing?).

I don’t know, maybe it was the late hour, my desperate need for vacation, or the fact that my tongue was on fire (when you say “Thai hot” to actual Thai people, be sure you mean it), but that movie really was groundbreaking, wasn’t it? It came out in 1983. I was fourteen, and I don’t think I properly appreciated the true groundbreaking-osity of it. Of course, I’m slightly older now (go ahead, do the math), and I saw all kinds of things in it that I’d never seen before.

For instance, the JoBeth Williams character, Karen? I used to think she was so sweet and just a bit disappointed in her life, and was incredibly sincere in her heart-baring monologues directed at Tom Berenger (Sam). Now though? Whoa! What a manipulative witch! She was horrible! How did I not see that before?

Anyway, scene after scene I saw things in a new way. Am I getting smarter? Is that it? Let’s all hope so. Perhaps that will actually carry over into real life, and I will become more adept at reading people? Or maybe the Thai cooks were just having a bit of fun with me and chopped some magic mushrooms up in the panang. Whatever. (But I’m going there again tonight.)

So, on to what I was going to write about in the first place. (See, that’s what we call a “transition.” Some are, admittedly, more elegant than others.) As you are reading this (I hope someone’s reading this), I am likely reading on the beach. We spend a few weeks on an island, much like Big Dune in Catching Genius, for vacation, and all I do is read. As soon as I finish one book, I open another. It is my idea of heaven.

Three weeks of one book after another means quite a few books, and so each year I bring more books than clothes. I don’t always get through all of them (as people who’ve read my vacation book list before will attest when they see some of the same books on this year’s list), but I give it my best effort.

I was going to do a little thing on each book, but after my whole self-indulgent (isn’t that what blogs are for?) Big Chill epiphany, I figure the post has gone on long enough, so, without further blah blah blah, Kristy Kiernan’s 2007 Vacation Reading List:

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

The Midnight Disease by Alice W. Flaherty

Collected Stories of William Faulkner

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres

Set Me Free by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

The Abomination by Paul Golding

Atonement by Ian McEwan

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

The Messenger of Magnolia Street by River Jordan

Paint It Black by Janet Fitch

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon

The Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London

1 Dead in Attic by Chris Rose

Thoughts? Comments? Concerns? Jeers? Jibes? What did you think of JoBeth? Did you notice they never showed Glenn Close snorting coke? And why on earth were Tom Berenger and Kevin Kline making up a bed in the attic so tightly that an Olsen twin would have a problem slipping in it?

How about the books? Did you love any of them? Hate any of them? Feel vaguely disgusted or aroused, or perhaps both, by any of them? Please, feel free to use the comment section. I eagerly await your brilliance.

(Cross-posted at Southern Authors Blog)

4 Replies to “My Big Chill Epiphany by Founder Kristy”

  1. I haven’t watched that movie in ages…I tend to end up grossly disappointed in movies from the 70’s/80’s, the ones I loved so much at the time. One of those was The Goodbye Girl. I watched that when I was home in bed with pneumonia about ten years ago and man, I winced at how lame the dialogue was and how grotesquely overacted the thing was! (well, the styles were scary too LOL)

    Look forward to hearing how many books you’ve gotten through and what you loved. Every now and then I love to refer back to classics, although reading time is so precious that I usually prefer to settle into something new…

  2. I’m always disappointed when I take a stack of books on vacation, and end up hating one. I have so little time to read anymore, I want every single one to be genius. Speaking of which, I read Catching Genius on my trip to Mexico and it was. Genius.


  3. I’ve never seen the movie. We didn’t go to a lot growing up, maybe that’s why. I’ll rent it on your recommendation, though.

    As for the books, Inheritance of Loss is one of the most accomplished books I’ve ever read. White Fang is amazing, Brave New World gave me chills. What a list!

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