Friday, November 11, 2011

Am I a Snob?

Am I Snob?

Am I Snob?

Am I Snob?
works cited: h&m dress; steve madden boots; hue tights; madewell sweater; thrifted belt and watch

It's a lonely couple of weeks for this nerd, because Christopher has back-to-back work trips and is only in town for three days in two weeks. Luckily I have him in my clutches this weekend and this morning cajoled him outside into the freezing windstorm of our back alley to take pictures. It was an American Beauty-style tornado of garbage outside the back door a few minutes ago. It would have been more beautiful if I weren't so concerned that old McDonald's wrappers were going to swirl onto my head.

P.S. I'm about two-thirds of my way through The Marriage Plot at the recommendation of several comments but, you guys, it's driving me crazy! I know why many recommended it--it's about an English major and it's very self-conscious about listing off all the post-structuralists Eugenides knows, but it's so anxious about proving its knowledge on literary theory that I'm dying to take a red pen to it and slash big sections. While I can be diplomatic in many areas of my life, I can't contain myself when it comes to judging books--I'm hard-won and this novel is driving me nuts. Nevertheless, my compulsion to finish things drives me toward its end where, as a good friend from grad school warns me, I will "want to throw the book against the wall." Have you read it? What did you think? Must I put to myself Woolf's question: am I a snob? (I fear the answer is decidedly yes.)

48 comments:

The Eye Behind the Detail said...

First, I love your outfit. Now I want a a polka dotted dress and an autumn-hued cardigan.
Second, I have not read this book, but you have piqued my interest...I dislike when knowledge is shoved in my face and I usually rebel against something like that. So I would not say that you are a snob. And I admire that you are sticking to the end. Good luck.

Ann said...

I'm about in the same place in the novel as you - - in my more generous moments I wonder if the post structuralist overloading is a device in itself. Mimicking the mental patterns of the English major who started b/c she loved to read and then she discovers theory and it's so different than anything she is used to that she reads it uncritically - - adopting the stance of the week, relating the most to those readings she can best understand, like Barthes.

There are some redeeming aspects too - - I have to say I like how Leonard is a fictionalized construct of the *unstable* self...post post-structuralism?

Anonymous said...

Remember me? You helped me style an outfit around a mustard colored suede skirt last year! I love love love this outfit. If I wasn't in the third trimester of my third pregnancy (lol) I would recreate this outfit today !
Camille

modern Suburbanites said...

you look so adorable! i love that cardigan.
www.modernsuburbanites.blogspot.com

Martina Lynne :: the life academic said...

Yep, I've been worried about this very problem since the first review I read. I loved Eugenides's other work, but I just keep hearing that this one is trying too hard. Plus, when he's throwing down on my area of expertise, I'm liable to be pretty particular. You've got to treat my post-structuralists well! Thanks for helping me dodge the bullet on this one...

Frannie Pantz said...

This might be one of my fave of your outfits! I love the rust and polka dots! Hope you and Chris have some more time together soon!

Glamorous Barbie ♥ said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE ur whole outfit :))

Shawna Faye said...

Gosh! Such a great outfit!

Terri said...

Outfit is adorable! Sorry you'll be without your man for a while. My photographer/husband leaves for Kansas City a week before I do, so I'll be without him for seven straight days. I guess it's time I learn how to do the automatic timer on the camera.

Hannah said...

Oh man, that is too bad about the Marriage Plot. I really loved The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex was one of my favorite books I've read in years. When I heard he was coming out with another book I was so excited, but to be honest the premise of The Marriage Plot hasn't gotten me too excited. Plus, as a fellow grad student/possible snob I can empathize with reading something and thinking "no! No! Wrong!!" I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, just a symptom of way too much education, haha.

Irene Wibowo said...

love it..
Irene Wibowo

Lauren said...

I think this is my favorite outfit I've seen you in so far! And yes, the wind was HORRIBLE this morning as I was attempting to run along the Mall.

Emily said...

Oooh, oooh, I have the same sweater!!!! Now I will think of it as my What-Would-A-Nerd-Wear sweater.

And if a snob is someone who uses her hard-won specialized knowledge to be a discerning, critical reader, then yes, you are a snob. Geez, Tania, how do you live with yourself? ;-)

Emily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emily said...

P.S. I love the autumnal look you've created with that summery dress! I'm going to have to try to do something like that with my own wardrobe.

Kristina said...

No! My boyfriend just told me I have rejected more books than most people have ever read. I tell him I'm not picky or snobby, I just have very refined taste in books. I laugh as I tell him this. And as much as I love books, I will stop reading them with only a few chapters left if I hate them that much. I have also thrown books on the floor when the author has driven me crazy. Stop reading it! It's hard at first, but then cathartic! It's like a relationship - would you keep dragging it out if it wasn't working? Pull that bandaid off! Time is much better spent on books you like - there are way too many out there to read them all, so why waste it on things that aren't making you happy?

chillairandperfume said...

I'm a total book snob too, so I'm not one to judge.

Love this outfit, though.. especially the polka dot dress! Adorable.

www.chillairandperfume.blogspot.com

Bog-Bog said...

Love the whole outfit!

Anna said...

It's ok to have high standards for the books you read. At least, I hope it is, because I'm a snob too.

Mrs.M in MI said...

Don't worry, my book club nearly murdered me last month because I hated Cutting for Stone with a fiery passion. I'm sorry, but a novel needs to observe the strictures of proper point of view, plot, and characterization or I just can't enjoy it!

ilene @ muchloveilly said...

love the cardi and those boots! you look so cute as always. happy weekend!

Looks and Books said...

I think that what others may consider being a snob is actually just good taste. :)

I've heard some poor reviews of The Marriage Plot, so while I loved Euginedes' other books, I am not rushing to read this latest one.

In other news, love the outfit! I desperately need a polka dot dress. Happy weekend!

Anonymous said...

I am just finishing my PhD in literature (not English - another language) and my husband suffers from mental illness so of course, I was interested in this book. It was enjoyable at first as light reading (although by no means a masterpiece) but it really petered out later on. I don't want to go into details in case I spoil the ending for you but I thought the way it dealt with the difficulties of loving someone who is mentally ill was quite shallow and I found the ending quite underwhelming.

I really like your blog and find it inspiring - keep up the good work!

Jen said...

Tania, we'll keep you company! At least you are looking adorable in your "loneliness". LOVE the dress.

-Jen
phdstyle.blogspot.com

Kara McKenzie said...

Ha! "American Beauty'esque garbage tornado". I love it! You're outfit is adorable. I'm jealous of your boots. They're a great color.

Hugs,
Kara of Fancy That Vintage

Bad Taste Toast said...

Wonderful outfit! I love the colours and the way you belted this cardi!

The Jones said...

I have such a hard time putting books down without finishing them...I'm probably a definite snob, though...so sometimes they are just too horribly to even finish! Gotta do what you gotta do, I guess ;)

LOVE the polka dots and rust sweater together. So cute!

<3 Cambria
jupefashion.blogspot.com

Shannon said...

This is my favorite outfit! It's perfection.

http://shannonhearts.blogspot.com

M. said...

re: Eugenides and pivoting literary theory--that's the joke of it, Tania. Maybe it's annoying to read, but it's definitely meant to be a horrible joke.

Healthy and Homemade said...

Love this outfit! Totally adorable and perfect for fall =D

Sayaka said...

I love how you wrapped the cardigan with a belt. So cute!!

What Would a Nerd Wear said...

M--what's the joke, precisely? because eugenides sounds like an anxious wikipedia article throughout the novel, and not just about literary theory/post-structuralism. the novel betrays an anxiety about its own research repeatedly (on the subject of leonard's mental illness, on mental illness generally, on science, on religion, on sexuality) and it comes to these facile points with an air of discovery, in these foolish phrases like "the victorians weren't so victorian after all!" or "homosexual relationships were just as screwed up as heterosexual ones!" that started to drive me completely mad.
so tell me how exactly it's a "joke" and what textual evidence we have to suggest that eugenides is stringing us along? the whole book is then a joke without a punchline, an entree in to the heads of very boring ivy leaguers? how do you explain the painfully-drawn portraits of conversations and classrooms that are so stilting, the too make you see the author, pained in his chair, trying to construct them? the book is bad, there are no excuses, no ways around it!

What Would a Nerd Wear said...

thank you camille! hope you and baby are doing well!

What Would a Nerd Wear said...

anonymous--yes, yes, i completely agree! i had your comments in mind as i was finishing the book and finding it very, very frustrating myself. like the conversations about literary theory or even madeleine's character itself, the portrait of leonard is shallow at best! so many one-sided characters and depth-less discussions of what should be complex, fascinating, difficult topics like literature, mental illness, and religion.

Courtney said...

First of all, I love this outfit! I haven't read The Marriage Plot, but I think I'm the opposite of a book snob. I'm finding that I like almost every book I read, which makes me feel very undiscerning and easy haha. I'm not an English major though and I AM critical of the science research articles I read :)

Anonymous said...

Haha love the title of your blog, we are a bit similar...hurray to the nerds! ;)
http://follesophistiquee.blogspot.com/

Melina said...

I absolutely love the polka dots with the rust cardigan. two of my favorite things in one outfit!

-Melina
thecaffeinatedcloset.blogspot.com

M. said...

My apologies for the glibness of the last comment--I was on a netbook at the airport. I should say that I came to TMP as a huge fan of the playfulness and plot-driveness of Middlesex and that I generally consider Eugenides a playful writer, especially with theory and genre. I also had heard an interview with him, had just finished Shteyngart's SSTLS, and found those conclusive statements you just cited to be satirical. I've had advisors and mentors tell me about moments of the academe of yesteryear when text was 'always already' political (and Heideggarian abuse was apparently rampant) and I thought this was a fun coming of age adventure through that cluster*. When I encountered those parts of indulgent, over-the-topness I read them as permission to laugh after cringing. I could spin this into textual evidence, but I don't think that my interpreting TMP this way means you should like it, hence why I said it might be annoying. What Eugenides is to you, might be what Perrotta is to me--his work just drives me nuts because it fails so badly at what it aims to do.

girl in the poodle shoes said...

Haha, never read it, and now have no desire to!

Girl in the Poodle Shoes
^Follow the link to my fun etsy jewelry shop where you can stock up on “arm party” pieces!!

elanor, said...

hey - i just found your blog and i love it! what great style and you're so pretty! <3 count me in as your newest follower!

xx elanor
missing-lovebirds.blogspot.com

Genny said...

I always get very nervous recommending books I love to others, because I want them to love the book as much as I do! I don't think you're being a snob :), everyone has different tastes when it comes to literature!!

stephanie said...

I heard that book was terrible, haha. Also, you look beautiful (as always) in these photos. xo

jackie mae said...

Hmmm...now you are making me so curious...I may have to read it just to appease my curiosity.
I love everything about your outfit by the way--love the polka dots...and the brown and red look great together :)

sartoriography said...

So, I haven't read the book yet, but I'm going to, despite (or because of) this review. I don't care what people say, I have mad love for Mr. Eugenides, especially after reading Middlesex. I get the problems with his work, but still, I love him and his books (all 2 of them). However, I'm sort of worried about this one. It's just begging for me to stop loving him for all the reasons you listed and more. If I decide I love it will you stop being my friend? I'd cry, but at least I'd have one of you. :)

PS: The colors of this outfit are fantastico!

Anonymous said...

Seriously, Tania? Your aggressive comment to M. solidifies your snob fears. No book is "bad." You confer that value judgment on it. That's why it's an opinion, and everyone is entitled to one (or many).

What Would a Nerd Wear said...

M--yes i see what you're saying, and in fact, after your comment i waited for the moment at which the novel would gesture toward its own perspective as one that is humorous. but instead the novel seems to take itself so seriously, which is why i agree that eugenides fails at the humor and is why i do read the book with frustration rather than with laughter--if there were indications that he knew what he was doing, if the text were more conscious of its own smugness in places (rather than seeming to accept it) maybe i could appreciate the humor. besides, no apologies for glibness, there's nothing i like more than arguing about books and i hope my comment wasn't aggressive, as ms. anonymous seems to think so. rather, i enjoy intelligent debate and find that disagreements and conflicts are the sources of the best and most productive developments of better ideas.

as for you ms. anonymous, i think there is such a thing as a bad book (even heard of the twilight series? or ayn rand? or dan brown? they aren't good by any stretch of the imagination). and while anyone is entitled to her own opinion, some opinions are more valuable than others: those of experts in a field, those opinions that are backed up by persuasive fact, opinions based on evidence and experience. i may have the opinion that the earth is flat, and i am entitled to that, but it doesn't mean i'm right, does it?
and yes, i am a snob, if it's means i'm discerning, particular, and liable to argue intelligently with someone who seems to be in my field of study or at least well versed in it. a snob and proud of it :)

alyssa said...

i love your cardigan and belt combo, super cute

xx
alyssa
http://wereaucourant.blogspot.com

St Germain said...

Leonard = DFW

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