Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Books’

Why Aren’t You Laughing? David Sedaris reckons with his mother’s alcoholism.

June 14, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Psychology No Comments →

Any week that we find two new David Sedaris essays is a good week. The funniest memoirs deal with old pain.

The author (rear) with his sister Lisa and their mother, Sharon Sedaris.

Sober, she was cheerful and charismatic, the kind of person who could—and would—talk to anyone. Unlike our father, who makes jokes no one understands and leaves his listeners baffled and anxious to get away, it was fun to hear what our mom might come out with. “I got them laughing” was a popular line in the stories she’d tell at the end of the day. The men who pumped her gas, the bank tellers, the receptionists at the dentist’s office. “I got them laughing.” Her specialty was the real-life story, perfected and condensed. These take work, and she’d go through half a dozen verbal drafts before getting one where she wanted it. In the course of the day, the line she wished she’d delivered in response to some question or comment—the zinger—would become the line she had delivered. “So I said to him, ‘Buddy, that’s why they invented the airplane.’ ”

Read Why aren’t you laughing? in the New Yorker.

Reasons David Sedaris has been depressed lately (We know exactly how he feels)

June 12, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Current Events 1 Comment →

Chus and I went to David Sedaris’s reading at Powerbooks Greenbelt some years ago. He was hilarious and shockingly nice. He got to the venue early and went around asking people if they wanted their books signed. We chatted about Chickenjoy. He did an impression of his sister Amy going shopping (“Buy it!”).*

David, I hope you’re feeling more cheerful. We know exactly how you feel. And you live in England now. You could go back to France…Would you like us to Fedex you some Chickenjoy?

One. It’s early September of 2015 and I’m on the island of Santorini for a literary festival. After the short reading, which takes place outdoors on a patio, the Greek audience asks questions, the first of which is, “What do you think of Donald Trump?”

The Lost City of Z: Meanwhile, another Amazon casts a spell

June 08, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, History, Movies No Comments →


Your brain is a time machine.

June 08, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books No Comments →

“Time is a road without any bifurcations, intersections, exits, or turnarounds.” With that, neuroscientist Dean Buonomano sets up the meat of his new book, Your Brain is a Time Machine – and an intriguing difference between the way we animals navigate time as opposed to space.

Marvel, DC, Image comics on sale, 70 percent off. Run!

June 06, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books No Comments →

At National Bookstore in Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong. Many, many titles.

We really needed to see a woman beat the crap out of murderous maniacs. Thank you, Wonder Woman.

June 03, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Movies 5 Comments →

Achtung: Spoilers.

For two hours we were charmed, fired up, and inspirited by Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins and embodied by Gal Gadot. After a week of terrible news we were so cheered by the tale of an Amazon meeting the outside world for the first time, that towards the end when the movie suddenly dove into a pot of cheese fondue, we decided to overlook it. Truly casting is half the work, so whoever thought of putting Gal Gadot in the costume: You are brilliant. We know she was an Israeli army combat instructor, so we hope to see her fighting in long takes and not those slowed down-sped up cuts. (DC, please stop recycling your final fight scene.)

As Steve Trevor, Chris Pine is not photographed as lovingly as he is in Star Trek and elsewhere—sometimes he looks pudgy. This makes sense, as no one should out-gorgeous Diana, and it actually boosts Pine in the Chris rankings because it means he’s not overly concerned with his looks. And the DC Universe has added a color to its palette (blue), yay. As the Amazon general Robin Wright is so fearsome, there should be a remake of The Princess Bride in which Buttercup is also Inigo Montoya. She should be the President in House of Cards. Also if you’re a Chris playing a Steve in a world war, stay away from the plane carrying the weapon.

There is no end credits sequence. If you’re planning to catch the movie tomorrow, get your tickets now because they’re almost gone.

* * * * *

Patty Jenkins directed Monster, which won Charlize Theron her Oscar, in 2003. Since then she has directed for TV, but Wonder Woman is her first movie in 14 years. Success is sweet.

My friend who is indifferent to superhero movies says she was not prepared for how Wonder Woman affected her. It was the No Man’s Land scene that made the movie for many viewers. In her case it was the Amazons training on the beach at Themyscira, and seeing Artemis, a black woman and a senator.

And beautiful as Diana/Gal Gadot is, her Wonder Woman is not sexualized or ogled by the camera. In fact her beauty is a weapon to disarm the patriarchy.

More women filmmakers, please.