Sunday, August 20, 2006

Library booty

I hadn't intended to finish Swann's Way this weekend, merely reach the end of "Swann in Love" so that I could watch the Jeremy Irons movie of that name without the need to worry over encountering any spoilers, but after reaching that point in the novel and concluding that Hollywood wasn't likely to end its version in such a manner, I gulped down "Place Names" as well. More about Proust later, but I'm hoping to squeeze in a viewing of Swann in Love after a walk and before Deadwood comes on.

But first I have to showcase some of my latest library booty.

I'm currently reading Judith Levine's Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping. My interest in this one was recently whetted by a book forum poster who complained that she felt like the victim of a bait and switch, that Levine's social experiment turned into a political manifesto midway through. Many Amazon reviewers make similar complaints.

To which I say bosh. Any reader who can't figure out by the second page of the text that the book isn't going to have anything complimentary to say about the Bush administration has been victimized by nothing more than her own poor reading skills. Those who've complained that the book didn't help them a la The Tightwad's Gazette must have missed vital information in the first chapter as well: "I am not primarily out to save money. . . I won't preach the gospel of the Simple Life or dispense advice on how to live it."

Also checked out:

The Book of Lost Books by Stuart Kelly. Looks great for dipping into, as does Marjorie Williams' The Woman at the Washington Zoo.

Little Big Man by Thomas Berger and Saddling Up Anyway by Patrick Dearen. Because I never tire of westerns.

Pug Hill by Alison Pace and My Latest Grievance by Elinor Lipman. Just for fun.

Not pictured, but waiting on the holds shelf for pick-up tomorrow: Coraline by Neil Gaiman and The Reluctant Mr. Darwin by David Quammen.

I probably won't get through the half of them.


  1. I love bringing home new books from the library. There is such an air of anticipation on the thought of starting to read them. And then disappointment when I have to return half of them unread. At least I am not the only one. This is why I like to buy books--at least I will get to them eventually.

  2. I was wondering if there had been any Proust movies. Do you know of any other titles out there?

  3. I didn't know about the Jeremy Irons movie -- have to check it out.

  4. Jeff, there's one more that I know of. It's called Time Regained and takes place on Proust's death bed. I think it's one to hold off on until we've finished all the novels, though. Swann in Love (definitely not a Hollywood movie as I'd ignorantly assumed)works well at the end of vol. I.

  5. I just finished Not Buying It and I felt rather disgruntled by it though not for the same reasons as the posters that you refer to. It's not that it changes half way through but rather that it tries to be both things at once without any regard for consistency between the two. I wouldn't have had any problem with it if it had been both at once with the two sides linked and reflecting on one another. Indeed, I think that's what Levine was attempting but, in my view, she didn't pull it off. I'm still sorting out my thoughts on it and will likely post a full review soon. I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of it.

  6. Kate, I'll be really interested in seeing your review. I'm reading it more as a palate cleanser after the Proust more than anything else (and lo, she mentions Proust on p. 47!). I think it suffers for the same reason the Suskind did--she wrote fast and since it was set in a specific year, it had to be published quickly to remain topical. It comes off as more of a memoir than anything else.


"I don't believe in ghosts, but I see them all the time."

Sherman Alexie cancels book tour for memoir about his mother.