Sunday, September 12, 2010

Random little reading details

I don't think I've mentioned it, but I joined the brand new staff book club back in the spring. So far the group's discussed Indemnity Only, Rich in Love, Cold Sassy Tree and Ladder of Years. Since I'd read the Josephine Humphreys a couple times already, I mistakenly thought it'd be okay to skip another reread, but it turned out I'd forgotten everything anyone else wanted to discuss, so I spent a great deal of the hour at that that month's meeting wondering why my mind will latch on to some random, irrelevant little detail, like the fact that sheets with Lucille's menstrual stains circulate freely throughout all the beds in the household, which will then remain with me forever instead of clearing space for a memory of something more useful. What's that all about?

I particularly enjoyed rereading the Anne Tyler. Up until Ladder of Years, I'd reread all my Anne Tylers, some of them many times. I loved them, yes, but part of my incessant rereading up until then was due to other factors--limited funds for buying new books, awareness of new books dependent only on the local newspaper, Book of the Month and a couple of catalogs, pre place- an- online- hold- on- any- book- in- the- system- and- it- will- be- brought- to- the- branch- closest- to- you libraries. I might as well have reread my Anne Tylers and Margaret Drabbles to the point of internalization as bother finding anything new.

So, anyway, it was good to finally reread Ladder of Years. And it was fortuitous to reread it not long after reading Manservant and Maidservant because otherwise I would not have noticed that Tyler had a minor character named Horace Lamb, a strange guy, a traveling salesman of some sort of storm window or insulation product, and I had to wonder if she had Ivy Compton-Burnett's Horace Lamb in mind when she wrote him, no doubt laughing hysterically inside all the while. I think I mentioned this to a book club member outside the actual discussion, but not having read Ivy Compton-Burnett, she didn't know whether this was likely yea or nay.

This week we're discussing Rhoda Janzen's Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. There had been a copy of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress on the book exchange shelves for most the summer and I hadn't touched it because I am not partial to books with covers showcasing little black dresses and high heels. Fortunately, the cover wasn't pink, and it also didn't showcase hair, which is another book cover staple I usually manage to keep a healthy difference from, so I didn't have to deprive myself of an altogether pretty relatable read as a matter of principle or neurosis. I did have to buy my own copy, however, as someone else had claimed the free copy by the time the book club chose it.

Last night I started Henry James's The Ambassadors since I'm dying to read Cynthia Ozick's Foreign Bodies, a retelling of The Ambassadors, when it comes out a couple of months from now. Considering the number of sentences I'm having to read multiple times to halfway understand them, it may well take me all of the two months until Foreign Bodies's release date to make my way through it.

I've also started J.C. Hallman's The Devil Is a Gentleman: Exploring America's Religious Fringe, which seemed appropriate to read right now with so many Americans insisting upon their right to go bat shit, instead of finishing up the final pages of In Utopia, which would probably be even more appropriate since I need to review it before I forget all but a few random details that won't matter to anyone even me.

And I'm trying to get in the spirit for Book Blogger Appreciation Week. I signed up for an interview buddy, something I haven't done in the past, but mine hasn't been in touch, hasn't blogged in a couple of weeks, which leads me to worry more that something untoward may be happening in her life than that she doesn't want to partner up with the likes of me.

Tune in tomorrow morning for a BBAW-inspired book giveaway--the hype's right, it's a good one!


  1. It's good for the likes of you and me to sometimes join in with stuff like BBAW, isn't it?

  2. Very good. I enjoyed last year's BBAW tremendously.

  3. Anonymous10:41 AM

    Oh my goodness, I'm going to have to read Ozick's book. It might help me to reread The Amabassadors first.


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