Sunday, August 30, 2009

Someone please tell me it's okay to skip the Randy Lenz sections in Infinite Jest because after that trashbag scene I don't think I can stomach him another time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Book Blogger Appreciation Week

Book Blogger Appreciation Week is Sept. 14-18 and I was quite surprised to open my email last week to find that I had been longlisted for a couple awards. I very much appreciate all one or two of you who nominated me in the Most Eclectic Taste and Most Concise categories as well as all of you who are reading this now: there are so many other blogs you could be reading.

I don't expect to make it to the short list as I am but a small fish and all of that, but I confess, being nominated makes me feel all rejuvenated and inspired to stop blogging inside my head and start posting a bit more regularly where others can see it if they so desire.

And I might as well tell you since this is a meta post that I intend to redo the links in my sidebar over the coming weeks and then chuck the RSS feeds. I felt embarrassed to keep clicking directly on blogs when everyone else started moving to bloglines and then google reader--how exposed and clingy I must appear, checking yet again to see if there's a new post--so I embraced the cool, efficient way of reading blogs and in the process began to feel more than a bit removed from it all. I'm tired of feeling that way.

I would say I'm going retro, but it's actually Blogger upgrades that are making it easy for me to tell when a blog has been updated.

So, pardon the dust in coming weeks. I might leave the old blog list up until I've finished the new. I remember last time I rebuilt a list of links some of my favorite people thought I'd left them out completely when I took a break to get a night's sleep before I'd completed the task. I don't want to inadvertently hurt anyone's feelings this time around.

RIP Challenge the Fourth

Woo hoo! It's that time again.

I'm not sure which Peril I'll complete this year, or if I'll merely participate in the Short Story Sundays, but here's my list of potential reads for the challenge:

Come Along With Me. Shirley Jackson
Don't Look Now. Daphne Du Maurier
Rebecca. Daphne Du Maurier
Gothic Tales. Elizabeth Gaskell
Her Fearful Symmetry. Audrey Niffenegger
Await Your Reply. Dan Chaon
The Seance. John Harwood
Drood. Dan Simmons
The Vampyre, a Tale. John Polidori

Monday, August 24, 2009

Life According to Literature Meme

(via Saving Ophelia)

Using only books you have read this year (2009), cleverly answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title. It’s a lot harder than you think!

Describe Yourself: American Sphinx (Joseph Ellis)

How do you feel: Disquiet (Julie Leigh)

Describe where you currently live: Family Roundabout (Richmal Crompton) in The New Valley (Josh Weil)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: East of Eden (John Steinbeck)

Your favorite form of transportation: Six Ponies (Josephine Pullein-Thompson)

Your best friend is: Lulu in Marrakech (Diane Johnson)

You and your friends are: Princes in the Land (Joanna Cannan)

What’s the weather like: Cheerful Weather for the Wedding (Julia Strachey)

Favorite time of day : A Life's Morning (George Gissing)

*If your life was a(n): Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace)

*What is life to you: A Broom of One's Own. (Nancy Peacock)

Your fear: The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye (A.S. Byatt)

What is the best advice you have to give: Everything Matters! (Ron Currie, Jr.)

Thought for the Day: When Will There Be Good News? (Kate Atkinson)

How I would like to die: Negotiating With the Dead (Margaret Atwood) or Making Conversation (Christine Longford)

My soul’s present condition: Dry Storeroom No. 1 (Richard Fortey)

Monday, August 17, 2009

New books

I've another stack of new books to share. From the top:

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven. Mollie Panter-Downes. Danielle has been singing Panter-Downes' praises for awhile, so I couldn't resist this new Persephone Classic edition as an introduction to the author. I also have Panter-Downes' novel, One Fine Day, checked out from the library.

The Truth About These Strange Times. Adam Foulds. Foulds' latest, The Quickening Maze, has been longlisted for the Booker, and while I wait for a U.S. publication date or a U.K. paperback edition, I thought I'd give his first novel a try.

Middlesex. Jeffrey Eugenides. I already owned an audio version of this, but I'm more likely to read it than listen to it. From the used bookstore.

The Moonflower Vine. Jetta Carleton. Touted by Jane Smiley, Neglected Books, and the savvy readers at Book Balloon.

Running with Scissors. Augusten Burroughs. From the library sales table.

The Summer Kitchen. Karen Weinreb. A review copy. I thought it might be interesting to compare/contrast this with Stewart O'Nan's The Good Wife.

That Old Cape Magic. Richard Russo. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will be as funny as Straight Man.

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. David Foster Wallace. The university library has all of Wallace's books except this one. I think I'll want to read them all once finished with Infinite Jest.

Celestial Navigation. Anne Tyler. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant was the first Tyler I owned in hardback. I've been trying for years to replace all my ratty paperbacks with hardbacks; I now lack just the first three.

Noah's Compass. Anne Tyler. Decided I couldn't wait till January for the U.S. publication, so I preordered it from the Book Depository.

Children of the Alley. Naguib Nahfouz. Picked up in the used bookstore while waiting out a cloudburst Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

And the winners are. . .

I'm sure my first exposure to Andrew Jackson was via Johnny Horton's version of "The Battle of New Orleans," although, to tell you the truth, I was more interested in the alligator in the song than in Old Hickory himself. Before I went poking around youtube for either a clip by Horton or the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to use, I'd not known that Dolly Parton had ever covered the song--and Dolly in period clothing makes tonight's drawing much more festive, don't you think?

I want to thank Kathleen McAuliffe at Random House and Dorothy Thompson at Pump Up Your Book Promotion for providing me with copies of Jon Meacham's American Lion to give away and for giving me a reason to ask everyone for their favorite historical biographies. I'll be posting the list of favorites tomorrow.

I was a little worried that Claudius would not enter into the proper spirit of the drawing--he's a highly suspicious cat and might well have concluded that folded slips of paper were to be avoided at all costs--but a little catnip helped, and he's on the floor continuing to roll on the losing entries as I type.

The winners are:

Sherry at Semicolon


Stephen at eskypades

Congratulations! I'll get the books in the mail as soon as you send me your mailing address.

Last chance for a thousand years

When you choose to read instead of clean the kitchen you are refusing to accept that your worth as a person is measured by the visible results that you produce in the world.

--Susan Wise Bauer

Last chance to enter the giveaway for two copies of Jon Meacham's American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, people! I'll be drawing names later this evening. There will be music as well as prizes, and I bet you might even laugh a time or two.


A bang, not a whimper

  Two months into L.'s retirement, and I'm finished with the stockpiling of books. No more book purchases! Or at least, no purcha...