May 5, 2010 @ 1:19 pm | Filed under: Books
I went almost the whole day yesterday undecided about what book to read next. I know, the horror, the horror.
I usually have one nonfiction book and one work of fiction going at once. I’m quite happy with my current nonfiction read: the highly recommended Crow Planet. But I need a novel too, always. You understand.
OK, I’m being imprecise—I actually do have a novel going—but it’s the nighttime-read-on-the-iPod-in-the-dark novel, and I can’t read on the iPod outside in the back yard while the kids are playing, which is my best reading time. (The current iPod read is Cory Doctorow’s Makers. Am not far enough into it yet to have opinions.)
Now, yesterday was a fiercely busy day—the Malaysian chicken was delicious, by the way—and the terrible void in my soul caused by Failure to Commit was only a dull ache in the background until it was time for me to dash off to a dentist appointment. There was bound to be waiting-room time, and the iPod wasn’t charged (mea culpa), and OH NO, THE PANIC. Hastily, with no time to dither over options, I grabbed two novels off my To-Be-Read bookcase. Yes, the entire bookcase is filled (two rows deep) with the books I’m willing to read: I’m wanting to read: I’m waiting to read.
The problem, you see, is never a dearth of options. It’s the abundance of them.
The two promising titles I grabbed yesterday came readily to hand because they have been beckoning from the queue for months and months now. In fact, here on this blog, more than once, I have announced my desire to read each of them. If I stopped writing about meaning to read them, I could probably have read them both by now. This post alone is probably costing me a chapter.
I never claimed to be sensible.
As chance would have it, one of the two books (neither of which I cracked at the dentist’s office, by the way; astonishingly, there was no wait) was, I discovered later, a title mentioned enthusiastically in the comments of yesterday’s Maudly-books post, over and over again. It also drew a great many cheers on Facebook—including remarks by more than one friend who said she first heard about this particular book from me, and read it, and did indeed adore it—thereby proving my thesis of two paragraphs ago.
This book? I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. I read about it (but not too much) in Noel Perrin’s A Child’s Delight, and ordered a copy based on Perrin’s recommendation. Over two years ago.
I know it was over two years ago because when I finally curled up with Capture after dinner last night, I found a business card tucked inside: the card of a young woman employed by Vienna Beef of Chicago, whom Scott and I met on the San Diego-to-Atlanta leg of our trip to Barcelona in April 2008. It seems I Capture the Castle was the book I took with me for the trip.
It seems I didn’t spend a lot of that trip reading.
Actually, I did read on the way home from Spain—two books about Gaudi. It was a cathedral, not a castle, that captured my heart.
But last night, I did give myself over to I Capture the Castle. Only a chapter: then it was time for LOST. Besides enjoying the charming voice of the narrator, much commented on by lovers of the book, I find myself mightily intrigued by this business of her father, a fine writer, suddenly ceasing to write. I assume we’re going to find out more about that.
(Don’t tell me.)
So, whew, with profound relief I put yesterday’s agony behind me. For another few days, until I finish this book.
• A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy: Faking It—”The problem with McCarry’s arguments (other than that they are unsupported by any facts and force all bloggers into the role of critic, whether it’s a role they want or not) is that not “all” book blogs are part of this “cult of niceness.” And, even if such a cult exists — there are reasons for it beyond a person’s gender. It can be personal preference. It can be professional — there are many reasons why an author may be careful about what they blog or may be sensitive about how criticism is done. It can be because some bloggers see their role as “promotional” for books and authors, so keep their language promotional (aka “nice.”) It can be that life’s too short to blog bad books. Wow, I’ve already listed four reasons for such a “cult” that have nothing to do with my reproductive organs.”
• In Defense of Pollyanna : Robin McKinley—”And this is one of the places where the difference between being a reader and a critic is crucial: a reader can just not like something and keep moving. A critic needs to say, okay, this is why this book is crap, and forge the sticky-dull-achy into something shiny and clean and solid. Criticism is hard. Criticism takes time. Some of us would rather read and keep going. Life is short and full of choices.”
• A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy: This Means War—This one sounds like it’d be up Rose’s alley for sure.
• April Carnival of Children’s Literature
- Sick with longing for it – “it took about 7 pages to realize I was reading something not lofty and poetic but actually beautiful, but about 70 pages to realize that this book was just what I needed. It’s The Winter Vault, by Anne Michaels. And in it I found a much-needed oasis of stillness amid my otherwise chaotic life and frenzied reading habits of late. “
- Russian Lit – “All because of The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, by Elif Batuman. “
- Times two – Yay! News of the sequel to Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.
• Young adult lit comes of age – latimes.com — “I think part of the reason we’re seeing adults reading YA is that often there’s no bones made about the fact that a YA book is explicitly intended to entertain,” said Lizzie Skurnick, 36, author of “Shelf Discovery,” a collection of essays about young adult literature from the 1960s and 1970s.”YA authors are able to take themselves less seriously. They’re able to have a little more fun, and they’re less confined by this idea of themselves as Very Important Artists. That paradoxically leads them to create far better work than people who are trying to win awards.”
• Léna’s Lit Life: EDGES: ARC show & tell—Lena Roy is the granddaughter of Madeleine L’Engle. HT to reader Kay for the heads-up on Lena’s upcoming novel, due out in December from FSG.
• Hopewell Takes On LIFE!: When a book validates your own experience – Review of The Confederate General Rides North by Amanda Gable.
*Cute Boy on a Swing
January 30, 2010 @ 7:13 am | Filed under: Links
January 28, 2010 @ 6:17 am | Filed under: Links
• iPad @ Publisher’s Weekly
“The device was demoed with newspaper content from the New York Times and supports video and audio embedded in the content. Most importantly, the iPad will support the ePub e-book standard and Apple has developed its own e-reader software, iBooks, and will also launch an iBookstore. E-book pricing is reported to be in the $15 range.”
• Confused Texas Education Board bans kids’ author from curriculum | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Texas Regional News
“In its haste to sort out the state’s social studies curriculum standards this month, the State Board of Education tossed children’s author Martin, who died in 2004, from a proposal for the third-grade section. Board member Pat Hardy, R-Weatherford, who made the motion, cited books he had written for adults that contain “very strong critiques of capitalism and the American system.
“Trouble is, the Bill Martin Jr. who wrote the Brown Bear series never wrote anything political, unless you count a book that taught kids how to say the Pledge of Allegiance, his friends said. The book on Marxism was written by Bill Martin, a philosophy professor at DePaul University in Chicago. “
• Cybils: REVIEW Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
“This absorbing story told from the viewpoint of Jason, a boy with autism, would appeal to readers who enjoyed The London Eye Mystery or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, says Abby.”
January 22, 2010 @ 11:02 am | Filed under: Links
• A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy: Covers – LizB reflects upon the Bloomsbury cover controversy, with links to other posts. MotherReader has some thoughts as well.
• Brooklyn Arden: The Best YA You Haven’t Read – more TBR madness. Oh, my list, she will not stop growing.
• 2010 Scott O’Dell Winner « educating alice – another for my TBR pile: The Storm in the Barn.
• The wonderful Anastasia Suen has taken the reins for the Carnival of Children’s Literature. She has almost a full slate of hosts lined up for 2010 already—thanks so much, Anastasia! The January Carnival will be hosted by Jenny’s Wonderland of Books on January 30th You may submit a post by the 29th via the BlogCarnival submission form.
January 18, 2010 @ 6:45 pm | Filed under: Links