Thursday, September 23, 2010

Currently reading

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What are you reading right now? What made you choose it? Are you enjoying it? Would you recommend it? (And, by all means, discuss everything, if you’re reading more than one thing!)

Let's see. Of all the books in progress right now, I'm furthest along in J.C. Hallman's In Utopia. I have maybe a chapter and a half to go, and I ought to finish it (this weekend, maybe?) and write my review instead of allowing it to languish any longer. Instead, I've started Hallman's earlier book, The Devil Is a Gentleman: Exploring America's Religious Fringe, and then stopped, out of guilt, because I haven't finished In Utopia. Whenever I do finish it, I'll be recommending it.

I've read three essays, the ones dealing with reading and writing, in Jonathan Franzen's How to Be Alone since the weekend. I've read the first story, the Steve Almond one on poker players and their tells, from Best American Short Stories 2010. Fun so far for the both.

I'm reading Julie Orringer's The Invisible Bridge with a friend. Three chapters in, just started it yesterday, and I can already tell it's a good one.

I'm reading Amos Oz's memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness, because I was so impressed with David Grossman's To the End of the Land last month and wanted to read another book set in Israel, but it's kind of on the back burner right now. As is Georges Simenon's Pedigree, although it's in my book bag and I'm looking forward to getting back to it--if I don't just start from scratch all over again (only one chapter in).

And last, but not least, I'm reading Henry James's The Ambassadors, so that I can read and properly appreciate Cynthia Ozick's soon-to-be-released Foreign Bodies. Maria Gostrey has just joined Strether in Paris and Chad has yet to make his appearance. Sometimes I know precisely what's going on, and sometimes it's all a bit fuzzy. We won't get into the percentages of how much time I'm spending in either of the those two camps.

What are you currently reading? Do you think I'd like it?

Booking Through Thursday

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: St. Petersburg

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Life wells up and alters and adds. Even things in a book-case change if they are alive; we find ourselves wanting to meet them again; we find them altered.

--Virginia Woolf, "Modern Fiction," 1925

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Freedom: The Reading Habits of Fictional Characters


Richard was wearing a black T-shirt and reading a paperback novel with a big V on the cover.

~~~~

She ate stale doughnuts and turned some pages of Hemingway until it was eleven and even she could see that the math wasn't going to work.

~~~~

She sat in Dorothy's favorite armchair, reading War and Peace at Walter's long-standing recommendation, while the men played chess.

~~~~

She took War and Peace out to the grassy knoll, with the vague ancient motive of impressing Richard with her literacy, but she was mired in a military section and kept reading the same page over and over.

~~~~

For sheer respite from herself, she picked up War and Peace and read for a long time.

The autobiographer wonders if things might have gone differently if she hadn't reached the very pages in which Natasha Rostov, who was obviously meant for the goofy and good Pierre, falls in love with his great cool friend Prince Andrei. Patty had not seen this coming. Pierre's loss unfolded, as she read it, like a catastrophe in slow motion. Things probably would not have gone any differently, but the effect those pages had on her, their pertinence, was almost psychedelic. She read past midnight, absorbed now even by the military stuff, and was relieved to see, when she turned the lamp off, that the twilight finally was gone.

~~~~

"This is D.H. Lawrence," Richard said impatiently.

"Yet another author I need to read."

"Or not."

~~~~

She cleaned the house, read half of a Joseph Conrad novel Walter had recommended, and didn't buy any more wine.

~~~~

He sat down at his ancient enamel-top table to distract himself from the taste of his dinner by reading Thomas Bernhard, his new favorite writer.

~~~~

Upstairs, in his corner room, he found Jonathan reading John Stuart Mill and watching the ninth inning of a World Series game.

~~~~

"I'm sorry, this book? This book is ungodly boring."

He took cover behind a chair. "What's it about?"

"I thought it was about slavery. Now I'm not even sure what it's about." She showed him two facing pages of dense prose. "The really funny thing? This is the second time I'm reading it. It's on like half the syllabuses at Duke. Syllabi. And I still can't figure out what the actual story is. You know, what actually happens to the characters."

"I read Song of Solomon for school last year, " Joey said. "I thought it was pretty amazing. It's like the best novel I ever read."

~~~~

He took out the novel his own sister had given him for Christmas, Atonement, and struggled to interest himself in its descriptions of rooms and plantings, but his mind was on the text that Jonathan had sent him that afternoon: hope it's fun looking at a horse's ass all day.

~~~~

The English couple grabbed the next two seats, and Joey found himself sitting toward the rear with the mother and her daughter, who was reading a young-adult horse novel.

~~~~

He got his best friend, Mary Siltala, to drive him down to the lake house with a duffel bag of clothes, ten gallons of house paint, his old one-speed bike, a secondhand paperback copy of Walden, the Super-8 movie camera that he'd borrowed from the high-school AV Department, and eight yellow boxes of Super-8 film.

--Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

Friday, September 17, 2010

Latest book stack


I'm trying my best to limit the new books coming into the house, but I'm not living up to expectations (my husband's). The stack looks decidedly shorter than usual this month, but that's simply because I'm stockpiling them on the Kindle.

From the top:

Georges Simenon. The Man Who Watched Trains Go By. Because I couldn't wait until I'd finished Pedigree to buy another Simenon reissued by NYRB.

Carla Damron's Death in Zooville. Third in the Caleb Knowles mystery series by Columbia, S.C., writer.

E.C. Spykman's Terrible, Horrible Edie. I've already squeed about this one.

Alison Johnson's The Eleventh Hour Can't Last Forever. Review copy. A memoir about growing up with a gold-hoarding father.

Karen Joy Fowler's What I Didn't See and Other Stories. Includes a Shirley Jackson Award and  two Nebula Award winners.

Frances Osborne's The Bolter. Biography of Idina Sackville,  who inspired the creation of "the Bolter" in Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love. From the book exchange in the staff lounge.

Not pictured: Rhoda Janzen's Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, deep in the recesses of my book bag. For book club.

And for the Kindle:

Edith Wharton's The Children. A Slave of Golconda suggested title from a few months back.

Elisabeth Tova Bailey's The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. For next month's book club--my choice. (Bet they'll never let me choose again.)

Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story. Someone on a message board wrote about attending a Shteyngart reading and he came across as someone I'd really enjoy.

This weekend I'm going to focus on finishing China Mieville's Kraken. I've been parceling it out all week in little bits of time here and there. I think it's time to get serious with it: it's the end(s) of the world, afterall.

Happy weekend, everyone.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Forgotten Treasure - Mary Lee Settle


. . . he wondered in the dark if it was only he, and men like him who were fated to be the know nothings, to question, to see beyond their attitudes, but not to speak.

~~~

"Oh, I am a lady and I'm not supposed to know anything. Ladies and slaves, look after their wants and rule their minds and keep them innocent. You men!"

She laughed again. "It's a woman's joke. Ladies always know the father of the mulattos on the next plantation. Never their own. How do you think we feel?" She waved her hand, pushing at him blindly. "I don't care for your fine ideals. I reckon women are more consarned with the facts. Lord God"--she sighed--"we have to be. You. . ."

--Mary Lee Settle, Know Nothing (1960)

Know Nothing is an antebellum novel written by the National Book Award-winning and PEN/Faulkner Award-founding author Mary Lee Settle who--get this--dropped out of college and auditioned for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind before moving to New York to work as an actress and model.

Despite a writing career that spanned 50 years, she appears to be a relative unknown in the book blogging community. That's unfortunate. Several years back I read more than 200 pages in her I, Roger Williams before setting it aside--too much Williams in Jacobean London, not enough colonial New England as I'd expected. But I gave her another chance in 2006 with The Scapegoat, which I thought a fantastic book. I've seen no mention of any Settle novel in the blogs since.

Anyway.

Know Nothing, just as fantastic as The Scapegoat, proceeds it in The Beulah Quintet, the series of novels, written out of order (and which I'll most likely continue reading out of order), focusing on the families who settle in the Alleghenies of West Virginia. It begins in 1837, with an eight-year-old Johnny Catlett, thrown in the river by his father as a means of teaching him how to swim. It ends in 1861, with Johnny, now fatherless and a captain in the confederate army, "swept up as a swimmer by the sudden flood of fear, but still with his head above water." In between Settle shows us what it was like to be a slave owner, a slave, a poor relation or a wife treated as a perpetual outsider by her husband's extended live-in family. Any resemblance to "Gone With the Wind" is an ironic one.

Settle regarded herself as an "archaeologist of language," one who researched primary sources to learn exactly how each of her characters should speak. Is it socially acceptable to use the word "ain't"? Who has more social standing--the woman who refers to her "pin money" or to her "egg money"?

And getting beyond language into the nuances of behavior, can a genteel mother survive the tackiness of a daughter approaching the mourners' bench during a tent revival? Is having new furnishings instead of hand-me-downs a sign of social inferiority? Can a man be both an abolitionist and a gentleman? (And why will a reader such as myself find it harder to forgive a character for a single witnessed act of abuse against an animal (a cat) than for that perpetuated by the same character over the decades against his fellow humans?)

If I'm making it all sound too academic, I apologize. It really isn't. Know Nothing is at heart the story of thwarted love--Melinda, the penniless orphaned cousin, is raised by Johnny's family, who won't be particularly happy if the two wind up together. And when Johnny is reluctant to commit-- "Cain't you give me time, Melinda?"-- Melinda, who knows the typical fate of an unmarried aging extraneous woman in the house, allows herself to be persuaded into marrying besmitten fourth-cousin Crawford, whose fatal flaw is to have no flaws. Can good come from it?

I've just received a used copy of Settle's Choices, a novel not in The Beulah Quintet but one whose main character bears the same name, and no doubt the same lineage, as Melinda in Know Nothing. That's my next Settle before I delve back into the Quintet.

(This post originally ran on August 19, but seemed too appropriate for today's BBAW prompt not to repeat. Since then, Danielle has begun reading Choices, which makes me very happy.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

And then there was a flash of light

So I got up this morning, turned on the computer, and it exploded.

Or rather, there was a flash and then a big nothing that wouldn't stop.

L. suspects the motherboard. I suspect I won't be finishing my BBAW post for today later this evening since our other computer has issues involving internet connections: it's opposed.

Feel free to go to Terri's blog and read my interview with her. I admitted to being a commie slacker, among other things. 

Now I have to go to a meeting.

Bye

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An interview with Terri of Book Speak

 

I had the pleasure of plying Terri from Book Speak with questions for today's interview swap portion of BBAW. Terri lives in Memphis, is a self-described hardcore reader, and a book blogger who recently celebrated her first anniversary. She's frugal and green, a homeschool mom and one of the founders behind Books And, a virtual touring company that promotes authors of color.

Our e-mail conversation:

Could you tell us a bit about yourself. About your blog.

I'm a mom, wife, student, vegetarian, and a bunch of other boring stuff. My book blog is the anchor of my website BrownGirl Speaks. I read and blog about works of literary fiction predominantly by authors of color.

You homeschool. Has this made it easier to turn your son into a reader? Were you a hardcore reader from an early age or did you have to develop the taste for books over time? Do you come from a family of readers or is reading something that set you apart?

My son is a reluctant reader. He reads very well once I can get him to do it. I hope that he eventually finds himself unable to function without books in his life like myself.

I, on the other hand, have always been a book fiend. Ironically, I don't come from a family of readers. When I was four I would read the signs at every business we'd pass whenever in the car so, my parents started buying books and taking me to the library and I've had a book in my hand ever since. It's just an innate passion for me.

Let's talk book selection. You read a lot of authors I've never even heard of. How do you find out about them? And, since you're frugal, how do you get your hands on them? Are you more a library user or a buyer of books? How have your tastes in books changed over the years?

I discover my book selections in a variety of ways. I get recommendations from Amazon and other bloggers/readers. I check Publishers Weekly's upcoming releases and sometimes the author or publisher will contact me for a review. Since I became a book blogger, I acquire books from publishers or authors for reviews and when I purchase them it's mainly from used book stores or getting them free on BookMooch. Occasionally I use the library, but I've found myself buying some of those books second hand as well.

My taste in books got a complete makeover in college. I went from solely reading English classics like everything by the Bronte sisters to solely reading Black authors to solely reading all authors of color. And my reading taste is still evolving. . .

Did you read other book blogs before you started or discover them afterwards?

Actually I did not. I thought there might be a few out there but was in for quite the surprise to find this whole subculture of book bloggers. I felt silly for not spending my first four years of blogging about books like I was constantly nudged to do. So, I discovered all of my fellow book bloggers after I started.

Do you enjoy participating in reading challenges?

I do enjoy reading challenges and decided to start one of my own on the fly this year. I'm already planning for what I'll do next year. I like giving myself a goal and focusing on a theme or genre, especially ones that make me expand.

You seem much more adept at social media than me. I managed to set up a Twitter account a year or so back and I've never even signed on. I don't remember the password. Am I missing out?

Social media has its place. I've got my Twitter on auto pilot most of the time because I have so much going on with being a homeschool mom. I think it can definitely help expand your audience and retain the one you have. It's good to check in sometimes on Twitter to do some real time chatting. It can be as time consuming as you'd like and this I know is a concern for those hesitant about getting into social media.

Are you pro-marketing and branding?

I am for marketing and branding but done lightly. I don't care for hardcore marketing. Just let it happen organically in its own time. Those pushy blogs/websites seem insincere and are not looking to build a following because they have something to say but because they want to build revenue.

Are there some favorites, or simply some books you wish you could convince/require everyone to read? How much influence do you have over what your friends read?

One book that I've found myself recently recommending over and over is Marlon James' The Book of Night Women. It's set on an 1800's Jamaican sugar cane plantation. He beautifully reveals the status of women both enslaved and seemingly free and their often unknown power. Some others I frequently push are Let the Lion Eat Straw by Ellease Southerland, Girl In Translation by Jean Kwok, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, and Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler.

I think my book recommendations carry quite a bit of weight with my friends. I've always been "the" reader in my circle and I've yet to recommend a dud.

Any controversial subjects out there that make you want to rant?

Yes, I'm turned off by e-readers and audio books. I've been called a book snob because of it. I get the convenience of them and that e-readers are space savers. However, I love the tactile experience of books. I need to feel and SMELL those pages.

Describe your dream library. How does reality compare to it?

My books are organized in some quirky system only I can understand and is an aversion to those thinking they'll just come into my sanctuary to rummage through and poach my books. There's a nice sized window for natural lighting and an oversized chair and ottoman covered in organic cotton or bamboo. I haven't nailed down a color scheme for my retreat.

My reality is not in the same galaxy with books stacked on two sets of bookshelves two rows deep, on the floor, and under tables with no rhyme or reason other than "have read" and "tbr". And forget about a comfortable, quiet spot to read.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Worldwide Freedom Giveaway


As part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I'm giving away a paperback UK-version (NOT Claudius's very own 10th birthday copy) of Jonathan Franzen's Freedom. And, because my daughter waltzed through customs in the Moscow airport without any difficulty Friday afternoon carrying her own just-purchased copy of Freedom  (which kinda blows my raised-during-the-Cold-War mind), the drawing for this one's worldwide.

Contest runs through September 24. I'll draw a name on Saturday, September 25. The winner will have until October 1 to send me his/her address, or else this Freedom's forfeited.

Happy BBAW, everyone!

~~~
". . . maybe it’s just me—but when I connect with a good book, often by somebody dead, and they are telling me a story that seems true, and they are telling me things about myself that I know to be true, but I hadn’t been able to put together before—I feel so much less alone than I ever can sending e-mails or receiving texts.  . . . That’s how I perceive my mission as a writer—and particularly as a novelist—is to try to provide a bridge from the inside of me to the inside of somebody else."

--Jonathan Franzen, interview with Gregg LaGambina

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!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bookish Mad Libs

It's Friday! Let's go with something brainless.

Mad libs, based on this year's reading:

In school I was: The Possessed

People might be surprised I’m: In the Year of Jubilee

I will never be: To the End of the Land

My fantasy job is: Composed

At the end of a long day I need: Private Life

I hate it when: The British Museum is Falling Down

Wish I had: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

My family reunions are: Things We Didn't See Coming

At a party you’d find me with: The Little Stranger

I’ve never been to: The Big Rock Candy Mountain

A happy day includes: Freedom

Motto I live by: Memento Mori

On my bucket list: Overhead in a Balloon

In my next life, I want to be: Orlando

Monday, September 06, 2010

Nashville Chrome by Rick Bass

Montanan Rick Bass went to Nashville a few years back, angling for an interview with country music star Keith Urban. The interview, intended primarily to impress his then Urban-smitten young daughters, proved elusive, as might be expected, since Bass has a reputation for award-winning literary fiction, for nature and environmental writings, instead of celebrity puff-pieces.

But it wasn't a wasted trip east. PhotobucketBass soon found himself sidetracked into talking with former country-pop crossover star Maxine Brown, who'd achieved chart-topping success in the 1950s and early '60s as part of the singing trio the Browns. Bass would wind up writing Nashville Chrome, his just-released novel, based on the lives and careers of Maxine, the eldest, her brother Jim Ed, and her middle sister Bonnie.

The Brown children grew up poor during the Great Depression, helping out in their father's sawmill in a hardscrabble swamp in Arkansas.

The secret to his lumber's quality lay in his children's ability to discern pitch. At the end of almost every lunch break, the Brown children would be summoned to the saw-sharpening table, where the newly honed blade would be placed on an axle with a motor and then spun rapidly, as if being made ready for a cut. . . . The sound they listened for -- the perfect blade -- held an eerie resonance, the faint sirenlike echo of a high harmonic that was little different from the tempered harmony the Browns were already learning to achieve with their voices.

The children could imitate any performer heard on the radio. When Maxine  secretly records Jim Ed imitating Hank Snow and sends a tape to the local radio station, he's invited to sing in a talent show; within a couple months, the children have formed the trio the Browns and are performing regularly. Fabor Robinson presents them with a contract after a show; they naively sign away all their rights, soon making their exploiter a multimillionare and leaving themselves with only what he deigns to pass on to them, which isn't much.

They may be Fabor's slaves, but success-wise they're equal to, and usually above, the likes of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Bonnie has a sweet romance with Elvis before fame changes him. A pre-Ringo Starr quartet of Beatles spends a week with the Browns in an effort to learn how to duplicate their sublime harmonies (they can't). Jim Ed is as popular with the ladies after the shows as Elvis is, and Maxine falls first into the bottle, a predisposition she's inherited from her father, then, an unhappy marriage. And, too quickly, their star sinks below the horizon. Bonnie marries, happily, eagerly, a man with damaged hearing. Jim Ed goes solo. Maxine plots a come-back and drinks a lot.

It's unfortunate then that Bass seems as enamored with the Browns and their "no accident of circumstance" musical ability as his daughters undoubtedly were with Keith Urban; I grew weary of the repeat-play cosmic beat of fate and destiny to explain their extraordinary talent. Bass's style keeps us back, at a remove from all the interesting stuff that's happening, distancing us from these mythic performers he admires so much when he could have shown them to us up close.

Because, even more unfortunate than that repetition, is the fact that Bass too often gives short shrift to the rudiments of fiction. The language in Nashville Chrome is lovely, but comes across as that of a finely-crafted essay. Where's the dialogue, where're the actual scenes? Why write a novel if you're not going to put your characters (performers all!) in action, let the reader hear them speak, or think in their own words? I will admit to often appreciating a writer's connective tissue (as I think of it) between the scenes more than the actual scenes themselves, and heaven knows I'm not that interested in plot, but I don't think fictional trappings should be dispensed with nearly altogether--unless a writer's working in the experiemental or meta realm-- if you're going to call it a novel.

Perhaps Bass set out to do no more than to polish his prose until it shone like chrome, a literary counterpart to the Browns' own smooth sound. Perhaps it simply was a marketing decision to publish Nashville Chrome as a novel instead of putting it out as creative nonfiction. He mentions in the afterward that he has a new editor. I wonder.

I've been reading Rick Bass for a good 20 years -- "Wild Horses" in The Watch, his first collection of short stories, is still one of the most affecting stories I've ever read. Frankly, though, if it hadn't been for my previous experiences with Bass, I'd have left Nashville Chrome unfinished -- a shame, since the novel hits a late stride in the final third when there's less telling and more showing. An elderly Maxine, living on Social Security, alone and in poor health, wants to assure her musical legacy by locating a filmmaker willing to make a movie about her life (all country stars get a movie, she reckons). She places an ad on the Piggly Wiggly bulletin board and before long a young man with a vision as big as her own -- if not quite in synch with it -- enters the picture and expands Maxine's narrowing life.

If you're new to Bass, I'd start anywhere but here; try The Ninemile Wolves for his nonfiction, or The Lives of Rocks or The Watch for his short stories. If you're interested in the Browns, Maxine Brown has written an autobiography.

And I hear she's on Facebook.

(I reviewed a pre-pub e-galley of this book.)

Saturday, September 04, 2010

She back! She's back in print!



E. C. Spykman's Edith Cares! The New York Review Children's Collection brought her back! Eric Hanson illustrated the new cover of Terrible, Horrible Edie (you can check out his evolution of Edie at A Different Stripe) and thank goodness that I'm still within my free-month trial period for Amazon Prime, because I ordered it immediately.

Thank you, JudyBG, for leaving a comment Thursday on my Celebrating E.C. Spykman post from July 2005. Somehow Edie (sneaky devil that she is) managed to get herself republished back in June without any awareness on my part.

I've got my fingers crossed that Edie on the Warpath (read an excerpt here) will follow, and that maybe the NYRB will loop back and republish Spkyman's first books in the series, A Lemon and a Star and The Wild Angel not long after that.

Even more links about Edie, Jane, Ted and Hubert:

Reviews at time of publication

Personal bio of E.C. Spkyman

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

R.I.P. V

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Ah, September. Time for Carl's fifth R.I.P. challenge.

I don't know how many of these I'll get through by the end of October, but I'll be reading from the pool below:

China Mieville's Kraken and The City and the City. Giant octopus and general weirdnesses.

Thomas Mullen's The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers. Bullets and bandits.

Laura Lippman's I'd Know You Anywhere. Kidnappings and death row.

Jon Clinch's Kings of the Earth. Not so sure this one really qualifies, but Stewart O'Nan calls it an Upstate Gothic.

Kate Atkinson's Started Early, Took My Dog. Jackson Brodie!

Matt Haig's The Radleys. A family of vampires.

Michael Sims's Dracula's Guest. Lots and lots of Victorian vampire stories.

Cherie Priest's Boneshaker. Steampunk zombies.