Thursday, June 22, 2006

Drunken Blogging!

I really must have had a post by this name before, but darn if it isn't accurate! It's 7:45 on a Thursday night, and I've had half a bottle of wine with dinner and I'm 30 now, THIRTY!, so why shouldn't I share my burbling with you, my adoring public?

You should read some Lord Peter Whimsey, and maybe some Story of the Trapp Family Singers. If you loved The Sound of Music, and you have a tolerance for saccharine, you will love the latter. The first half is the movie, and the second half is the charming story of the family learning English in America and owning a farm and singing singing singing. Yay Trapps! No "von" though, which is sad.

Lord Peter Whimsey! I'm reading Strong Poison, which is the premier of his lady friend. It's funny, though half of the dialogue consists of quotes from classic lit-rit-chaw. Like Jeeves and Wooster, only less antic-y and more plotty. Good stuff!

Went to the library today with Sheila, who has been indoctrinated by me (yay Sheila!) and will be reserving her first book online shortly. Welcome to my world. Anne Lamott (whose name I always spell wrong when I don't look it up, so sorry Anne!) and Lois Lowry and Madeline L'Engle. I want to read also Kazuo Ishiguro and also Ursula LeGuin. I have those books. Let's go Sharon! Yay!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Busy Bees

Work is cuckoobananas insane, so I've been away from the blog, and I apologize.

I also realized the other day that I was reading a lot of books at once, even by my standards. It's pretty typical for me to have three going at once--one for the train, one for the bedside, and an audiobook. But this past week, I've actually had a train book, two bedside books, a living room book and two audio books. I think that's it, though I could even be underestimating.

Brenda tells me to give up on Cell, which is one of the audiobooks. It came in two parts, and I finished the first part. It's mediocre and creeping slightly downward as the zombies start getting smart and you realize that there's some sort of diabolical plan behind what had seemed to be a zombie-themed disaster novel. It would have been better that way. I've already given you the "King needs an editor" rant, so I'll spare you that one, but I've been advised to stop reading before the characters reach Maine (they appear to be in Exeter, NH right now). Being more than halfway done, I don't know if I have a choice. The other audiobook, to which I switch when the pantomiming sentient zombies get to be too much for my delicate constitution, is The Code of the Woosters, in which occur such delightful antics as the pinching of a cow-creamer. I will leave it at that.

Trans-Sister Radio, by Chris Bohjalian, which I finished not half an hour ago, was very good--Bohjalian sometimes ends up being lighter than he means to be (not humorous, but not weighty), but his tendency to concentrate on the personal even when his plots are sociological and political has served him well. My only quibble with this book is with the awfulness of that title--I really was hoping that it would justify its corniness, but though it's a book about a transsexual and those hwo love her, and NPR plays a role, I just can't let that title slide.

Let's see, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers is getting dryer by the moment, but it's fast, too, so I'm letting it go. Everything that happens in The Sound of Music is over halfway through, and the rest is about being a bunch of Austrian singers in America during the war--learning the langugage, complaining about Americans, admiring Americans, etc. Harry Potter's been on the back burner since I put it down just before what I could tell was going to be a frustrating scene--Hermione is either going to be preachy, right, or both, and I couldn't bear any of those things right now.

Oh, and A Girl of the Limberlost was just lovely. Not as funny as Anne of Green Gables, but as sweet and charming as Little Women. God, there are so many good books in the world. I spent a few weeks intimidated by my pile, but I'm right back in the game.

Which is lucky, because the next book club pick (the name of which escapes me at the moment), is described on its back cover as "post-modern." Angels and ministers of grace defend us.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Uh oh, I'm THAT GUY

If you had heard the rant about overdue library books that I used to give. I had a really good plan to create a crack team of elite due date enforcers--this team would appear at your home in their long black coats, wearing black leather gloves, and very politely and slightly ominously request that you return your overdue books. Certain readers might recognize the KAOS Death Squad led by Dewitt Clinton (yeah, you read that right) from back in the day.

I imagined the embarassment of having this three-person squad in their special black van show up to demand their library books of all things would encourage prompt returns and/or renewals.

And now, dear readers, I am that person! Part of my soul awaits the appearance of the Squad on my doorstep. Yes, I have to admit it: I've had two overdue books in the past three weeks.

I have no defense. I tried to renew but couldn't, I didn't notice how fast the date had advanced. There's no excuse; I was late. I work two blocks from the library and couldn't return them. I manage my account online and couldn't renew them. I am, in fact, That Guy.

I would like to apologize to the public, the library system, and the world at large. And to Brenda, because I teased her so mercilessly about her overdue books. There too go I.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Back in the Saddle

Okay, I'm getting back in the swing. I'd like to thank the Most Fun Book Ever, Shining Through by Susan Isaacs. I usually reread it about once a year, but it's been more than a year at this point. When I started, I was worried it wouldn't hold up--Susan Isaacs has, more recently, joined the club of Talented Writers Who Need Editors to Stop Them from Overdoing Their Best Schtick (founder and chairman: Stephen King). When I started Shining Through, I started to see some of the overkill I've noticed in her previous books. But I was overreacting--it's just a very casual conversational style, and it's a lot of fun.

I also finished The History of Love for book club, which I admired. I enjoyed some of it very much, though I'm not 100% sure what it's about (love, maybe? It's in the title, after all). And The Brief History of the Dead, which I was listening to as an audiobook. I enjoyed that very much, though the ending was one of the most WTF? moments I've had in a long time. I blame the audiobook format, especially on mp3--you don't know the ending is coming till it comes. So I'm listening along, waiting for some upshot--and it ends. Again, I think its depiction of heaven is kind of corny. Also, there is a LONG dream-like sequence near the end that was as boring as listening to someone else's dream. But I did enjoy it, very much.

And now, the line-up! From the library: Strong Poison, by Dorothy L. Sayers (recommended as a good place to begin the Lord Peter Wimsy series, though I have mixed luck with mysteries); The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (I suspect this is going to be hard to read, sad and personal. But I've read about the author and she seems like an amazing woman); Trans-Sister Radio by Chris Bohjalian (his books are very thoughtful, but a little much; I think I'll be okay if I keep that in mind going in). From the shelves: The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (how long have I been planning to read that?), The Five Fists of Science, Matt Fraction (it's a comic, but I'm excited). Then maybe something else--I've got a lot to choose from.

And away we go!