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what I'm reading now

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: nov : dec

jan : feb : mar
apr : may : jun
jul : aug : sep
oct : nov : dec

jan : feb : mar
apr : may : jun
jul : aug : sep
oct : nov : dec

jan : feb : mar
apr : may : jun
jul : aug : sep
oct : nov : dec

may : jun : jul
aug : sep : oct
nov : dec

Thursday, January 30, 2002
sadness, dismay, and more of the same...

So yes, I cast aside Ex-Libris and now am 7 chapters into Charles Cross's new biography of Kurt Cobain. It's called Heavier than heaven: a biography of Kurt Cobain. Well, I really did like Nirvana. And He was kinda cute in that sad grungey-way. But it's really his association with Courtney Love that makes me what to know more about him. The author is totally sympathetic to Kurt and really builds this case for this sad lonely poor misunderstood little boy who was traumatized by his parent's divorce and remarriages. Most interesting is that he talks about how Kurt was put on Ritalin in the early 80s when that was quite experimental, and how later Kurt & Courtney comiserated about how Ritalin drove them to substance abuse. Hope to finish that up tonight and begin the new Carl Hiaasen book, yippe. He's so completely fun and irreverant. No doubt it will pick me up after I've crashed after such an immersion in Kurt's psyche (it even includes excerts from his journals).

Wednesday, January 29, 2002
must unfortunately decline to read... at this time

I could not continue with Ex-Libris. I got past page 98 but then just could not read more. I really want to read it, especially for the missing book plot, but it's difficult for my mind to stay on any topic these days. But this reviewer from the NYTimes agrees that the book is "... drowning a talented writer." I've been so drowsy for the past few days that my eyes swim when trying to read the words. And my eyes were perfect at my last eye exam a few month ago, so failing eyesight is NOT the problem. Hopefully I borrown Ex-Libris again sometime and actually complete it. I sat at the public library for just a few minutes after a meeting (which has to do with a program identical to the one in Chicago where everyone reads the same book at the same time...it's To kill a mockingbird, btw) today and looked through a few books that were awaiting me.

I read a few pages of Steve Martin's Shopgirl. It seems okay just in the first few pages, it's not immediatedly and obviously poorly written. I shall probably continue on with it, especially since it appears to be under 200 pages. Sleepy i am. Oh, this is a fine anecdote which illustrates the level of my book madness.

I've recently communicated with Marly Youmans, whose books I enjoy immensly. I told her that I had not read her newest book, Wolf Pit because I found Civil War settings rather dreary. Afterwards, I decided that I would read it afterall, so I planned on getting it from the library. While digging out my overdue library books (believe it or not, they quite loudly Moaned when reminded that they must return to their home) I found that I already own the book. I bought it sometime this autumn and completely forgot all about it. I am so scattered.

Tuesday, January 29, 2002
problems posting

My disenchantment with blogger.com has reached a head. I will pop that pesky pimple soon by quitting this half-assed service, and just type my entries straight onto my website, which I'm sure is oodles easier. Are you somebody? was the last book I read of the year 2001, but the first I read of 2002 was Portrait in sepia, by one of my favorite authors, Isabel Allende. Although I really must say that I'm not pleased with her departure from magic realism that used to completely infuse her novels. Portrait is basically a continuation of her previous book, one of those Oprah picks, oh, what was it called? Daughter of fortune, which I read quite some time before it became an Oprah pick, but why must I continually mention that my reading selections precede those of Oprah's? I shall cease. And desist.

Oh, but then I really must say that her latest pick, Fall on your knees is quite old, and in fact, I read it in 1999 and gave it an A+ then.

Back to Allende, I must plug her Eva Luna stories and actually House of the Spirits was quite excellent (the movie was just disappointing), as was the Infinite Plan. I just hope that she returns to her roots, and soon. In fact, I adore her writing to such an extent that I've often thought to name my first daughter (should she ever miraculously appear) Isabel in her honor. Lovely name, regardless of who might share it though. And, I was so thrilled to get a poster of the cover of Portrait at Midwinter, hurrah!

The second book of the new year that I read was Regions of the heart: the triumph and tragedy of Alison Hargreaves. I truly enjoy reading biography and memoir. I suppose that I'm searching for tips on how best to accomplish my goals and live my life, blah blah blah. I like looking at the choices women make and how they effect their lives. But then there is fiction, which I am so passionate about, but that's mostly because of my escapist tendencies. Books are my form of substance abuse. Anyway, the womenclimbing site has a bib;ioography for those who are interested in more books about women who climb. I read the one about the Women's Himalayan expedition to Annapurna years ago and bought one of the shirts (the baby blue was only available at the time) several years after the fact. It is much loved and much worn, sporting all sorts of bleach spots and paint, etc. Too bad I couldn't help with their fund-raising efforts. I digress, back to books. I had never heard of Alison Hargreaves prior to reading the book. It was okay, not the best biography I've read, but interesting nonetheless.

Next I read Look at me by Jennifer Egan. It was really quite good, and I recommend it highly but can't quite give a plot synopsis at the moment. I had emphathy for the characters, especially Charlotte the younger. Egan's previous book, Invisible circus is on my shelf waiting to be read. I must admit that I did see the movie first though, especiallly since it starred Cameron Diaz, yowza.

Oh, then I read Body of a girl, which I thought would be really great, and it was just okay. Story about a news reporter who arrives at a crime scene finding that the victim bears a striking resemblance to her. Also goes to Great Lenghts to solve the story. Needed more fleshing out, but was an adequate start for a beginner...I think it's Leah Stewart's first.

Oh, then there was Gathering blue by Lois Lowry. I do enjoy reading the ocassional YA book, and since I read the Giver some time ago I felt I should follow up with this one. Great one for YA about a differently-abled girl who makes a difficult choice.

Then I finished Some things that stay, which was really quite good, well done I say! Sarah Willis is also a poet, so maybe that makes all the differnece, adds a special dimension to her writing, though sometimes I find that characteristic really turns me off from a writer's works. Okay so it was great, how many more times should I say that? I've actually been rather impressed with the books I've been reading lately, they've all left me with a fine feeling, that I didn't waste my time, that I learned something about the "human condiiton", ultimately leaving me with the desire to write each author and thank them for their vision, talent, etc. and what the text meant to me. Authors certainly need encouragement. Everybody does, you see. Ceertainly as a librarian, I would love to get a note from some adoring fan who felt that the way I cataloged that e-journal record was especially brilliant. Not likely, but still, I hope....

So then, now I'm in the middle of reading 4 different books: French Broad by Wilma Dykeman, Cherokee Women by Theda Perdue, Ex-Libris by Ross King, and Invisible sign of my own by Aimee Bender. I shall write more about each of those as I finish them. And I apologize for any problems you may have in reading this because of weird formatting. I'm learning dreamweaver and willl soon be changing my blog to that instead of going through blogger at all. Please just bear with me. Thanks. Read in Peace.

Ok, I guess a PS is in order. I also read Shutterbabe, (another link if you care and a 3rd from photobetty) but I can't quite place it in the queque. When did I read it? Hmmmm, will have to go back and reconstruct that reading event. But, was great memoir about a photojournalist, Deborah Copaken Kogan, now that's a mouthful. Great story, lots of action and adventure and she was pretty candid about her sex life, which is what I like in a memoir. I don't want like all the gory details, but people are sexual beings and when that aspect does not appear in biography or memoir, there is something suspect with the endeavor.

Tuesday, January 8, 2002
a prayer for chicken legs

I wrote this very many days ago, 29 December to be exact, but have experienced redundant problems in posting to my ftp server.

I read two books based in Alabama recently, and I must say it was not on purpose, merely coincidence. The first, Ava's man by Rick Bragg, was really good. I'm sure you will want to read all about his "southern grit". I enjoy reading about the "little people" so to speak. The women and men who really are the backbone of our country. One of my favorite lines though was from page 251, "I would take it, because no matter how full you are, one more chicken leg will not hurt you if it has already been prayed over."

The other book I read was written by Lois Battle--who quite surprisingly does not have a website of her own, the first I've read of hers, methinks. Really the only thing I found that I was halfway interested in linking to my page was a bibliography of her work, but it was on this nasty unicorn background, simply quite putrid. The Florabama Ladies' Auxiliary & Sewing Circle is one of those feel-good bands of women stories, though not the best I've ever read. It was quite good, but not meaty enough for me. It would be a pleasant read for beach or airplane though. The best quote from that book appears on page 178, "Cause my mama always told me, 'men are like linoleum: You lay 'em right you can step on 'em for years'." Not that I'm an advocate of stepping on men, or laying them for that matter. It was just the cleverest line within the book.

I did finish reading Cold Comfort Farm, just before those two, and then it was shown on oxygen the other evening. I taped it and then watched it through again. Such a simple, fun tale. I've wanted to read Are you somebody? (Here's an excerpt from the New York Times) for some time now but only got around to the book today (29th). Nuala O'Faolain's memoir was sad and quite blunt. Though at times engrossing, I can really say that it let me down just a bit. But, who is to say that my memoir would not be just as tedious at times? There is also a reading group guide to the book, or at least I think that's what it is. I'm not sure what I'll read next, but I did get 3 books for Christmas. Allende's Portrait in sepia, the new Edna St. Vincent Millay biography, and a huge tome of Washington County, Tennessee history.