about : me : contact : I read : others read : Reviews of books

r e a d i n g r o o m

what I'm reading now

what others are reading

what I read in:
1996 :
1998 : 1999
2000 : 2001
2002 : 2003
2004 : 2005

2006 :


jan : feb : mar apr : may : jun
jul : aug : sep
: 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, June 27, 2002
more of the same but with ebook potential

I'm still reading True to form. Although I really like Elizabeth Berg's earlier stuff, I'm just not getting into this latest book. It's nice enough, but it's just not doing it for me. I read three or four chapters last night and wasn't compelled to keep reading. It's likely that I'll finish it this weekend, if not sooner. It's a coming of age novel, one of my favorite genres, but it seems a bit mundane at this point. I'm not quite half-way through the book at this point.

So I have this great palm now and I'm curious about downloading ebooks to read. I got 2 freebies with my software, Deaver's Empty chair, which I've read, and a Star Trek book that I deleted as soon as I discovered what it was. I like my scifi a bit more original. I have Deaver's Stone Monkey, but haven't read it just yet.... Normally I would be devouring it, but I've just had too many other tempting books thrust in my face. Can you imagine that? I am a huge Deaver fan, but....perhaps its a delayed gratification tactic. I know it will be another year or two until he writes another novel. Okay so I'm excited about all the titles that I found at Peanut Press. The books seem quite expensive though. I'm thinking I may begin with one of the cheapie Modern Library titles that I haven't read. I really wanted Catcher in the Rye, but it's not available in this format. Oh, I've read it several times, but it never seems to stick with me, so I'll try it again. Maybe I can finally grasp the full significance of it, or maybe not. I'm looking at Middlemarch and The country of the pointed firs and other stories. I think there are fewer than five women writers represented in the modern library offerings at this site. However, almost all of Jane Austen's are there, but I'm not a great fan.

Monday, June 24, 2002
my goodness! sex, books, and dentatas?

I bought Strip city: a strippers farewell journey across America several months ago when it first came out, but finally got the urge to read it sometime last week, or maybe it was 2 weeks ago by now. Lily Burana writes a great account of her life as a stripper. Her style is relaxed and easy to read. For the most part I really enjoyed the content of the book, especially when she goes into the history of stripping and visits oh this special museum that I've since forgotten the name of. A few parts are kind of tedious though. She makes all these lists several times. She runs through the gamut of stripper's names, names of strip clubs, and there's something else, but I've since forgotten what. It wasn't quite as meaty as I would have liked. I'm not talking about illicit sex or anything, that part was adequate. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it was more academic. It's very accessible, no doubt, but I'm sure it will be more of a popular work than...well, let's just say that if my public library was "that kinda library" they would have a copy of it before my academic library would. It appeals to the masses, or can, might, could, should.

Anyway.... Along that vein, I decided to take Brothel: Mustang Ranch and its women off my shelf as well. I bought it months ago after it first came out, but again wasn't chomping at the bit to read it. This is one of the books that I took to ALA. I sat reading it in the lobby of the Marriot Marquis. Also read it while I tended the SRRT booth. It shed light onto legalized prostitution in Nevada. I learned a lot. Not a lot I didn't already know or imagine, but it was still quite informative. Alexa Albert paints the characters in a sympathetic light. More about the book. An interview with Albert complete with photos of one of the suites at the Mustang Ranch.

Of course, it was ALA, so I took a handy dandy paperback that would be easy to carry around. What is life if you're bookless? I mean who has time to just sit around and stare aimlessly or eavesdrop on others when you could be reading?! The likeliest candidate for this mission was Snow crash, described as a cyberpunk thriller,which I enjoyed immensely. Yes, I was surprised that I liked it so well. The plot is excellent, the characters are not as developed as they could be, but the technology was truly fascinating. I had never read Neal Stephenson, though I did check out Cryptonomicon, but didn't read more than the first two or three pages. So the main character Hiro Protagonist is way cool, and there's his "sidekick" "Y.T." who has a dentata to protect her from forcible rape. She mentions it several times in the course of events, but only toward the end do we learn how it's weilded. Cool....

I finished Unless last night, and I must say that it was truly excellent. There were so many points that really hit home with me. It's very much an inner life type of novel. You learn so much about what's going on in the protagonist's mind. Okay so I had to read it becuase I enjoy Carol Shields, and also I read about it in last month's issue of Book. Ok I swear that's where I read it, but it's not listed in the table of contents.

A few of Shields' jewels: from page 41, Not surprisingly, she, always looking a little derisoire, believes that women have been enslaved by their possessions. Acquiring and then tending--these eat up a woman's creativity, anyone's creativity. from page 55, Don't hide your dark side fomr yourself, she said to me once, it's what keeps us going forward, that pushing away from the blinding brilliance. She said that, of course, in the tough early days of feminism, and no one expected her to struggle free to merriment. from page 70, She believes that Norah has simply succumbed to the traditional refuge of women without power: she has accepted in its stead complete powerlessness, total passivity, a kind of impotent piety. In doing nothing, she has claimed everything. from page 148, Novels help us turn down the volume of our own interior "discourse," but unless they can provide an alternative, hopeful course, they're just so much narrative crumble. Unless, unless. And then there was a long passage from one of the many letters that Reta writes in her head but never mails, but I don't want to type the whole thing out. Just for reference though, it's on page 164-65.

I started Elizabeth Berg's new novel True to form last night. There aren't any reviews of it online just yet. Unless, you want to read the ones at amazon.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002
reading stats

Just read that statistics gathered by the Romance Writers of America indicate that romance novels constitute 40 percent of all popular fiction purchased in the United States. Guess I'm not helping with those figures. I wonder who is?

Monday, June 10, 2002
reading disappointments

Just now reading about book snobbery in terms of summer reading. Reading as entertainment? Who woulda thunk it? I would have read it last week if...sigh... my internet connection was working. I plowed through several books this weekend.

Finished up Secret life: an autobiography. It was a disappointment. It's touted as the memoir of a sex addict and then 3/4 of the book is about his (Michael Ryan) childhood, which includes his molestation, but honestly, I was expecting something more about his base sexual encounters as an adult. It was interesting, and quite well-written though. It did hold my attention, but I believe that was because I kept waiting for the good parts. I'll admit it, I'm out for the occasional thrill when it comes to reading.

Then I read the Glass Harmonica, a quasi-fantasy/sci-fi book by Louise Marley that has an element of time-travel in it. It was an average read, I must say though that I was slightly disappointed in it as well. I must find a better source for picking good books. I just picked this one off the shelf at the local crap bookstore because the back cover made it sound good. It takes place in 2011 or maybe 2018 and also in 18th century London. These two women play the glass harmonica and have visions of one another. The woman in the past is trying to send a message to the one in the future about the restorative benefits of glass harmonica music so that she can then heal her twin brother of his handicap. Frankly, I like the story when it took place in he 18th century best. If you've not heard the glass harmonica before you can listen to .mp3 files here.

Then I read Marc Shapiro's biography of Susan Sarandon. Called Susan Sarandon: actress-activist, it was another disappointment. I hoped for something more in depth, but this was a very surface treatment of her life. Written entirely from magazine and newspaper articles, he never interviewed Sarandon at all for the book, nor did he interview her friends or family. Granted, I learned more about her life, struggles, and activism, but it was quite obviously just a compilation of magazine articles. Well, now it all makes sense. Apparently he's a biographer to the stars... he's written about Jennifer Love Hewitt & Freddie Prinze, Jr. I tried reading Rain by Kirsty Gunn, it looked & sounded promising, but after the first 15 pages I tossed it because it was just too lyrical for my taste. It's about these two children who entertain themselves at a lake because their parents recover from hangovers everyday and party every night. While I enjoy the "abandoned child" genre, there was too much description of the natural environment and not enough narrative. That really drives me crazy. I'm all for nature, but I prefer to be in it and not read about it. I've found that most writers I've read get too obtuse and I spend entirely too much time trying to imagine the scenery and that gets in the way of actually reading the book.

Next, I picked up Having faith: an ecologist's journey to motherhood (by Sandra Steingraber). I read about two chapters of that before deciding that it would be too scientifically complex for me to follow. A great premise, that of motherhood and ecology, but I guess it was more that I cared to chew.

I picked up the other two Bourne books by Robert Ludlum but they are terribly thick looking and I'm slightly daunted by the thought of reading them. Surprising how a thick paperback doesn't have that same effect on me. I think it's the whole weight issue. I don't want to have to lug around a book that heavy. I also have a biography of Woody Guthrie and a biography of some man, can't recall his name right now, who was once a political conservative and is not any longer. I can't think of any fiction that's handy to read other than books I already own. Guess I should start reading those instead of patronizing my public library so frequently, eh?


Tuesday, June 4, 2002
books in queue

Finished October suite, it was pretty good, but somehow lacking in someway. Didn't seem completely fleshed out, but that didn't really detract from much.

The Bourne identity was good, but not as wickedly twisted as other suspense/spy/thrillers that I've read. It definitely kept my interest though. Jason Bourne doesn't know who he is, well he realizes that he's an amnesiac, yet he's highly skilled in self-defense, etc. He has flashbacks from Nam. The book was written in 1980, so I'm interested to see how it's interpreted in the upcoming movie starring Matt Damon. I'll probably read Ludlum's other Bourne books as well, although it appears as though he died last year.

I did read a fabulous book over the weekend though, The secret life of bees. What's so interesting is that I check it out a few months ago and for some reason decided not to read it. One of my colleagues recommended it to me and I decided to pick it up again. Taking place in SC in 1964, Lily Owens, virtual orphan, accompanies her black housekeeper to town so that she, Rosaleen can register to vote. An altercation occurs and Rosaleen is beaten by white men and jailed. Lily ends up running away from home because her father told her that her mother abandoned her, but ends up breaking Rosaleen out of the hospital where she's under guard. They hitchhike to a neighboring town and find refuge in the home of three beekeeping sisters, August, June, and May. It's quite excellent, but really one of those rather heartwarming women's novels that only certain people can appreciate, me being one of those certain people quite obviously. No doubt I'll be looking for other books by Sue Monk Kidd. I'm currently without book, though. Bookless, you see. That's a very bad place to be.