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magniloquent \mag-NIL-uh-kwunt\ adjective
: speaking in or characterized by a high-flown often bombastic style or manner
quodlibet \KWAHD-luh-bet\ noun
1 : a philosophical or theological point proposed for
disputation; also : a disputation on such a point
7.23.1904 Ice cream introduced as World's Fair in St. Louis, Mo.
7.22 Tom Robbins
Kilkenny cats (kil-KEN-ee kats) noun
People who fight relentlessly till their end.
[From a pair of proverbial cats in Kilkenny, Ireland, who fought till only their tails were left.]
7.20 Cormac McCarthy
putsch \PUCH ("U" is as in "butcher")\ noun
: a secretly plotted and suddenly executed attempt to overthrow a government.
mendacious \men-DAY-shus\ adjective
: given to or characterized by deception or falsehood or divergence from absolute truth
7.15 Iris Murdoch
philodox (FIL-uh-doks) noun
Someone who loves his or her own opinion; a dogmatic person.
[From Greek philodoxos, from philo- (love) + doxa (glory, opinion). Ultimately from Indo-European root dek- (to take or accept) that's also the root of words such as paradox, orthodox, doctor, disciple, discipline, doctrine, dogma, decorate, dignity, and disdain.]
verecund (VER-i-kund) adjective
[From Latin verecundus, from vereri (to respect). Ultimately from Indo-European root wer- (to watch out for) that's also the source of such words as revere, aware, award, wary, warden, lord, steward, wardrobe, panorama, and guard.]
"Librarians are going to have to 'get over' (as
the vernacular is these days) our verecund ways about talking out loud."
7.12 Pablo Neruda & Henry David Thoreau
7.10 Alice Munro
7.8 Anna Quindlen
7.7 Margaret Walker & Jill McCorkle
7.6 Beatrix Potter
July 29, 2004
Neglectful of books in progress as usual, I watched Amish in the City last night. My only comment is that surely they could have found "city" kids more sensitive to issues of difference. But then what fun would it be?
Actually, the last few days, and weeks in fact, I've been reading about O. Winston Link. Just finished up an encyclopedia article on him for a reference on 20th century photographers that Routledge is publishing. I love Current Biography. The yearbook, in which they compile all the articles that appear in the monthly issues, is in my top five list of favorite references, which I have yet to order, though the New York Public Library Desk Reference and Merriam-Webtser are also on that list.
I have this Folk bags book that is really not for reading. I got it from the library and I plan to photocopy a few patterns from it for 2 or 3 bags that I might someday be interested in knitting.
July 28, 2004
What ultimately turned me off of reading Outside magazine is that the stories were so unapologetically male-oriented. The tunnel vision of the editors, writers, etc., galled me after a while, and I let my subscription lapse. That was about ten years ago. So it's astonishing that I'm reading a collection of essays by Hampton Sides, an Outside editor at large. What first appealed to me was that Sides is from Memphis. I've seen the book in stores and in various book club mailings, and I suppose I thought it was some kind of RV tour of America, hence its name Americana, but in reality it is something quite different. I don't normally read reviews of books before I read them, as I like to come to my own conclusions, so I hadn't the slightest hint about what themes Sides would cover. In the table of contents, his categorization of essays seemed benign enough. And maybe I've waded through all the goop at the front, because the first five essays were biographical profiles of men: Tony Hawk, G. Gordon Liddy, Russell Means, Mel White, and Joe Redington. This is wrong though, I only dipped my pinkie toe into the goop that is testosterone writ large, because the next two essays, one about controlled flooding of the Colorado River and the second about the Bohemian Club (summer camp for hugh powered men) have clued me into the fact that Sides is comfortable in one sphere, only. Chucking the book at this point is a no-brainer, but his writing is so excellent that I can't help but read more; definitely a love/hate reading experience for me. Yeah, it's a big book about men and their pursuits. Sheesh. I can appreciate that. I like men, really I love them. But I don't want to read about their exploits as though those are the only things of consequence happening in the world, because that's simply not the capital T truth.
Leaving the public library this morning with five more books in hand than I planned, I chastised myself for breaking the resolution I made a mere two days ago: Avoid the library and concentrate on reading the books that I own. I am so weak when it comes to books. But, the best thing is that Mary McGarry Morris has a new book that I had no clue about, so I checked it out and will read it sometime soon. She's one of my favorite writers. And, she lives in Mass., not Brooklyn.
There was an interesting article in the VV about author web sites and the tricks representing yourself online. Of course, the author, whose books sound like something I might like to read, directs readers to her web site, since she is making an example of it. Also in VV, a review of the new Elizabeth Hand book, Mortal Love, which I got an advance copy of back in May or June to review for FirstLook, a new reader review program at HarperCollins. They never sent the automated reminder, like they promised, to let me know when to bless them with my review of the book, and now I think they've written me off as a reviewer. No more review copies for me.
Is shoddy teaching undermining the confidence and abilities of children? Seems to be the case in the UK, where many children have tutors outside of the classroom.
July 27, 2004
The collection of short stories that I read, Brutal language of love, was most excellent. Some of the stories are stuck in my craw, which is rare. I can't say much about them though. I can't figure out an overarching theme, unless is it sex; there's some in each story, or at least the hint thereof. Her characters were distinctive, yet her style pulled everything together, so it wasn't the same voice telling different stories, like with some short story collections. Why do all the writers live in Brooklyn? It seems that an inordinate number of writers whose books I end up reading live in Brooklyn. I flip to the back to look at the writer's photograph, because I like to know whose work I'm reading, and there it is, Brooklyn!
Along that vein, Kate Christensen, who wrote In the drink, also resides in Brooklyn. Somehow I read an interview with Christensen at Beatrice, and decided to read her work. In fact, I"m already a few dozen pages into her second novel, Jeremy Thrane. Sometimes I'm very slow. Actually I read her most recent and third book, The epicure's lament, and this is why I've decided to make my way through her oeuvre. I have no retention. In the drink is about a 29 year old personal assistant whose job working for a socialite, who is also an espionage fiction writer, has its ups and downs. Claudia ghostwrites these books, drinks far too much, and has one friend, William, with whom she is in love. At amazon, the review pigeonholes this book as a "Bridget Jones Sweepstakes" entry, which I find unfair. The tone is not flippant, and at times, the book delves into a deeper emotional level than does the BJ Fluffy-Stuff. However, it did remind me of Debra Weinstein's Apprentice to the flower poet Z. They are similar in that neither characters have pleasant experiences to report from working with these larger-than-life employers. But, if it was all peachy, then I'm sure nobody would want to read their books.
And then Jeremy Thrane is a gay man writing a novel based upon his absent father's life. He has spent the last ten years revising and writing new scenes, while living in his boyfriend's Manhattan digs. Boyfriend Ted, is a closeted film star who married Giselle which catapulted him from a stagnant phase of his career. They've adopted a child, for obvious reasons--no time in Giselle's busy acting career to schedule a pregnancy, etc. Ted, Giselle, and the child are coming "home" for the weekend. That's as far as I've gotten.
I bought three books
this weekend while at Bele Chere:
my chopsticks: A culinary sojourn to Kyoto, The
sex lives of cannibals: adrift in the Equatorial Pacific,
handmade gifts from fabric in the Japanese tradition.
I crave travel writing unlike anything else. I cannot wait to read these,
though there are six or eight other new travel writing titles at home
that I haven't gotten to yet either.
Friday, July 23,
The ending of in the breeze of passing things was ambiguous, which was good, but ultimately the tone of the tale gave it a sad conclusion. The one thing that I didn't like was when the narration flip-flopped back and forth in time. That usually bothers me in any book, but in this one especially, it was jarring. However, it wasn't too difficult to transition back into the story, so it was not a bad experience at all. I do go on too much about things sometimes.
Now I'm reading Storyteller's daughter. And I haven't figured out whether I like it or not. It seems a bit uneven. And, it flip-flops back and forth in time. The author peppers the here and now with her memories of her childhood and the myths she learned about the Afghani people. It's not my typical subject to read about, but I thought I should expand my horizons, and try something out of the ordinary.
In the breeze of passing things is such a lovely book. It's about a girl, Iva, and her mother and sister. They've moved away from their father/husband because he has mental issues. It's not clear whether he's depressed or schizophrenic; but so far I gathered that his twin drowned himself and the father now wishes he had the guts to do it himself. He takes off frequently, leaving his wife and children behind. Or when the mother takes the daughters to visit their aunt, he shows up the next day, having hitchhiked, because he couldn't stand the empty house without them. The story is told from Iva's point of view, and she's her father's favorite. She doesn't understand why her mother left him, but all she wants is for them to be a family again. The mother and girls move every five or six months, not always telling the father/husband where they are. They leave Hopewell, Tn. after Iva hides notes from the school nurse about her younger sister Mally, who has a serious wetting problem. The mother deals with each situation by packing up their things and moving. The writing is great; I want to read each word, which is not the case in some books. The author has the reader by the neck, or at least by the shirttails and won't let go. I hated putting down the book last night, but I was sleepy.
Next on my list is Storyteller's daughter, which is a memoir set in Afghanistan, written by a London-based journalist, Saira Shah. And then I have a few other things that I must read: Brutal language of love, a collection of short stories; The girl in the fall-away dress: stories; and then a few other heavier books like All sides of the subject: women and biography and An author's guide to scholarly publishing. The methodology of biography fascinates me, and I've been reading everything that I can get my hands on about it over the last few weeks. In fact, I found a copy of the Challenge of feminist biography online for under $2. Turns out, the bookseller lives in my town, that's rare, and we emailed, met at a gas station, and made the exchange.
As a fan of Altoids, I was disappointed last night that those of the ginger variety have not been restocked along the checkout counter at the red circle store. There's licorice, too, which I probably wouldn't like, but not having the opportunity to turn up my nose at them... Plus, there's a sweeps to win curiously strong bling, and that is not an opportunity to miss.
Reading slump is in effect. Finished Night of the radishes, and now wish that I hadn't. It's not to my taste, but might be a perfectly enjoyable book to someone else, so I really hate being critical or saying that it sucked, because that's not true. It was published, right? The author found an agent who like it, right? Not my kind of book. The writing was fine. I think it was the plot that was lacking. The narrator seems too flippant, and writing in the present tense continued to drive me crazy. I've two other books on my nightstand, can't recall what they are, but will likely begin one this evening. And then, there are at least a dozen or more library books that I must dig into.
Yum, new book about the Secret lives of lobsters. Am still waiting for transcendent dining experience, though.
When radical feminists go too far, you have Big Sister, which blames men for everything, but I don't.
And so while reading is on the decline for most Americans, book groups are hip for thirtysomething British neoliterati.
While trying to decide whether to carry on in that book, I decided to mark my place and put it aside for a memoir by Naomi James. She was the first woman to sail around the world via Cape Horn. Plus, she set the world record, or rather, broke the world record for solo round-the-world sailing by two days. This was in 1978. And, I can't call up the title of the book because there's something amiss with my public library's opac this week. I've read about her childhood growing up in New Zealand (where I've always wanted to visit, but Now with all that Hobbit mess about, I must hide my desires to go there, otherwise I may be thought to be a fan of Hobbit) on a farm, and young adulthood when she spent five years away from home traveling through Austria, Germany, England, etc. She's just met and married her husband, another sailor, and has received sponsorship to sail round the world. That's where I am in it. Yep, I've lost my mind. The book sits in front of me. It's called: Alone around the world: The first woman to sail single-handedly around the world. I'm starting early on my research for my retirement, because I plan to sail around the world someday, but not by myself. First, learn to sail. Second, gain experience on the open water. Third, purchase boat. Fourth, provisions. But, that's at least another thirty years from now.
The authors for the Southern Festival of Books are finally listed on the site. Appears to be lots of especially good writers coming to Nashville, so maybe this will be the year that I make it there myself.
Someone has compared used book sales via Amazon to Napster's negative affect upon the music industry. It's all quite ridiculous. Publishers blamed used books sales for their slump, but I guess they've turned a blind eye to the fact that reading for pleasure has declined in the past year, or decade. What are they gonna do about that?
Oh, Hurrah! Huge book received in the mail today, from LJ. It is the largest book I've received through the mail. Just enormous, and it has that yummy new book smell. The smell that only books printed on glossy pages have. Inhale: Super-yumm. And, it is: Inverted utopias: Avant-garde art in Latin America. I wondered when I'd get another book from LJ. I thought they had forgotten me since that lovely Egon Schiele book I had last month. I shouldn't expect more than one book per month.
bird diapers freak me out. They call them "FlightSuits."
Then I read Girls
in Trouble, which I wasn't sure I would like right away. It begins
with 16 year old Sara in labor. She gives birth, and then enters into
an open adoption with a couple, George and Eva. It was surprisingly
good. It wasn't one of those smarmy sticky sweet sentimental things,
but had great characters who were emotionally well-developed. It's a
great family type saga/drama and follows the characters another sixteen
years. It flips back and forth from Sara's perspective to Eva's, and
then also a few other character's. But it's seamless, just like Russo's
that I wrote about last week. Really, I couldn't put the book down.
It was straightforward and not too lyrical; usually just what I like.
There were one or two books that I tried to read, but
didn't get into, and I've forgotten what they are at this point. Also got two Mary Heaton Vorse books that I ordered
from A Capella Books
in Atlanta. One was the bio that I just read and the other was a collection
of her writings. That Vorse bio was one of the best bios I've ever read. But, I'm reading something called Mourning
Ruby. I liked the cover.
But actually, as usual, I really
like the UK cover much better. It's another story about a character's
search for family. Rebecca was abandoned in a shoe box behind an Italian
restaurant and now that she's a mother herself, she's inquiring about
her origins. It's written by a British woman, so I'm not one hundred
percent sure that me and the book will click. Barbara
Kingsovler's article on why she is a farmer from the most
recent Utne lead me to check out Essential
agrarian reader: the future of culture, community, and the land
from which her article was excerpted. It was a pleasant surprise to
find it at my
public library. Hurrah for them!
There were one or two books that I tried to read, but didn't get into, and I've forgotten what they are at this point.
Also got two Mary Heaton Vorse books that I ordered from A Capella Books in Atlanta. One was the bio that I just read and the other was a collection of her writings. That Vorse bio was one of the best bios I've ever read.
But, I'm reading something called Mourning Ruby. I liked the cover. But actually, as usual, I really like the UK cover much better. It's another story about a character's search for family. Rebecca was abandoned in a shoe box behind an Italian restaurant and now that she's a mother herself, she's inquiring about her origins. It's written by a British woman, so I'm not one hundred percent sure that me and the book will click.
Barbara Kingsovler's article on why she is a farmer from the most recent Utne lead me to check out Essential agrarian reader: the future of culture, community, and the land from which her article was excerpted. It was a pleasant surprise to find it at my public library. Hurrah for them!
July 8, 2004
Monday, July 6,
Am still without Dreamweaver and have realized how little I look forward to notepad editing. Am also, amazingly not reading. While I love Julavits' words, the story doesn't appeal to me. I'm not excited about getting back on that airplane with her character, no matter how lovely she might be. Will take a break from that anyway as I must read an extra-thick and bulky tome about Mary Heaton Vorse. And then I have loads of library books to read and I've been thumbing through several cookbooks and liquor mixing books that came in the mail two weeks ago. Quick and easy thai, From curries to kebabs , Craft of the cocktail, and the Ultimate party drink book.
I bought the new music issue of the Believer today, and left it out in my car. I don't always enjoy every issue and this one was snuggled in its plastic wrapper, so no peeking inside before I bought it.