Just got back from the library. Eight books out of the book box, eight books in.
Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, and Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde. The next two books of the “Thursday Next” series (the first was The Eyre Affair). Thursday Next is a “literary detective” who loses her husband in Lost in a Good Book by some time-travel machinations on behalf of a corrupt global corporation (but saves the world), escapes into the plot of an unpublished book and fights the loss and modifications of her memory by another foe in The Well of Lost Plots, then returns to the real world (with Hamlet and her son in tow) to try to get her husband back and bring down aforementioned corrupt global corporation. I was sad it ended. (The next Next book is coming out July 2007.)
Falling Upwards by Lee Siegel is a collection of essays by this “renowned critic.” The subtitle, “Essays in defense of the imagination,” and the fact that the first chapter was about Harry Potter, intrigued me enough to pick this book out of the “new non-fiction” section of the library. I read through the essays of books and shows that I had actually read, seen, or heard of (I’ve never watched an episode of The Sopranos or Sex in the City, but I still read the essays that were about them); the others I skimmed or skipped. He gets pretty feisty in some of the essays; Barbara Kingsolver is lambasted as writing “nice” books at the expense of maudlin storylines, but I was pleased that he called J.K. Rowling as a “literary artist” although I think he got some of the finer details of the Harry Potter books wrong (Harry’s ability to hear the boa constrictor talk is not because he has a child’s “lithe imagination” but because he has Parseltongue abilities. Thank you.).
Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading by Maureen Corrigan (host of a literary show on NPR and author). I came across this one in a bookstore display and was intrigued by the title; luckily, I was able to request it from the library and read it for free. It’s “part memoir, part coming-of-age,” an exploration of how books have shaped the author’s life. I thought it was a fine book, but not very much resonated with me; perhaps because she is uber-smart book-phd-woman and I’m not, although we both love books. The bits that did catch me were some poignant stories in there about her father, mother, and adopted daughter. I may have enjoyed this book more if I hadn’t just read Falling Upwards; two high-brow literary critic types in one week were probably too much for me.
The Good Good Pig by Sy Montgomery. Genre: Animal memoir, in the style of two of my favorites — The Dog Year by Jon Katz and Marley and Me by John Grogan (although I winced at Marley and Me as the owners fumbled through trying to train their dog). This is the story of a real-life animal-adventure author who travels all over the world to research animals and write about them who adopts a pig — a little runt — and how he transforms her life and the lives of others. This would be a great read-aloud book; I certainly laughed out loud at some parts and couldn’t help but read paragraphs out loud to Steve, and for those who care, it’s completely clean in the sense that there is no questionable language (so approved for my nieces and nephews). Warning — the pig does die in the end, although I’d still count this book a “feel-good” book. I was sniffling and wiping my eyes as we sat in a sports bar watching the Warriors/Jazz game. I was glad I happened upon this book in the non-fiction section last weekend, and I’m interested enough in the author to try to track down some of her other books.
A funny thing about reading Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading and The Good Good Pig at the same time (one was a “bathroom book,” the other was an “outing” book) — the authors were both bookish women and authors (both from Catholic backgrounds, I think) who married Jewish men, and part of the narrative in both books was about their relationship with their parents. I kept getting their personal lives confused as I switched back and forth between books, although the books themselves were about different subjects and written in different styles. “Wait — did her father disown her? No, that was the other book.”
I think this is also the first week that I’ve read multiple books that reference Jane Austen.
With a bookmark:
(Books I just started reading, or books I’ve been “reading” for ages. Most recent first.)
- Why Does My Dog Act That Way? by Stanley Coren
- The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst
- Transcending CSS by Andy Clarke
- Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
- A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson
Library book box:
- Lord of the Libraries by Mel Odom
- The Hive by Bee Wilson (this and below picked up today)
- The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
- The Wild Out Your Window by Sy Montomery
- Spell of the Tiger by Sy Montgomery
- Search for the Golden Moon Bear by Sy Montgomery
- See Jane Lead by Lois P. Frankel
- Mommy Millionaire by Kim Lavine
- Murder By the Book by Rex Stout