18 August, 2006

More Books

Blogs have apparently become a bit of a source for Entertainment Weekly. The last issue I perused actually had a whole sidebar squib devoted to the fruits of the PODdy Mouth blog. Ms. Mouth has created a niche for herself by reviewing Publish On Demand titles. (Todd A.! Paging Todd A.!)

She sports a whole list of worthy POD titles. It's exciting. This is the type of stuff that is going to revolutionise the way readers access books. Hopefully. And it looks like I may have a few to add to my list.

Anyway, I'm in the middle of a big ol' Irish reading kick (which does not, I repeat not extend to James Joyce) and have just started Frank Delany's Ireland, which so far I can recommend. It's one of those books where the words wash over you in a blanket of atmosphere, and the stories are so well-crafted it makes me ashamed to think I call myself a writer. I highly recommend it. For now. Maybe by the time I finish it, I'll have changed my mind. (That's been known to happen.)

There is a book I haven't finished, and it pains me to say so. The book that everyone called "The book of the summer", that Stephen King praised with glowing words in Entertainment Weekly. (Another aside....Perhaps I'm too plebian in take reading recommends from EW. I think I should be more erudite and pull titles down from the NYRB or some such. I do, I do. But I don't have a copy of NYRB or PQ in the bathroom. Hence all the EW stuff. Besides, those books are still good.) Anyway. This book I can't finish.

Scott Smith's The Ruins.

Don't get me wrong. It's well-written. Compellingly so. And the jacket features King's effusive glow of a blurb, as well as enthusiastic praise and encouragement for all those Lost fans out there. You know..."If you enjoy TV's Lost, you'll like this bloodbath of a book!!!" Because that is what this thing is. A bloodbath. A gruesome, bleak and macabre descent into the basest nature of humanity. And since I myself was being cut open I figured I'd table it for another time. Hubby went ahead and finished it, and can only shake his head with a grim smile when I ask him if it "gets any more gruesome" than where I left off. That right there tells me to stick with my Eireann fairy stories for awhile longer.

Next on my list, hopefully, is The Book About Blanche And Marie, which novelises the two paralell stories of Marie Curie--you know her--and Blanche Whitman. BW was well-known as the Hysterical Woman, who was intimately poked and prodded repeatedly in the public venue by scientists searching for the cause and cure of "hysteria". She later worked for Curie. The ultimate irony is that while she found intellectual respect in Curie's lab, she ended up losing three limbs to radiation posoining. Decidedly not a "summer read", but since summer seems to be packing up, I'll get to it soon enough.

Anyone else have any ideas on what I should read?


At 8:14 AM, August 18, 2006, Blogger grandefille said...

I got a kick out of Wicked by Gregory Maguire recently. (I know I'm the last person in Christendom to have read it, and I haven't seen the show.) To have the cultural references we all have to Oz and see them turned on their collective ear and politicized is fun and thought-provoking. (I especially thought the Animals vs. animals tactic was interesting.)

I also enjoyed Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Country, too. He's such a great conversational writer, and I learned huge amounts about Australia.

I also just finished Anne Lamott's Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, and I laughed most of the way through it. I know she's a damn dirty liberal like me, but there's so much common ground on faith that I think it's good for anyone. Besides, she's trying to love Dubya. Really she is. (Hee.)

I'm currently in the middle of I, Elizabeth by Rosalind Miles. It's another one of those historical novels written in the first person, but Miles has done her homework and is doing Queen Bess up right. I'm enjoying it as much as I did Margaret George's Autobiography of Henry VIII, to which it's very similar.

Clearly, I have Tudor issues. Almost as many as Bess. Snort.

And re your comment on my "accident" post -- I agree, as I did with your post on the subject. I still can't help thinking they're still involved somehow.

Hope you're continuing to feel better and stronger every day!

At 8:23 AM, August 18, 2006, Blogger grandefille said...

Ooop! I almost forgot The Big Fellow: Michael Collins and the Irish Revolution by Frank O'Connor. I'd recommend reading it just to understand how the IRA went so far afield from what Collins wanted it to be.

Since I'm on an Irish nonfiction kick, if you haven't read Nuala O'Faolain's Are You Somebody? The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman, I can recommend it. I don't necessarily recommend the sequel, Almost There, though; it was depressing in an awful "my Lord, woman, why do you keep DOING this stuff" kind of way. I understand psychologically why she did, but I had to put it aside.

Rosemary Mahoney's Whoredom in Kimmage: The Private Lives of Irish Women is fascinating.

By the way, I have all the titles I've mentioned except the Bryson book (which is a library loaner). If you decide you'd like to borrow them, let me know.

At 10:56 AM, August 18, 2006, Blogger Short and Fat said...

When I was in Mississippi working on the Katrina cleanup I read a cute little book called Twilight by a woman named Stephanie Meyer.

I'd call it a teen-scifi-horror-romance. It was entertaining and the lack of violence and sex didn't take away from the story at all, which is: girl moves to new town where a family of vampires attend her local high school. Can you guess who girl falls for? Can ya? Sure, you can but it was nice anyway.


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