25 January 2007
It's true, friends. In the past week since I finished my temporary assignment, I have been busier than I thought possible. I've been getting a lot of things done -- but reading hasn't been one of them, mostly. The only time I've been reading is on the bus (and bus, and subway) back and forth between Current Apartment and New Apartment, and still, that isn't that much.
I am woefully behind on my reading blogs. I still haven't written up my third From the Stacks read which I finished in December, and I still have two books left to read (by, um, next Wednesday?) Any time I have I've been squeezing into reviews, and I'm still behind on those. I just got a letter from the library reading "Why haven't you come to see us lately? We miss you!" Actually, it was to let me know that I have a book that's two weeks overdue, but same thing, right?
Anyway, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I am updating the sidebar as we speak, and posting should I hope be back to normal next week, when I get into New Apartment (although moving will probably continue forever).
17 January 2007
I should have foiled temptation by not going into a bookstore at all, but I was looking for a bag to help me redistribute the weight in my bag (of my shoes, mostly, not any extravagant purchases). While I was there, I saw a mass-market paperback I'd always wanted to read but which I'd thought went out of print. And readers, I bought it.
And I kid you not when I say, I had my nose in No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World's First Supermodel all the way home. In my other life in which I am not a ginormous book snob, I am a huge fan of "America's Next Top Model." This is not an apology; it's sublime television. And the day they fired exquisitely loopy judge Janice Dickinson was a sad one. And her book? Probably the product of a ghostwriter, but heck, it was entertaining, and it got me through the rest of the day.
I'll get back to that other book eventually. This was just empty calories, but it was what I was craving.
11 January 2007
Know a good New York book? Danielle of A Work in Progress has some, and wants some more.
John Updike writes every day, but only until he gets hungry. (Critical Mass)
"It’s one thing to be corrupted by, say, the pressure of writing for the New York Times Book Review, or the prospect of employment somewhere, or a blurb. But to sell your birthright for a couple of review copies and a link on a blogroll!" That's Keith Gessen, the editor of n+1, on litbloggers (sigh), as quoted in Maud Newton's blog. Of course, if you heed TIME book critic Lev Grossman, not selling out isn't that much fun either, according to Edrants.
And finally, the perfect present for a book lover? A bookstack, of course! Bloglily shows you how. Of course, with enough bookstacks you may end up with a book pile like the one at Eve's Alexandria -- o, frabjeous day.
10 January 2007
|What Kind of Reader Are You? |
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
|Literate Good Citizen|
|What Kind of Reader Are You?|
Create Your Own Quiz
[Because the color bars aren't showing up, that's high on Dedicated Reader and Literate Good Citizen, halfway on Book Snob.]
My favorite question had to do with your reaction to losing your luggage. I picked the only applicable answer, which was, "Thank god I have extra books in my carry-on!" I got yanked in security a few months ago and pulled five books out of my shoulder bag, which clearly was not intended to carry so many. I am all about never running out of reading material on the road.
09 January 2007
1. I will not buy any books for myself before I move. This one's pretty easy. I have a ton of unread books in my apartment; the more I buy, the more I have to truck with me at the end of the month. Plus, one of my other real-life resolutions is to save more money.
2. I will give away more books than I take in. I've been getting better at culling my shelves, and I want to keep it up. On Saturday I passed two books off to a friend who asked for recommendations.
3. I will pick up on the Modern Library list again and read 10 more books off it this year. I had such big plans! But I got discouraged and stopped tackling the list because I was too tempted to read other things, so I've shrunk it down to size. Ten books will put me at half-read. Ten books I can do, especially when I'm getting one of them in e-mail every day from Dailylit. If I read more, why, great!
4. I will give more credit where credit is due, by linking to my fellow litbloggers and creating a blogroll. I read a fair amount of great reading Weblogs, but I hardly ever comment or link back. This makes me a bad blogger (or at least one who isn't using the communal Web to its fullest).
5. I will get on a regular posting schedule.
I hardly posted here at all until this fall, and now some days I post a lot. I'm not sure what I'm aiming for; I have to think about it a while longer.
05 January 2007
It was so good, what's wrong with me?
(September) Francine du Plessix Gray, THEM
(October) Leslie Epstein, THE EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD
(December) Barbara Ehrenreich, DANCING IN THE STREETS
Borrowed from friends
(October) Anthony Lane, NOBODY'S PERFECT: WRITINGS FROM THE NEW YORKER (from my friend Brian Orloff -- sorry, Brian! I didn't forget!)
(Oct.) Pauls Toutonghi, RED WEATHER (from my dad)
(November) Katharine Weber, TRIANGLE (from mom)
(Nov.) David von Drehle, TRIANGLE (from mom as well, only nonfiction)
The library books
(Dec.) Carol Shields, LARRY'S PARTY (which became my first book of 2007)
(Dec.) Melanie Rehak, GIRL SLEUTH
From the Stacks Challenge
(May) Ben Yagoda, ABOUT TOWN (I had read about 2 chapters and then put it down until the challenge)
(May) Herman Wouk, MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR
04 January 2007
This list is culled from my paper journal for books read (I guess the analog version of Wormbook?) I started such a journal two years ago at the suggestion of my boyfriend who had given me an adorable pocket-sized notebook for Christmas while I was visiting him. Visits to his place always involve an insane amount of book shopping, so it was the perfect time to start. But by the time a book gets listed in my paper journal, I have already made a good start on it and was planning to finish it, until something happened. That's why my list isn't as long as Darby's -- it's certainly not because I am more patient than he. In any case, the list:
Jose Luis Gallero, SOLO SE VIVE UNA VEZ -- No, I didn't not read it because it was in Spanish. I didn't read it because it had been recommended to me as a comprehensive history of the movida, Spain's 1980s cultural revival, and instead it turned out to be a series of interviews with people who must have been instrumental in the movida but how was never explained. I got frustrated pretty quickly.
Daniel Handler, WATCH YOUR MOUTH -- How Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, manage to land one book on the best-of list I posted yesterday and one on this list? WATCH YOUR MOUTH is about taboos, and unfortunately after 75 pages I reached my personal limit. The writing was great, it's just... I couldn't get past it.
Rona Jaffe, MAZES AND MONSTERS -- Another author with a place on the best-of list, and yet as soon as I opened up this book and read the preface about how Dungeons and Dragons kills people, I knew I would never actually read it. On the bright side, I figured out why my parents never wanted to play D&D with a neighborhood friend (after this book was made into a movie).
Cecelia Ahern, LOVE, ROSIE
Alison Pace, PUG HILL
I'm not ashamed to read chick lit. Hey, it's out there, a lot of people buy it, it's not wrong in and of itself. But I am rather picky about what chick lit I read, just as I am about any book. I adore Jennifer Weiner, for example, but I just couldn't get into these two books.
A.S. Byatt, THE VIRGIN IN THE GARDEN -- I tried. I tried, people. I loved the second book in this series (STILL LIFE) but I just couldn't get into the mind-frame of this one. Maybe next year?
03 January 2007
Semicolon has a huge round-up of best-of lists, which I am combing through greedily while hitting ADD TO WISH LIST on Amazon.
Tomorrow, an incomplete list of books I did not read in 2006, and what my bookstand looks like here in 2007.
Best Fiction I Read in 2006
Rona Jaffe, THE BEST OF EVERYTHING
Audrey Niffenegger, THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE
Daniel Handler, THE BASIC EIGHT **Note: Commenter Carl V. made me realize I should point out, this is the Lemony Snicket Daniel Handler, but this book is not for kids -- it's way too funny and dark.**
Vikram Seth, A SUITABLE BOY (it’s worth it)
Marisha Pessl, SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS
Ted Heller, SLAB RAT
Kirsten Lobe, PARIS HANGOVER
Critical choices: Harold Pinter, THE DWARFS; Margaret Atwood, THE PENELOPIAD
Best Nonfiction I Read in 2006
Blair Tindall, MOZART IN THE JUNGLE
Koren Zailckas, SMASHED: STORY OF A DRUNKEN GIRLHOOD
Sara Nelson, SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME
Jerry Oppenheimer, FRONT ROW ANNA WINTOUR: THE COOL LIFE AND HOT TIMES OF VOGUE'S EDITOR IN CHIEF
Michael Lewis, TRAIL FEVER
Critical choice: Dan Savage, THE COMMITMENT
Real page turners (or Books That Cost Me the Most Sleep in 2006)
Rachel Pine, THE TWINS OF TRIBECA
Jennifer Weiner, GOODNIGHT NOBODY
Colleen Curran, WHORES ON THE HILL
Kaavya Viswanathan, HOW OPAL MEHTA GOT KISSED, GOT WILD, AND GOT A LIFE
Megan McCafferty, CHARMED THIRDS
Tom Perrotta, LITTLE CHILDREN
Sarah Strohmeyer, THE SECRET LIVES OF FORTUNATE WIVES
Adam Langer, THE WASHINGTON STORY
Mary Gaitskill, VERONICA
David Mitchell, BLACK SWAN GREEN
Heidi Julavits, THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT
James Ellroy, THE BLACK DAHLIA
Critical choice: Matt Rauscher, THE UNBORN SPOUSE SITUATION
Laurie Graham, GONE WITH THE WINDSORS
Steve Almond and Julianna Baggotte, WHICH BRINGS ME TO YOU
Amazing but depressing:
Frances Kuffel, PASSING FOR THIN
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, RANDOM FAMILY
Daniel Jones (ed.), MODERN LOVE: 50 TRUE AND EXTRAORDINARY TALES OF DESIRE, DECEIT, AND DEVOTION
Why did I finish this?
Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, PLAYING WITH BOYS
Isabel Rose, THE J.A.P. CHRONICLES
Hilary De Vries, SO 5 MINUTES AGO
Kazuo Ishiguro, NEVER LET YOU GO
Mary Carlomagno, GIVE IT UP!
Statistics for my 113 books read so far this year:
81 were for pleasure
32 were for reviews (a personal best!)
47 were nonfiction, 65 fiction, 1 by Hunter S. Thompson
Of reviews only, 10 were nonfiction, 21 were fiction
41 of those were in the first six months of the year (school used to take a huge toll on my reading time... yet I still miss it)
40 were library books -- I can't believe I remember this, but I have a pretty good memory for book covers, which I guess helps. Seems pretty low until you take out the 28 review books, which means almost half the books I picked up this year for pleasure were library-owned. Let's hear it for your local library!
21 I purchased during 2006 (bad! bad! And those aren't even the only books I bought this year.)
1 I bought and then returned
16 books read in November, the highest month (cold weather + traveling over Thanksgiving break)
4 books read each in February and March, the lowest months
9.4167 books per month (average)
0.309 books per day (average)
0 books from the Modern Library reading list -- the only stat with which I am actually disappointed.
Books in italics are ones I reviewed. Books without numbers were re-reads.
1. Zoe Heller, WHAT WAS SHE THINKING? NOTES ON A SCANDAL
2. Rona Jaffe, THE BEST OF EVERYTHING
3. Letty Cottin Pogrebin, THREE DAUGHTERS
4. Nicholas Basbanes, PATIENCE AND FORTITUDE
5. Rachel Pine, THE TWINS OF TRIBECA
6. Gail Godwin, QUEEN OF THE UNDERWORLD
7. Marilyn French, THE WOMEN'S ROOM
8. Dara Horn, THE WORLD TO COME
9. Gail Godwin, THE MAKING OF A WRITER: JOURNALS 1961-63
10. Audrey Niffenegger, THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE
11. Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, PLAYING WITH BOYS
12. Angela Nissel, THE BROKE DIARIES
Karyn Bosnak, SAVE KARYN
13. Liz Perle, MONEY: A MEMOIR
14. Jason DeParle, AMERICAN DREAM
15. Joan Didion, SLOUCHING TOWARDS BETHLEHEM
16. Stacy Kravetz, WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD
17. Marshall Berman, ON THE TOWN
18. Daniel Handler, THE BASIC EIGHT
19. Andres Martinez, 24/7: LIVING IT UP AND DOUBLING DOWN IN THE NEW LAS VEGAS
20. Hunter S. Thompson, FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS
21. Ian Frazier, GREAT PLAINS
22. Joan Didion, THE WHITE ALBUM
23. Douglas Coupland, JPOD
24. Peter Biskind, EASY RIDERS, RAGING BULLS
25. Jane Smiley, MOO
26. Max Messmer, JOB HUNTING FOR DUMMIES
27. Fernando Henrique Cardoso, THE ACCIDENTAL PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL
28. Karyn Bosnak, TWENTY TIMES A LADY
29. Bonnie Fuller, THE JOYS OF MUCH TOO MUCH
30. Gay Talese, THE GAY TALESE READER: PORTRAITS AND ENCOUNTERS
31. Caroline Preston, GATSBY'S GIRL
32. Rona Jaffe, CLASS REUNION
33. Augusten Burroughs, POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS
34. Jennifer Weiner, GOODNIGHT NOBODY
35. Jen Lancaster, BITTER IS THE NEW BLACK
36. Carolyn Parkhurst, LOST AND FOUND
37. Al Franken, THE TRUTH (WITH JOKES)
38. Isabel Rose, THE J.A.P. CHRONICLES
39. Ralph Ferrone, DON'T BLOW THE INTERVIEW
40. Vikram Seth, A SUITABLE BOY
41. Bill Bryson, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE THUNDERBOLT KID
42. Hilary De Vries, SO 5 MINUTES AGO
43. Kazuo Ishiguro, NEVER LET YOU GO
44. Jonathan Ames, I LOVE YOU MORE THAN YOU KNOW
45. Colleen Curran, WHORES ON THE HILL
46. Blair Tindall, MOZART IN THE JUNGLE
47. Jennifer Solow, THE BOOSTER
48. Koren Zailckas, SMASHED: STORY OF A DRUNKEN GIRLHOOD
49. Kaavya Viswanathan, HOW OPAL MEHTA GOT KISSED, GOT WILD, AND GOT A LIFE
50. Megan McCafferty, CHARMED THIRDS
51. Meghan Daum, THE QUALITY OF LIFE REPORT
52. Chris Ayres, WAR REPORTING FOR COWARDS
53. John Grogan, MARLEY AND ME
54. Bridget Harrison, TABLOID LOVE
55. Kirstie Alley, HOW TO LOSE YOUR ASS AND REGAIN YOUR LIFE
56. Eduardo Santiago, TOMORROW THEY WILL KISS
57. Edith Wharton, THE CUSTOM OF THE COUNTRY
58. Jancee Dunn, BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME
59. Sara Gay Forden, THE HOUSE OF GUCCI
60. Marisha Pessl, SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS
61. Kevin Jennings, MAMA'S BOY, PREACHER'S SON
62. Joshua Zeitz, FLAPPER
63. Jay Quinn, THE GOOD NEIGHBOR
64. Lolly Winston, HAPPINESS SOLD SEPARATELY
65. Augusten Burroughs, RUNNING WITH SCISSORS
66. Tom Perrotta, LITTLE CHILDREN
67. Sarah Strohmeyer, THE SECRET LIVES OF FORTUNATE WIVES
68. Sara Nelson, SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME
69. Mary Carlomagno, GIVE IT UP!
70. Daniel Stashower, THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL
71. Jennifer Weiner, GOOD IN BED
72. Jerry Oppenheimer, FRONT ROW ANNA WINTOUR: THE COOL LIFE AND HOT TIMES OF VOGUE'S EDITOR IN CHIEF
73. Sonia Singh, GHOST, INTERRUPTED
74. Anthony Bourdain, KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL
75. Robert Rave and Jane Rave, CONVERSATIONS AND COSMOPOLITANS
76. Jeff Black, PLANTING ELI
77. Dan Savage, THE COMMITMENT
78. Adam Langer, THE WASHINGTON STORY
79. Ted Heller, SLAB RAT
80. Ken Jennings, BRAINIAC
81. Susan Isaacs, PAST PERFECT
82. Laurie Graham, GONE WITH THE WINDSORS
83. Ayelet Waldman, LOVE AND OTHER IMPOSSIBLE PURSUITS
84. David Zinczenko, MEN, LOVE & SEX: THE COMPLETE USER'S GUIDE FOR WOMEN
85. Brett Josef Grubisic, THE AGE OF CITIES
86. Mary Gaitskill, VERONICA
87. Jerry Oppenheimer, HOUSE OF HILTON
88. Margaret Atwood, THE PENELOPIAD
89. Jill Smolinski, THE NEXT THING ON MY LIST
90. Erica Jong, FEAR OF FLYING
91. Julie Morgenstern, NEVER CHECK E-MAIL IN THE MORNING
92. Harold Pinter, THE DWARFS
93. Marjorie Leet Ford, DO TRY TO SPEAK AS WE DO
94. Fritz Peters, FINISTERE
95. Valerie Taylor, WHISPER THEIR LOVE
96. Laura Zigman, PIECE OF WORK
97. Claire Messud, THE EMPEROR'S CHILDREN
98. Kirsten Lobe, PARIS HANGOVER
99. Heidi Raykell, CONFESSIONS OF A NAUGHTY MOMMY
100. Steve Almond and Julianna Baggotte, WHICH BRINGS ME TO YOU
101. Matt Rauscher, THE UNBORN SPOUSE SITUATION
102. David Mitchell, BLACK SWAN GREEN
103. Heidi Julavits, THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT
104. Michael Lewis, TRAIL FEVER
105. Kate Muir, LEFT BANK
106. Laura Ruby, I'M NOT JULIA ROBERTS
107. Daniel Jones (ed.), MODERN LOVE: 50 TRUE AND EXTRAORDINARY TALES OF DESIRE, DECEIT, AND DEVOTION
108. Frances Kuffel, PASSING FOR THIN
109. James Ellroy, THE BLACK DAHLIA
110. Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, RANDOM FAMILY
111. Lu Vickers, BREATHING UNDERWATER
Zoe Trope, PLEASE DON'T KILL THE FRESHMAN
Natalie Goldberg, THUNDER AND LIGHTNING
112. Elizabeth Hickey, THE WAYWARD MUSE
113. Anne Lamott, BIRD BY BIRD
01 January 2007
I got back to my apartment today to find The Old Hag had sent me Gregoire Bouillier's THE MYSTERY GUEST: AN ACCOUNT. Yippee! I am so looking forward to getting into it, as soon as I do my other boring grown-up things.
2006 year in review (an update on this post): soon!