Friday, August 18, 2006

The Bluebird of Happiness long absent from his life, Ned is visited by the Chicken of Depression.

The Man Booker prize longlist has been announced.
I have not read a single book on it.

  • Carey, Peter Theft: A Love Story - I just heard from - who? I can't remember, but someone whose taste I trust - that this was excellent. However, Oscar and Lucinda made me yaaawwwwwnnnnnn.
  • Desai, Kiran The Inheritance of Loss
  • Edric, Robert Gathering the Water
  • Gordimer, Nadine Get a Life - I have never read any Nadine Gordimer, and believe I am remiss.
  • Grenville, Kate The Secret River - Now on the other hand, I have read some Kate Grenville, which I did not care for at all. It was so forgettable, I can't even recall the title, but the thing that first attracted me was that the protagonist was a fiber artist/quilter. And I remember nothing else about it.
  • Hyland, M.J. Carry Me Down - to St James' Infirmary...
  • Jacobson, Howard Kalooki Nights This makes me want to sing “Melli Kaliki Maka.”
  • Lasdun, James Seven Lies
  • Lawson, Mary The Other Side of the Bridge
  • McGregor, Jon So Many Ways to Begin
  • Matar, Hisham In the Country of Men
  • Messud, Claire The Emperor’s Children
  • Mitchell, David Black Swan Green - oh, how I adore David Mitchell. (Here’s today’s Guardian Online interview with him. Swoon.) His Cloud Atlas is one of the very few books that has blown me away the way AS Byatt's Possession did. Which means I MUST read this, even though Gina says it's verrrrryyyy different from Cloud Atlas.
  • Murr, Naeem The Perfect Man . No such thing. Next!
  • O’Hagan, Andrew Be Near Me
  • Robertson, James The Testament of Gideon Mack
  • St Aubyn, Edward Mother’s Milk - This looks fascinating - enough so that I requested St Aubyn's first book, Some Hope from the library to read first.
  • Unsworth, Barry The Ruby in her Navel - his Sacred Hunger tied for the Booker in 1992, with Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient. I've read English Patient but never got to the Unsworth, although it is sitting on my shelf and has been for at least two years.
  • Waters, Sarah The Night Watch - I TRIED to read Fingersmith; I did. I swear. I could not get into it. I didn't care. I really actively disliked it. However, I must admit, this one looks interesting. Maybe. Maybe I will give it a shot. Or not. I'll see.

Currently Mitchell is the favorite, but I can’t speak to the deserved-ness of this as I, have I mentioned, NOT READ a single one of these books? And I call myself a reader…


I started reading Saffy's Angel by Hilary McKay on Tuesday at lunch, just for something to read before I painted the back porch. Twenty-five pages in I emailed Gina to go request it from the library for herself, and I proceeded to lie on the couch and read it pretty much straight through in two hours. It is wonderful. It's what I wanted The Penderwicks to be; heck, it's what The Penderwicks wanted The Penderwicks to be! You've read Elizabeth Enright's Four Story Mistake? If the Casson children were to meet Rush and Randy, Oliver and Mona, they'd probably be fast friends. Caddy, Indigo, Rose, and Saffy are quirky, funny, real children. I laughed out loud often; McKay has a remarkable gift for spot-on, exquisitely-timed dialogue. I will be curious to see how the adult characters develop through out the rest of the books, which I just requested from the library - the Casson parents, especially Bill the father, seem a little thin to me. I'd like to learn more about the parents that produced such odd yet fiercely loveable little children.


Still reading Wendy Wasserstein’s Elements of Style> It has grown a *leetle* less tiresome, and I like the way Wasserstein explores the effects/aftereffects of September 11, using her neurotic socialite characters. I’ll keep going. For now.

But, I gotta tell ya - Geek Love? NOT loving it. I wanted to – Badger, I so wanted to! But it’s so…cold. There’s not a single character I like (or relate to, but THAT is a relief!) Not one. They’re not UNlikeable, they are all just…boring. Except for their anatomical oddities, they’re DULL. They leave me cold. Please, someone, convince me to keep reading. I so wanted to love this book.

Picked up Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle. Two people have recommended it in the past week. It was sitting on the shelf here at work. And now it is going home with me. So, there you have it. And I still have Brief History of the Dead and Broken for You waiting at home.

Someday I will finish all these library books and return to immerse myself in Penny Vicenzi’s No Angel, which I LOVE so far. But there are no overdue fines on books I own. Thank God. Although I do have to admit, I have been tempted to CHARGE them. Mostly, I would just be happy to get my books BACK – especially my much-loved copy of Julian Thompson’s now-out-of-print The Grounding of Group Six, the seminal novel of my teen years. And if THAT doesn't explain a lot about me, I am not sure what will.


And now, just a little something that made its way into my email inbox and made me howl with laughter and filled me with admiring horror.

The Curtain Rods

She spent the first day packing her belongings into boxes, crates and suitcases.
On the second day, she had the movers come and collect her things.
On the third day, she sat down for the last time at their beautiful dining room table by candlelight, put on some soft background music and feasted on a pound of shrimp, a jar of caviar and a bottle of Chardonnay.
When she had finished, she went into each and every room and deposited a few half-eaten shrimp dipped in caviar, into the hollow of the curtain rods.

She then cleaned up the kitchen and left.

When the husband returned with his new girlfriend, all was bliss for the first few days. Then slowly, the house began to smell. They tried everything; cleaning, mopping and airing the place out.

Vents were checked for dead rodents and carpets were steam cleaned.
Air fresheners were hung everywhere. Exterminators were brought in to set off gas canisters, during which they had to move out for a few days, and in the end they even paid to replace the expensive wool carpeting.

Nothing worked. People stopped coming over to visit. Repairmen refused to work in the house. The maid quit.

Finally, they could not take the stench any longer and decided to move.

A month later, even though they had cut their price in half, they could not find a buyer for their stinky house. Word got out and eventually even the local Realtors refused to return their calls.

Finally, they had to borrow a huge sum of money from the bank to purchase a new place.

The ex-wife called the man and asked how things were going! . He told her the saga of the rotting house. She listened politely and said that she missed her old home terribly, and would be willing to reduce her divorce settlement in exchange for getting the house back.

Knowing his ex-wife had no idea how bad the smell was, he agreed on a price that was about 1/10th of what the house had been worth, but only if she were to sign the papers that very day.

She agreed and within the hour his lawyers delivered the paperwork. A week later the man and his girlfriend stood smiling as they watched the moving company pack everything to take to their new home........including the curtain rods.


Katy said...

I love that curtain rod story, thanks for posting!

Gina said...

The only book I've read from that long list is the Mitchell. I love it, though, and can't wait for the paperback release so I can own it and read it again.

Poppy Buxom said...

Oooh, that curtain rod story. How diabolical. I love it!

Paula said...

Love, love, love the curtain rod story!

Oh, and I left the book thing for you over on my blog. Hope you like it.

Badger said...

Not only have I not read any of the books on that list, I've only heard of ONE of them. So they can't be all that good. Hee!

Geek Love BORING?! Gasp! The hell you say! How far into it are you right now? I mean, I loved it from page one, so maybe it's just not for you, but it does have a lot of twists as it goes along.

Carl V. said...

You call yourself a reader and haven't read any of those books? Don't feel bad, I call myself a reader as well and haven't HEARD of any of these books before now! ;)

Sarah Louise said...

The curtain rod story is divine! LOVE IT!

You, not a reader? Yeah, and I'm Marilyn Monroe...just call me Norma Jean. Besides, isn't the Booker British? (Yes, I am an American lit snob.)

Saffy's Angel, sigh...

Lazy cow said...

Haven't read any of them either. And I don't care! (Well, maybe a little). The only ones I'm remotely interested in are the Mitchell and the Carey.
Oooh, Saffy's angel sounds good. Must get onto it.

ssheers said...

So many books, so little time!

Suse said...

I too read previous Kate Grenville book and did not like them.

But The Secret River? Wonderful. Her prose is exquisite.

jess said...

i suck, not a single one read.

currently reading "three day road"


Joke said...

I'm strangely pleased to not have read/heard of any of these books.


jess said...

I have The Secret River on my shelf but that's the closest I've gotten to reading any of those.