February 2, 2013 at 7:17 am (Artists and Writers, Books, Lists, Memoirs, Recommended, Women Writers)
Tags: essay, Fridays, lists, memoirs, New York, nonfiction
Self has been reading In Praise of Messy Lives: Essays, by Katie Roiphe, for the past three days. She must say, she finds the book fascinating.
Here’s Roiphe on the Didion style:
Didion seems at first glance to be revealing so much about herself because of her mental fragility. Certain temperamental qualities of hers — her paranoia, her morbid sense of impending disaster, and her distrust of all stated realities – were particularly suited to the 1960s and ’70s. Take the moment in The White Album when she writes about the “attack of nausea and vertigo” that led her to a psychiatric clinic. On the surface, this might seem like an intimate revelation about her inner life. And yet she ends the passage with “such an attack does not now seem to me an inappropriate response to the summer of 1998.” This is typical Didion. It’s as if her body were a finely tuned instrument for channeling the jittery mood of the country in flux. Her sense of doom, of highly calibrated alarm, is always in the service of some larger point; her stunned disbelief is always a commentary, on the times, on a murder, on the water supply, on Hawaii, on the bewildering state of California. It is never simply emotion for the sake of emotion. There is no pleasure in frankly exhibitionistic exposure; there is none of the blinkered narcissism of some of our more recent personal writing.
Exhibit A and Exhibit B:
Her crying in Chinese laundries becomes “what it’s like to be young in New York.” New York becomes “an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and perishable dream itself. In the end, for all the spare, vivid details about her walking down the street peering into the windows of brownstones, about drinking gazpacho when she is hungover, the essay is about moving to New York and about being young – not about Joan Didion moving to New York and being young.”
* * *
Completely unrelated: A Selective List of Authors Whose Acquaintance Self Made for the First Time in 2012:
- John Burnham Schwarz, novelist
- Owen Sheers, novelist
- Adrian Goldsworthy, historian of classical antiquity
- Jerome Groopman, M.D., medical writer
- Colin Harrison, mystery writer
- Jesse Kellerman, mystery writer
- Barack Obama
- Rhoda Janzen, memoirist
- Jeanette Walls, memoirist
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
December 24, 2012 at 12:53 am (anthologies, Books, Lists, Personal Bookshelf, Recommended, short story collections, Sundays, Weather, Women Writers)
Tags: advice, book lists, essays, Filipino writers, inspirations, memoirs, novel, poetry, short story collections, Sundays
It is pouring!
After valiantly braving the rain to proceed to: a) dimsum in Belmont; and b) Trader Joe’s in San Carlos, to get more Glucosamine for The Ancient One, self and The Man retired.
Self did wander the backyard in a purple lounging robe with gold thread (a relic from Dearest Mum), and a rain poncho (a relic from sole fruit of her loins) and old loafers. She checked which plants looked like they might be beat, and which ones looked like they might emerge, Herculean, during the spring.
She also counted the books in her bookcases. Here’s the latest tally:
Shelf # 3 in Dining Room Bookcase # 1: 50
335 + 50 = 385 Total books tabulated thus far
Selected Titles: A Season of Grace, by N. V. M. Gonzalez; Philippine Woman in America: Essays, by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard; Parables of the Barrio, Vol. 1, Nos. 1 – 50, by Juan M. Flavier (This was a present from the in-laws); Skin, Voices, Faces, by Danton Remoto; The Arctic Archipelago and Other Poems, by Luis H. Francia; Philippine Vacations & Explorations, 2nd edition, by Jill Gale de Villa and Rebecca de Villa; The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, by Aimee Bender; Wildlife, by Richard Ford; What the hell for you left your heart in san francisco, by Bienvenido N. Santos; Herstory, by Rosario Cruz Lucero; Forbidden Fruit: Women Write the Erotic, edited by Tina Cuyugan; Trespassing Innocence: Poems by Virginia Cerenio; The Distance to Andromeda and Other Stories, by Gregorio C. Brillantes; Salvaged Poems, by Emmanuel Lacaba; The Way of Chuang Tzu, by Thomas Merton; Stone Field, True Arrow, by Kyoko Mori; The Art of Fiction, by John Gardner.
The Ancient One’s had a few little sprinkles, nothing close to the swimming pools of yesterday, for which self is deeply grateful.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
December 16, 2012 at 11:58 pm (Books, Links, Lists, Memoirs, Movies, Recommended, Sundays, Surprises, Wall Street Journal, Women Writers)
Tags: adaptations, biographies, book lists, discoveries, Fall movies, happiness, historical fiction, history, memoirs, novel, performances, Sundays, Wall Street Journal, war literature, weepers, World War II
Today self is peaceful and content. Which means she is happy.
She managed to get a mani/pedi from Belle Nail Spa on Broadway. She left before fingernails and toenails were quite dry, but she wanted to collect The Man and make it to the first screening of “Silver Linings Playbook” (Only $7 per ticket). Despite all the hectic running around, she somehow managed to avoid getting the slightest nick on any of her fingers or toes. Quelle magnifique!
Second, she really liked that movie. Even though it only got a wan endorsement from Eric B. Snider. And even though, OK, she’ll concede this point: the odds are pretty slim that two people that good-looking, both emotionally damaged, live in that close proximity to each other . . . OK! So what! Self knows this movie is totally in the land of make-believe! She’d rather see Jennifer Lawrence end up with someone who looks like Bradley Cooper than with someone who looks like, like – John C. Reilly? Even though chances are the right man for her would look just like John C. Reilly? (Not to knock John C. Reilly – self thinks he is a WONDERFUL WONDERFUL actor. But given the choice between John C. Reilly and Bradley Cooper – oh, NEVAH MIND!)
Jennifer Lawrence is a wonder. This is the first movie where self actually believed in a Bradley Cooper character. But, back to Jennifer Lawrence: Self cried at the end! She actually cried! Something she hasn’t done in a movie theater since watching Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams in treacly The Time Traveler’s Wife!
And then, when she and The Man got home from the movie, she got to peruse the Wall Street Journal weekend edition and – Holy Cow! – it’s the one where they list Books of the Year!
But it’s not Books of the Year that self wants to post about – Ixnay! (BTW, it took self almost an hour to speed-read the entire books section. But more about that later)
They interviewed all kinds of celebrities to get their lists of favorite books of 2012. Self found a few choices enlightening. Also, she was surprised at WHOSE choices she liked the most. And here’s the list of people whose book choices self found the most intriguing:
- Judd Apatow, Director and creator of the phenomenon that is Seth Rogen: He said he wanted to read Henry Wiencek’s book about Thomas Jefferson and his slaves, Master of the Mountains. He also recommended Dave Eggers’s latest novel, Hologram for the King.
- Craig Brown, British, writer of satirical columns: He recommended Robert Caro’s latest installment of his life of Lyndon Johnson, The Passage of Power (like almost every other person interviewed by the Wall Street Journal), and Mimi Alford’s tale of having sex with JFK when she was a White House intern, Once Upon a Secret.
- Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking: She recommended a first novel, The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller, and Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, by Chris Matthews.
- Joseph Epstein, essayist and cultural commentator: He recommended a novel, Only Yesterday, by S. Y. Agnon, and Once Upon a Secret (also recommended by Craig Brown, see above)
- Gary Giddins, author of Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams: He recommended Robert Caro’s book on LBJ, The Passage of Power; John Keats, a biography of the Romantic poet by Nicholas Roe; several classic westerns: Saint Johnson and Goodbye to the Past, both by W. R. Burnett; a novel about telephone linemen, Slim, by William Wister Haines; That Winter, by Merle Miller, a “pre-Kerouacian group portrait of the disaffected generation of the postwar 1940s”; Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth and The Innocent; and Louise Erdrich’s The Round House.
- Robert Harris, bestselling novelist: He recommended Soldaten, a book by Sonke Neitzel and Harald Welzer, “based on secretly recorded tapes of German prisoners of war held in Allied camps during World War II.”
- Thomas Keller, chef: He recommended Killing Kennedy, by Bill O’Reilley and Martin Dugard, which “is not about a conspiracy. It’s about how a presidential assassination can be at once a tragedy and a human-interest story.”
- Ted Leonsis, Founder and Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment: He recommended The End of Illness, by David Agus, “a smart look at how to extend a life of vigor by playing offense with life.”
- Joe Maddon, Manager of the Tampa Bay Rays: He recommended Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth (Self has been meaning to get to these books, for quite a while), and the first two books of Follett’s Century trilogy, Fall of Giants and Winter of the World.
- Hilary Mantel, Booker Prize-winning novelist: She recommended The Yellow Birds, a first novel by Kevin Powers, an Iraq war veteran; and The Lifeboat, a first novel by Charlotte Rogan, “set in the summer of 1914″ and centering “on a shipwreck in the Atlantic.”
- Karl Marlantes, author of What It Is Like to Go to War: He recommended The Snake Eaters, by Owen West; Blackhorse Riders, by Philip Keith; Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails, by Anthony Swofford; and Westmoreland, by Lewis Sorley.
- Sylvia Nasar, author of Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius: She recommended Gulag, by Anne Applebaum, a book which “takes readers back to the events that triggered the half-century long standoff between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.”
- Arthur Phillips, author of The Tragedy of Arthur: He recommended The Vanishers, by Heidi Julavits, The Sugar Frosted Nutsack, by Mark Leyner, Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, and A Partial History of Lost Causes, by Jennifer DuBois.
- Marcus Samuelsson, chef: He recommended This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz, and The Click Moment, by Frans Johansson.
- Colm Toibin, novelist: He recommended Edmund Spenser: A Life, by Andrew Hadfield and Robert Caro’s The Passage of Power.
- Jim Webb, senator from Virginia: He recommended The Last Lion, by Paul Reid (the last installment of a trilogy begun by William Manchester, on the life of Winston Churchill), and Stilwell and the American Experience in China, by Barbara W. Tuchman.
Self is pretty sure she can get to these books in about five years.
Self was going to make a count of the men who recommended women writers, but, alas, today self is very — and she does mean VERY — short of time! She thinks Jim Webb did. Yup, he most definitely did. And Arthur Phillips. Yes, most definitely Arthur Phillips. In fact, the good man recommended three books by women writers. Good for you, Arthur! And Gary Giddins recommended Louise Erdrich.
(She won’t single out women who recommended women writers because — hey, just because! Let’s get on with it, or self will never get free of this post!)
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
November 9, 2012 at 1:35 pm (Books, Memoirs, Recommended)
Tags: Bacolod, Chinese writers, discoveries, Literary Magazines, memoirs, Obama, reading lists, translation
It’s amazing but, in between bouts of family melodrama, self has actually found the time to crack open a few of the literary journals she toted along to Bacolod.
One of these is a very old issue of Manoa: “The Mystified Boat: Postmodern Stories From China.”
Self doesn’t know why, but in addition to the fictional Greg Mortenson memoir Three Cups of Tea, about whether Mortenson really did or did not build xx number of schools for young women in the farthest reaches of Afghanistan and/ or Pakistan, she also had the good luck to bring along fantastic books like the Obama memoir, Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (Five Stars!), a book which made her feel truly involved in the Obama win, and the Valerie Trueblood collection Marry or Burn. She also brought along volume 28 of New Writing From Scotland, and this issue of Manoa, which appeared in the positively anti-deluvian period of 2003.
She took along the Manoa issue when she went to the bank to change dollars to pesos. It’s a good thing she did, because she got passed along from one bank officer to another, and the whole process of changing $200 took almost an hour. Self didn’t mind a bit, though, because she was able to finish the first story in Manoa, Ge Fei’s “A Date in Purple Bamboo Park.” She finished the whole story while seated in front of the desk for New Accounts, and she never looked up until she’d read the very last sentence. And that story was simply stunning.
Today, she began the second story, Ma Yuan’s engrossing and deeply moving “The Master.” She hasn’t finished reading the story yet, but here’s a paragraph towards the end:
I’ve saved the solution of the murder of the old man for the end. I recall there was a yellow notebook, and a self-styled writer who tried to lead readers down the wrong road, who was even crazy enough to delve into his friend’s secret for the sake of writing a half-baked detective story. Let’s get rid of that egotist. He won’t appear in what follows. Let’s just go back to where they discover the old man’s body.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
April 30, 2012 at 5:43 pm (Books, Lists, Memoirs, Women Writers)
Tags: 9/11, biographies, book lists, essays, history, memoirs, Mondays, mysteries, nonfiction, novel, reading lists, Roberto Bolaño, travel books, war literature, World War II
Books About 9/11:
- Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children (This is a novel)
- Lawrence Wright’s Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11
- Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11
Books About Iraq:
- Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s Imperial Life in the Emerald City
Books About World War II:
- Nicholson Baker’s Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization
- Ben Macintyre’s Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal
- Hugh Sebag-Montefiore’s Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man
Read the rest of this entry »
April 21, 2012 at 6:22 am (Books, Lists)
Tags: historical novel, Just published, lists, Marilyn Stasio, memoirs, mysteries, novel, reviews, The NYTBR
- Harold Bloom’s review of Marina Warner’s Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights (Harvard University Press). Self picked this review because of its subject: 15 stories from the Arabian Nights, deconstructed by Warner. The review itself is dull. Much time is spent telling the reader what the Arabian Nights are about, and there is some gobbledygook about an “occult Solomon,” but self will read anything that analyzes the Arabian Nights.
- Marilyn Stasio’s column. And especially her reviews of Lyndsay Payne’s The Gods of Gotham (Amy Einhorn/ Putnam), about Timothy Wilde, a “damaged hero” who “reluctantly joins the force after losing his employment, his savings and half his face in the great fire that engulfed part of the city” of New York in the summer of 1845; and her review of Simon Lelic’s The Child Who (Penguin), “a baleful look at the matter of murderous children.” (Self does think the second title is very odd)
- Daniel Asa Rose’s review of Alex Gilvarry’s From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant (Viking): “A Filipino-born fashion designer” named Boyet “innocently lands himself at Guantanamo as the first detainee captured on United States soil and decides to bring the place a little flair by removing the sleeves from his orange jumpsuit.” Brilliant! Self thinks that naming the hero BOYET is an especially nice touch (as she knows many Boyets, including the man who is currently her lawyer)
- Cameron Martin’s short reviews in the Fiction Chronicle. Martin shows a particular flair for the snappy first sentence: “Iyer’s uproarious novel, the sequel to Spurious, follows the combative relationship between two British philosophers, W. and Lars, as they embark on an alcohol-soaked speaking tour of America, unable to persuade people to repent before an apocalypse they insist is imminent.” (about Lars Iyer’s Dogma, Publisher: Melville House)
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
February 10, 2012 at 12:52 am (Artists and Writers, Books, Links, Lists, Memoirs, Recommended, Women Writers)
Tags: biographies, book lists, decisions, history, inspirations, memoirs, reviews, websites, Women's Review of Books
This morning, self decided to bite the bullet and discontinue her decades-long subscription to the New York Times Book Review. Why? Because she plans to do a whole lot of traveling from now on, and she won’t have time to properly appreciate the weekly mailings.
Of all the regular contributors to NYTBR, self thinks she will miss Liesl Schillinger the most. Here’s a link to her website, wordbirds.
Since they charged her in December 2011 for a full year, her subscription doesn’t actually end until December 2012. In the meantime, she can ponder her decision a bit more. It’s entirely possible that self will relent and call them back to re-instate her.
This morning, self perused the latest issue of the Women’s Review of Books. Self absolutely loves this publication. Here are two books whose reviews led her to want to read them. Both are nonfiction:
- Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home, by Anita Hill (Beacon Press), reviewed by Renée Loth, former editorial page editor at the Boston Globe
“Hill writes movingly of the messy, complicated reality of her family’s history, which included violence, unplanned pregnancies, illiteracy, and debt. Hill’s grandparents were prominent members of their Arkansas community, founders of the area’s Baptist church, and in 1895, proud owners of an eighty-acre farm. But they lost the property to a series of bad loans and then fled to Oklahoma, their three-year-old daughter – Hill’s mother – in tow, to escape a threatened lynching.”
- The Female King of Colonial Nigeria: Ahebi Ugbabe, by Nwanda Achebe (Indiana University Press), reviewed by E. Frances White, who teaches in NYU’s Department of History and Cultural Studies
” … Ahebi helped the British infiltrate the northern Igbo heartland by guiding them through roadways established for regional trade. As part of imposing colonial rule on the Igbo, the British removed the traditional rulers … who governed much of Igboland, and replaced them with warrant chiefs – that is, chiefs who were given a warrant to rule for the British. In recognition of Ahebi’s loyalty, and sexual connections she established for them, the British made her a warrant chief – an unusual appointment for a woman. She eventually became king of Nsukka … Achebe narrates this story without making value judgments.”
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
January 18, 2012 at 11:02 pm (Artists and Writers, Eavesdropping, Lists, Memoirs, Movies, Recommended, Women Writers, Writing)
Tags: 9/11, essays, Letter to the Editor, lists, Literary Magazines, memoirs, New York, novel, Poets & Writers, previews, reading lists
While self was waiting for “Justified” Season 3, Episode 1 to come on, she caught the preview of a movie called “Extremely Loud, Incredibly Close,” which has Tom Hanks playing a father who is caught in his office in one of the towers, on that terrible day.
It so happens that self is on a closet-cleaning binge. At the back of one of her closet drawers, she found newspapers from that week: The New York Times of Sept. 12, Sept. 13, and Sept. 14. She uncreased the folds, and contemplated.
A month ago, she tried to write a story about 9/11, the same story she’s been trying to write for 10 years. She finally chopped it to four pages and sent it out. She happened to send it to Wigleaf, together with “Stonehenge/Pacifica,” and they chose the latter piece. But self still has hope that the other piece will find a home. It’s called “Wavering,” and it’s about a man whose wife saved his life that day, but not in the way you’d expect.
So, she takes a look at the Poets & Writers magazine, the one with Joan Didion on the cover. P & W calls her “America’s Most Resilient Writer.” Self wonders whether Didion herself would appreciate the appellation. Why “Most Resilient”? Why not just “The Best”? But perhaps it is a tribute, to be a “resilient” writer. Self supposes it must be, for writing is a tough, tough business. For every “Writer Under 40″ who gets into The New Yorker, there are thousands, thousands who end up being lawyers, program assistants, nurses, teachers.
Self remarked to the husband, after watching the preview of “Extremely Loud, Incredibly Close” : “Of all the places in the world that the terrorists could have chosen for their strike, they ended up choosing the one city that probably has more writers per square foot than any other city in the world.”
Is it chance? Fate? Who knows. That one event has spawned circles and concentric circles of angst, despair, neurosis that will last decades. Perhaps, even, centuries.
Self has read some good 9/11 writing (And some really terrible 9/11 writing). Among the good, Claire Messud’s novel, The Emperor’s Children. As well as Will Self’s short essay in his collection, Psychogeography. As well as Colum McCann’s short piece, “Dessert,” in The New Yorker issue that commemmorated the 10th anniversary of 9/11. McCann’s essay and the nonfiction book 102 Mintues: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers have touched her more than anything.
Here, in Poets & Writers, are some more 9/11 literature, recommended by a Pennsylvania reader who wrote a Letter to the Editor:
- Rebecca McClanahan’s “And We Shall Be Changed: New York City, September 2001″ (Kenyon Review, Summer/Fall 2003)
- Donald Morrill’s The Untouched Minutes, a memoir “written almost exclusively in the third person” (University of Nebraska Press, 2004)
- David Foster Wallace’s “The View From Mrs. Thompson’s,” an essay in the Oct. 25, 2001 issue of Rolling Stone
- Mary Cappello’s “Moscow 9/11″ in Raritan, Summer 2002
- Art Spiegelman’s graphic memoir In the Shadow of No Towers (Pantheon Books, 2004)
December 29, 2011 at 5:35 am (Artists and Writers, Books, Lists, Memoirs, Places, Publishers, The Economist)
Tags: biographies, book lists, Dickens, history, Japan, lists, memoirs, nonfiction, Publishers, The Economist
Books self is interested in reading after perusing The Economist’s “Best Books of 2011″ list:
Biography and Memoir
- Hemingway’s Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934 – 1961, by Paul Hendrickson, who The Economist calls “an accomplished storyteller”
- Blue Nights, by Joan Didion. “Even when Joan Didion writes about the hard drama of her own life, particularly the sudden death of her husband followed by the death of her only daughter, her memoirs manage to be larger than her own grief.”
- Charles Dickens: A Life, by Claire Tomalin. The Economist calls this book “a superb life of Britain’s greatest novelist by its greatest literary biographer.”
- Ghosts by Daylight: A Memoir of Love, War and Redemption, by Janine di Giovanni. “A Paris-based American war reporter” writes “about the pain of adjusting to normal life after being exposed to the intensity of battle.”
- Jerusalem: The Biography, by Simon Sebag Montefiore. “After his acclaimed biographies of Stalin, Catherine the Great and her lover, Potemkin, Simon Sebag Montefiore has finally turned to the book he was born to write.”
Culture, Society and Travel
- People Who Eat Darkness: The Fate of Lucie Blackman, by Richard Lloyd Parry. “A page-turning, if horrifying, read about the murder of a young Englishwoman in Japan and the dubious workings of the Japanese criminal-justice system.”
- Train Dreams, by Denis Johnson. The Economist calls it a “dense, mesmerising novella about a labourer in the American West … ” (Wonder what that is: a “labourer” in the American West. Not a cowboy, not a ranch hand, not a homesteader. A labourer. Can’t wait to read the book and find out)
Incidentally, all but three of the above books are published by Knopf (Two are published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, one by Penguin Press). Self is suitably impressed.
December 4, 2011 at 11:01 pm (Artists and Writers, Books, Lists, Memoirs, The Economist, Women Writers, Writing)
Tags: book lists, discoveries, essays, history, indecision, literary awards, memoirs, nonfiction, reviews, The Economist
Question: When is self going to get around to perusing the current issue of The Economist? Why is she still stuck in October when her desk calendar says it is already December?
Why did the former manager of Natalie Nail Salon in downtown Redwood City open her own salon, and why did it have to be directly across the street from Natalie Nail Salon? And why did self have to park on that side of the street yesterday, in front of the new nail salon, and why did she have to take so long getting out of her car? Self took so long that the former manager of Natalie Nail Salon noticed her and came out of the new nail salon, right out to the sidewalk, and greeted self. At that juncture, why didn’t self invent some excuse to skedaddle, why did she instead follow behind the former manager of Natalie Nail Salon, right into the new nail salon (All the while, self felt pinpricks in the back of her neck, from what she felt sure were the stares of the attendants in Natalie Nail Salon, across the street)? Since self had already burned her bridges (so to speak), she felt obligated to make an appointment for a manicure/pedicure at the nail salon across the street from Natalie Nail Salon.
And now — FINALLY! After all that useless hand-wringing! — we have arrived at the list of books self is most interested in reading after perusing the reviews in the 29 October 2011 issue of The Economist.
It’s a short list:
Instead of a Book: Letters to a Friend, by Diana Athill
Until she was 75, Diana Athill worked “editing the books of others at André Deutsch, a London publisher. Near the end of this career, she started writing again, and over the next 22 years she produced five more memoirs, including Stet, an acclaimed account of her editing life, working with authors such as Philip Roth and John Updike, published when she was 83. She finished with Somewhere Towards the End, about getting old, for which she earned the Costa Biography Prize as well as an OBE” (Self thinks this stands for Order of the British Empire), in 2009.
Robertson’s Book of Firsts: Who Did What for the First Time, by Patrick Robertson
“From the first false eyelashes (1916), public lavatory (1852), and sliced bread (1912), Mr. Robertson takes readers on an alphabetical romp through history’s innovations and innovators. He wisely concentrates on the people behind these inventions, rather than the concepts themselves. A natural storyteller, he injects life and humanity into what otherwise might have been a dull list.”
* * * * *
And, since self is already on the subject of books, she might as well go whole hog and list the authors whose acquaintance she made (for the first time) in her 2011 reading. This is a partial list because self is only going to include the authors she ended up liking:
- Alan Bennett
- Rajiv Chandrasekaran
- Patrick Leigh Fermor
- Karin Fossum
- Lloyd Jones
- Alan Lightman
- Tom McCarthy
- Ian McEwan
- Antonio Muñoz Molina
- Christine Montrose
- Alan Moorehead
- Harry Mulisch
- Bernhard Schlink
- Will Self
- Hunter S. Thompson
- Judith Thurman
- Edith Wharton
Here’s to more happy reading in 2012!
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
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