Another Twofer: NYTBR 21 October 2007 & Recent Books by Stanford Alums (Only One of Whom is a Stegner)

First, books I am interested in reading after perusing the 21 October 2007 issue of The New York Times Book Review :

(1) After reading Liesl Schillinger’s review of Tom Perrotta’s new novel, The Abstinence Teacher :

Tom Perrotta’s new novel, The Abstinence Teacher

(2) After reading Christopher Benfey’s review of Sandra Smith’s translation of Irene Nemirovsky’s newly discovered novel, Fire in the Blood :

Irene Nemirovsky’s novel of the early events of World War II, Suite Francaise
Sandra Smith’s translation of Irene Nemirovsky’s newly discovered novel, Fire in the Blood

(3) After reading Joyce Johnson’s review of Bliss Broyard’s One Drop: My Father’s Hidden Life — A Story of Race and Family Secrets :

Bliss Broyard’s One Drop: My Father’s Hidden Life — A Story of Race and Family Secrets

(4) After reading Lee Siegel’s review of Alice Sebold’s new novel, The Almost Moon :

Alice Sebold’s memoir of her own rape, Lucky
Alice Sebold’s new novel, The Almost Moon

(5) After reading Adam Hochschild’s review of Marcus Rediker’s The Slave Ship: A Human History :

Marcus Rediker’s The Slave Ship: A Human History

(6) After reading Maud Newton’s review of Ellen Litman’s “novel in stories”, The Last Chicken in America :

Ellen Litman’s The Last Chicken in America

* * * *

From the “Shelf Life” section of the Stanford Alumni Magazine, Sept/Oct 2007:

First, the Stegner:

Naeem Murr : The Perfect Man

Leaving a childhood of staggering neglect behind in India and London, 12-year-old Rajiv Travers comes to be the ward of a romance writer who lives in Pisgah, MO during the 1950s.

Then, the Non-Stegners:

Taylor Antrim (’96, now an editor at ForbesLife): The Headmaster Ritual

Ed Wolfe, who identifies with North Korea and thinks Stalin was misunderstood, runs an exclusive prep school. His son, James, is a senior who’d like to get through the year unhazed.

Richard A. Walker (’69) : The Country in the City: The Greening of the San Francisco Bay Area :

Walker, a geography professor at UC Berkeley, writes a history of the activism that has allowed the Bay Area to remain “more greensward than asphalt jungle, more open space than hardscape.”

Paul Schmidtberger (JD ’91) : Design Flaws of the Human Condition

A beautiful product that works really well — until some little-noticed facet of it proves disastrous — is said to have a design flaw. Schmidtberger’s comic novel holds that infidelity is the design flaw of love.

Things Self Learned This Weekend: Or, An End of (Last Weekend in October 2007) Status Report

About hubby:

    Hubby enjoys going to the City — if self drives.

About son:

    Son is writing a story about a post-apocalyptic universe. (Go, son, go!)
    Son really really missed the steak fondue self used to make for him when he lived at home. Self had to prepare it three times this weekend. Son consumed 4 lbs. of tri-tip steak.
    Son is under the impression that his parents live very “fast-paced” lives (!!@@##)

About self:

    If not for hubby, self would not have felt up to going to the City to catch farewell performance of the Ifugao Music & Dance Ensemble — and yes, it was so worth it to go to the city to see them perform at the Bayanihan Center. The troop performed all over California: Sonoma, Sacramento, southern California, and of course San Francisco.
    Self finds it impossible to park when hubby is beside her, doing the back-seat driving.
    Out of 10 shots self takes with digital camera she bought in Hong Kong, one with “anti-shake” and anti-blurring features, 9 will be blurred. Which means self is an absolute sucker and should never try bargaining with any salespeople in Hong Kong.

About Richard Strauss:

    He died in 1949.
    He was influenced by Nietzsche.
    He is known as “the absolute master of orchestration.”
    His Alpine Symphony (1915) has exceedingly soporific effect — or at least, that was its effect on self during concert last night at Davies Symphony Hall.

About Beethoven:

    Upon hearing an outdoor performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, he stopped and exclaimed to a companion: “We shall never be able to do anything like that!” Which self believes is a touching display of artistic humility/ vulnerability (and which anecdote was contained in programme for last night’s San Francisco Symphony concert.)

About Hayes & Kebab

    Aside from having wonderful kebabs and baklava, also make a killer moussaka

About Dearest Mum

    She plays Beethoven with more energy and expressiveness than Saturday night’s pianist did (and, she is about half his size).


    The No. 11 breakfast (2 eggs on toast, fruit bowl) in Bob’s Courthouse in Redwood City is grand.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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