Return of the Book List: It’s Been a Month

Books self is interested in reading after perusing the Sept. 8, 2008 issue of The New Yorker (along with first lines of the short reviews):

From the “Briefly Noted” section

  • David Ebershoff’s novel, The 19th Wife
  • This ambitious third novel tells two parallel stories of polygamy. The first recounts Brigham Young’s expulsion of one of his wives, Ann Eliza, from the Mormon Church; the second is a modern-day murder mystery set in a polygamous compound in Utah.

  • Xiaolu Guo’s debut novel, Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth:
  • Guo’s debut novel, first published eleven years ago in China and now reworked in English, distills the rush to modernization through the experience of Fenfang, a young peasant who leaves her village for Beijing.

  • Sadia Shepard’s memoir, The Girl from Foreign:
  • In this elegantly crafted memoir, the author sets out to fulfill her grandmother’s dying wish that she learn about her heritage.

  • John Mullan’s history, Anonymity:
  • In England, the use of the word “anonymous” to describe a literary work dates only from the sixteenth century, but by the end of the eighteenth seventy per cent of all novels were published “in secret.”

* * *

From the James Wood review of Marilynne Robinson’s third novel, Home:

  • Marilynne Robinson’s second novel, Gilead
  • Georges Bernanos’ novel, Diary of a Country Priest


Self chopped her hair off. Not only that, she went to Costco and applied for a new membership card, so enshrined for the next four or five years will be the evidence of her tremendous, volcanic eyebags.

She told hubby over the phone. She was so depressed, she finished off 16 oz. of chocolate fudge and caramel sauce (tasted so much like Dulce Gatas!) in something like two hours. Hubby’s reaction: “”

Yes, and next week, when she meets her students, she’ll just say that she fell asleep in the hairdresser’s chair.

This morning, self decided to try Ying’s cell. Please, please, she found herself whispering, praying. And, a miracle. Her brother had not turned it off. In fact, he picked up after just two rings. Self asked to speak to Franco, Ying’s son, and the little boy was very brave and calm (just like his mom). Self decided to reserve Dearest Mum for last, and it was a good thing, for Dearest Mum, unbidden, started talking about Ying’s last hours, about how Ying talked and talked and talked, how she was so “out of it already, with the morphine.” Even then, according to Dearest Mum, all she kept saying, over and over, was: “I love you. I love everybody.”


Self said, “Mum, I gotta go.”

Dearest Mum: “And I wasn’t even there! I was chatting with another patient outside! And your brother had taken Franco to have breakfast!”

Aaargh!! No! No! No! “I gotta go, Mom,” I say, and very firmly put down the phone.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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