Last Post of the Day — Promise!

February issue of Marie Claire has an article on “The Paris Hilton of Russia.”  Since self knows that dear blog readers would want to know all about this hallowed personage, she decides to post a few excerpts from the article before she leaves for her daily library run:

Katia Verber is running late.  That’s not unusual for an It girl in Moscow, where the Soviet-built streets are choked with traffic.  Not helping matters is that the 24-year-old socialite’s It car  —  her mother’s chauffered gold Bentley  —  has just broken down.  “I’m so stressed!” sighs the feathery voice on the other end of the line when I call to check in.  “I’ll be there in 20!”

Two-and-a-half hours later, Katia flies into the Starbucks on the storied Old Arbat Street.

And, as if one hadn’t had enough yet of this twit, a real money quote:

There are two Russias, as Katia says:  One hobbles along, while the other races forward, spending its oil cash with careless abandon.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

The Doctor Also Writes

A list of self’s favorite doctor/writer/heroes would have to include the following:

And here’s a new one, who self discovered just this morning, from an article in the Science section of the 17 March 2009 New York Times.

By 35, Dr. Alice W. Flaherty had led a life of traditional overaccomplishment:  undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard, a Ph.D. in neuroscience from M. I. T., research in movement disorders, articles in leading and neurological journals.

Then, in 1998, she delivered stillborn twin boys.  In the grief that followed, she grew manic:  poetic, metaphorical and long-winded.  She wrote everywhere, up and down her arm, over and under any serviceable piece of paper.  She also wrote more traditionally, producing neurology handbooks, autobiographical meditations and, in 2004, a best-selling book, The Midnight Disease:  The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block and the Creative Brain.

*    *    *    *

The office in which Dr. Flaherty writes is one floor down from her movement disorders clinic at Massachusetts General  —  filled with fossils and masks, neurological instruments pinned to a corkboard, books by Darwin, Mann and Virginia Woolf, posters of seminars and art exhibits based on “The Midnight Disease.”

Letters run up the back of her wrist.  They are one consequence of hypergraphia, the overwhelming urge to write; she writes during manias and edits during depressions (She keeps the illness under control with medication)  Dr. Jerrold F. Rosenbaum, chief of psychiatry at Mass General, says he used to get notes from Dr. Flaherty on napkins.

*    *    *    *

The wrist notes could be on any of a dozen topics.  They may be more thoughts on empathic pain, or about research she is conducting on the side about light boxes and creativity in Harvard undergraduates.

Ah, sun’s out, finally.  Time to go back to the garden.  Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Reading The NYTBR on the Third Tuesday of March 2009

On the dining room table is a reminder to self to renew Gracie’s pet license.

Self bought a climbing rose, a “Don Juan” ($21.99) from Roger Reynolds.  She ended up scanning this nursery’s website and found that it’s the oldest plant nursery on the Peninsula:  founded in 1919.  (Self doesn’t think it’s a waste to keep buying plants.  For if she can’t travel, she can at least have a beautiful garden.)

She met her aunt and uncle for lunch and her uncle told her he was writing his memoirs and was now up to 300 pages.  (Self hoped —  no, prayed —  that he wouldn’t ask her to read it.  Selfish, selfish, selfish self!)

Then she tutored in the Writing Center.

Then she went home and started reading the March 8, 2009 issue of The New York Times Book Review, which turns out to be one of their themed issues:  the theme this time being China.  Without further ado, here are the books self is interested in reading after perusing the aforementioned:

(1)    After reading Pico Iyer’s review of a novel by Yiyun Li, The Vagrants:

Yiyun Li’s The Vagrants

(2)    After reading Jill Abramson’s review of Zoe Heller’s new novel, The Believers:

Zoe Heller’s The Believers

(3)    After reading Jess Row’s review of Yu Hua’s novel, Brothers, which “sold more than a million copies” on its release in China (in two volumes) in 2005 and 2006:

Yu Hua’s novel, Brothers

(4)    After reading Natasha Wimmer’s review of César Aira’s new novel (translated by Chris Andrews), Ghosts:

  • an earlier novel by Aira, the “surreally autobiographical” How I Became a Nun
  • his newest novel, Ghosts

(5)    After reading Marilyn Stasio’s column:

  • a first novel by Valerie Laken, Dream House
  • the sixth installment of Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs’ mysteries, Among the Mad
  • Sean Doolittle’s Safer, a “suburban suspense novel”

(6)    After reading Leanne Shapton’s “Sketchbook,” the following books and the writers who read them while dining alone:

  • A. J. Liebling’s Between Meals, read by Jay McInerney at Otto’s (New York)
  • Herbert Read’s allegorical The Green Child, read by Sam Lipsyte as he “chewed leftovers.”
  • Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, read by Etgar Keret in a Chinese restaurant in Tel Aviv (“I started laughing and crying”)

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