A Long Digression

One thing you can say for self: she tries, she really tries. Here she is blogging, on this early morning Saturday (when very soon we will have to leave, pick up rental car from the airport, then pick up son’s friend from the city, then drive over the Bay Bridge, then present to Orinda, where self will unburden herself of the chips, bean and guacamole dip, honey turkey slices, 2 lbs. of salami, loaf of sliced sourdough bread, Mission flour tortilla chips, bottled water, liter bottles of coke, chicken salad, and fruit she bought yesterday in Safeway, in mad effort to approximate an organized being, preparatory to watching Cal Shakes’ “A Midsummer Nights Dream.”)

Self tried like might and main to reach niece G last night, to see if she wanted to come along, but after leaving three messages and getting no response, she has to face the cold hard fact that niece has probably made other plans for today.

Then, somewhere around midnight last night, when it became clear that self would not easily get to sleep (bad enough on ordinary nights, but son presented at 11 p.m. There goes sleep!), she tapped out two pages of her novel-in-progress. Of course, she doesn’t know where the character she was writing about came from. All of a sudden, she was there, in self’s computer, and wouldn’t get out, no matter how hard self tried to banish her to a walk-on part. So, well, this is how novels get written. You stay up sleepless and you start hearing voices.

Anyhoo, the ostensible reason for this post (pardon the long digression, dear blog readers), is to list the books self is interested in reading after perusing the 20 September 2009 issue of The New York Times Book Review. It is (thankfully) a shorter-than-usual list:

1.    After reading Malena Watrous’ review of Joyce Carol Oates’ 57th (!!!) novel, Little Bird of Heaven:

2.    After reading Thomas Mallon’s review of William Trevor’s xxxth novel, Love and Summer:

  • William Trevor’s Love and Summer

3. After reading Gregory Beyer’s review of Jonathan Ames’ collection of essays, The Double Life is Twice as Good:

  • Jonathan Ames’ The Double Life is Twice as Good

Insomnia & The NYTBR of 13 September 2009

Self had another awful bout of insomnia last night. She told herself she would not allow herself to read any more of the Alice Munro collection after a certain time of night, because then she’ll want to stay up reading, so enthralling are the stories (Runaway). But it didn’t work last night. In the wee hours of the morning, self was still wide awake, the only difference from nights previous was that she was now reading The New York Times Book Review of 13 September 2009. So, here are the books self thought she’d be interested in reading, in the wee hours of this morning:

1. After reading Liesl Schillinger’s review of a new novel by E. L. Doctorow, Homer & Langley:

E. L. Doctorow’s Homer & Langley

2. After reading Dexter Filkin’s review of Jon Krakauer’s Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman:

Jon Krakauer’s Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman

3. After reading Lisa Scottoline’s review of Ethan Brown’s Shake the Devil Off: A True Story of the Murder That Rocked New Orleans:

Ethan Brown’s Shake the Devil Off: A True Story of the Murder That Rocked New Orleans

4. After reading Louisa Gilder’s review of Graham Farmelo’s The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom:

Graham Farmelo’s The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom

5. After reading Andrew Ervin’s review of Nigeria-born fiction writer Helen Oyeyemi’s third novel, White is for Witching:

Helen Oyeyemi’s White is for Witching

6. After reading Caryn James’ review of Philippe Claudel’s latest novel, Brodeck (translated from the French by John Cullen):

Philippe Claudel’s Brodeck, translated from the French by John Cullen

7. After reading William Giraldi’s review of Terrence Holt’s first story collection, In the Valley of the Kings:

Terrence Holt’s In the Valley of the Kings

8. After reading Jonathan Lethem’s end-paper essay, “Poet of Desolate Landscapes,” about the stories of J. G. Ballard:

The Complete Stories of J. G. Ballard

NYTBR 23 August 2009: New Memoirs and Biographies, Among Other Things

Books self is interested in reading after perusing the 23 August 2009 Issue of The New York Times Book Review:

1. After reading Dominique Browning’s review of Times food writer Frank Bruni’s Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater:

2. After reading Fernanda Eberstadt’s review of Benjamin Moser’s Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector:

3. After reading Jacob Heilbrunn’s review of Graham Swift’s Making an Elephant: Writing From Within, a collection of his essays, interviews and poems:

  • Graham Swift’s Booker-Prize-winning novel, Last Orders
  • Graham Swift’s Making an Elephant: Writing From Within

4. After reading Neil Gordon’s review of Eduardo Galeano’s Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone:

  • Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent
  • Galeano’s memoir, Days and Nights of Love and War
  • Galeano’s Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone

5. After reading John Haskell’s review of Jim Krusoe’s novel, Erased:

  • Jim Krusoe’s Erased

6. After reading Nancy Kline’s review of Anita Brookner’s latest novel, Strangers:

  • Anita Brookner’s Strangers

7. After reading Tom LeClair’s short reviews in the Fiction Chronicle:

  • James Lasdun’s story collection, It’s Beginning to Hurt
  • Christine Lehner’s novel, Absent a Miracle

8. After reading Roy Hoffman’s review of Pat Conroy’s new novel, South of Broad:

  • Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides
  • Pat Conroy’s Beach Music

NYTBR 16 August 2009: Among Other Things, a Feast of Novels

Books self is interested in reading after perusing the 16 August 2009 issue of The New York Times Book Review:

1. After reading Erica Wagner’s review of M. J. Hyland’s new novel, This is How:

    M. J. Hyland’s debut novel, How the Light Gets In
    M. J. Hyland’s new novel, This is How

2. After reading Roxana Robinson’s review of Richard Russo’s new novel, That Old Cape Magic:

    Richard Russo’s new novel, That Old Cape Magic

3. After reading Jeff Vandermeer’s review of Marcel Theroux’s post-apocalytpic novel, Far North:

NYTBR 9 August 2009: A Highly Eclectic Short List

The Food Network is showing a bio-pic of Rachael Ray. She is revealed to have a ferocious work ethic, the result of a childhood that was “not rich in material” resources, but was rich in family experiences and love. She went to New York at age 23 — hold on, self! Let’s not get carried away here! This is supposed to be a post about The New York Times Book Review!

All right-ey, self will reserve the Rachael Ray material for a later post. Without further ado, here is the list of books self is interested in reading after perusing The New York Times Book Review of 9 August 2009:

1.    After reading the “Letters to the Editor” :

2.    After reading Gail Collins’ review of Pete Fornatale’s Back to the Garden:  The Story of Woodstock and Michael Lang’s (written with Holly George-Warren) The Road to Woodstock:

3.    After reading Paul Krugman’s review of Justin Fox’s The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street, and Charles R. Morris’ The Sages: Warren Buffett, George Soros, Paul Volcker, and the Maelstrom of Markets:

  • Justin Fox’s The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street
  • Charles R. Morris’ The Sages: Warren Buffett, George Soros, Paul Volcker, and the Maelstrom of Markets

4.   After reading Michael Shae’s review of Thomas Wright’s Built of Books: How Reading Defined the Life of Oscar Wilde:

  • Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Thomas Wright’s Built of Books: How Reading Defined the Life of Oscar Wilde

5.    After reading William Grimes’ review of Monica Ali’s new novel, In the Kitchen:

  • Monica Ali’s In the Kitchen

6.    After reading Alison McCulloch’s short reviews in the Fiction Chronicle, the following novels:

  • Kyung Ran Jo’s Tongue
  • Roma Tearne’s Bone China
  • Mariolina Venezia’s Been Here a Thousand Years

NYTBR 2 August 2009: The Short List

Books self is interested in reading after perusing the 2 August 2009 issue of The New York Times Book Review:

Werner Herzog’s Conquest of the Useless: Reflections From the Making of “Fitzcarraldo”

William T. Vollmann’s Imperial

NYTBR 26 July 2009: What Self Thought Would Be a Short List

Books self is interested in reading after perusing the 26 July 2009 issue of The New York Times Book Review:

1. After reading Liesl Schillinger’s review of Elisabeth Hyde’s new novel, In the Heart of the Canyon:

    Elisabeth Hyde’s new novel, In the Heart of the Canyon

2. After reading Mike Peed’s short reviews in the “Fiction Chronicle” :

    a first novel by Tess Callahan, April & Oliver
    C. E. Morgan’s All the Living

NYTBR 5 July 2009: A Not-So-Short List

Books self is interested in reading after perusing the 5 July 2009 issue of The New York Times Book Review:

1. After reading Walter Kirn’s review of Nick Reding’s Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town:

  • Nick Reding’s Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town

2. After reading Tom Vanderbilt’s review of two books about the sub-prime mortgage crisis, Edmund L. Andrews’ Busted: Life Inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown, and Alyssa Katz’s Our Lot: How Real Estate Came to Own Us:

3. After reading Dominique Browning’s review of Frances’ Osborne’s The Bolter, a biography of her great-grandmother, Idina Sackville:

  • Frances’ Osborne’s The Bolter

4. After reading Kate Zernike’s review of Sam Apple’s American Parent: My Strange and Surprising Adventures in Modern Babyland:

  • Michael Lewis’ Home Game

5. After reading David A. Andelman’s review of Norman Stone’s World War One:

NYTBR 7 June 2009: The Short List

Books self is interested in reading after perusing the 7 June 2009 issue of The New York Times Book Review:

1. After reading Paul Berman’s review of Gerald Martin’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A Life :

Gerald Martin’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A Life

2. After reading Anthony Doerr’s review of Josh Weill’s The New Valley: Novellas:

Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich
Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
Joyce’s The Dead
Mann’s Death in Venice
Garcia Marquez’s Chronicles of a Death Foretold

3.    After reading Dagmar Herzog’s review of Anne Nelson’s Red Orchestra:  The Story of the Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler:

Anne Nelson’s Red Orchestra:  The Story of the Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler

4.    After reading the “Crime” column of Marilyn Stasio:

    Jeffery Deaver’s latest, Roadside Crosses
    a first mystery by Rebecca Cantrell, A Trace of Smoke

NYTBR Summer Reading Issue

And after perusing the pages of this rather voluminous issue, all self felt like reading were the following five books (and thank goodness, otherwise self would spend all her time reading and would never write anything):

1.   After reading Adam Begley’s review of Rachel Cusk’s new novel, The Last Supper:

2.    After reading Robert Pinsky’s review of Elmore Leonard’s latest, Road Dogs:

  • Elmore Leonard’s Road Dogs

3.   After reading Scarlett Thomas’ review of Sarah Waters’ latest novel, The Little Stranger:

  • Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger

4.   After reading Caroline Weber’s review of two books about Parisian architecture: Jill Jonnes’ Eiffel’s Tower: And the World’s Fair Where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, the Artists Quarreled, and Thomas Edison Became a Count;  and James H. S. McGregor’s Paris From the Ground Up:

  • Jill Jonnes’ Eiffel’s Tower: And the World’s Fair Where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, the Artists Quarreled, and Thomas Edison Became a Count

5.   After reading Penelope Green’s review of Elinor Lipman’s new novel, The Family Man:

  • Elinor Lipman’s The Family Man

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