Books

I’m reading two right now, and have a growing back-log to hurry up and get to, as well.  THIS ONE, though.  This was a random find at McKay’s the other week – hardcover, brand new, autographed.  I did a quick search, standing in the fiction aisle, to make sure the book wasn’t going to be a dud, and when I saw this review on Amazon — “If you’re looking for happy, pleasant tales then do not read this book. At the same time if you want a maudlin tearjerker, you should go buy a Nicholas Sparks book instead. If, however, you want a grown-up book about real humans facing the seedier side of life then this is your book” — the decision became a no-brainer.

And I’m a little over half-way through these short stories now, so I can’t exactly claim that the whole book is brilliant, but so far I have absolutely loved each story.  I don’t make any claims to be a book critic, but I will claim to have good taste in literature, which makes me feel like I should say a little more about the book.  The stories – so far – are about broken people, and broken families.  Broken relationships.  Trying to navigate these broken relationships, and finding good ways to do that but also finding what seem like dead ends, and having to start over.  The stories are written with compassion and warmth, which make the brokenness seem beautiful and heart-wrenching (which, I mean, brokenness has a tendency to bear these traits anyway, doesn’t it?).

Do read the book, if you get the chance, and want a “grown-up book about real humans.”

Furthermore, I’m still trying to get through the first book in the Foundation Trilogy.  I’m making good progress too — got a lot of reading in the other night while trying (vainly) to download the new iOS software for my phone.  I’m understanding more and more why people say this series is one of the best ever written (a statement many would take issue with) — or at least why it’s one of the best in science fiction (a statement that only a fool would take issue with).  So, that’s coming along.

I also found a novel by A.M Homes at McKay’s – same day I found the McCracken book, and the Homes book is also autographed!  (It was a good McKay’s day – got the newest Mary Oliver poetry book then as well, though sadly that one was not signed.)  So this is on my list to read.  Also, we went to a reading last Sunday at Parnassus by Mary Norris who has been on the New Yorker staff for like 30 or 40 years, and has just written a new book that seems to be partly memoir, partly punctuation guide.  (This one not merely autographed, but personally signed “to Erin, a fellow stickler.”)

And tonight we’re going to see Jonathan Franzen read from his newest novel, Purity (the purchase of which was admission to the reading).  I haven’t actually read any Franzen, but Stephen has read (listened to) two novels over the last couple of months and hearing them described has made me want to read Purity.

All this book excitement is a very good thing, because I am currently broke as a …um, is there a simile for “broke as”?  “Broke as an English major.”  “Broke as a squirrel on the plains” (no nuts, but I assume they eat other things too?).  “Broke as a 500-lb crack whore.”  Anyway, you get the idea.  I’ve been daydreaming a lot lately about camping and reading.  Or even just going to Percy Warner and reading.  Ahh.

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