Friday, April 18, 2008

Currently Reading...and New Obsessions (Oh Good)

Guess what came to my house yesterday?? Guess, guess!!!

My gOOrgeous brand new hardcover copy of The Sorrows of an American, by my beloved Siri (her official title). Along with it, a hardcover copy of Reading Like a Writer, by Francine Prose. I snagged it from B&N's recent sale (still on, to my knowledge).

When I've been able to carve out reading time for the last couple of days, I haven't had much motivation to pick up Master. While I am enjoying it I just can't get into it into it. Ya know? It hasn't grabbed me by the nosehairs. Could be a mood thing.

As for The Sorrows of an American, I started it last night and it's STUNNING. So. very. good. I won't rant and rave right now (much more than I already have) because I have to save that for when I finish and review it. I would give my left ovary to do an interview with Hustvedt, but I fear I'll have to settle for the Ink Q&A from Powell's for now. Click HERE to read it. There's also a Q&A from a couple of years ago when she wrote Mysteries of the Rectangle, a collection of essays on her favorite paintings. I haven't read it yet, but I will once I finish The Sorrows of an American and find myself famished for more of her work. Read that Q&A HERE. Did I mention she has a PhD from Columbia? Did her dissertation on Dickens, which I admire greatly, since most everyone I know could never think of anything new to say about him.

In other news, I'm newly and completely addicted to The Bat Segundo Show podcast. Edward Champion interviews authors. Meaty interviews, too. Not those 10-15 minute things you find on most podcasts. Usually the chats last around 30 minutes, and he asks some great questions. So far today I've listened to an interview with Elizabeth Crane, author of the short story collection You Must Be This Happy to Enter, which I bashed in a review. It was a great interview, though. I really liked the extra insight into the book. Even though I didn't care for it, it's a thoughtful work.

I also listened to an interview with Jennifer Weiner about her new book--a sequel to her first novel, Good in Bed--called Certain Girls. I haven't gotten my hands on it yet, but come hell or high water I will. And soon! Weiner doesn't get nearly enough credit for being a wonderful writer. She's smart as a freakin' whip. Often lumped into the paddock of "chick lit" I find her much more thoughtful, funny, and willing to offer cultural critique than most authors that adhere strictly to genre conventions. She's versatile and willing to take risks in her writing. I love that about her.

On the way home, I have several more podcasts to listen to:
-Lydia Millet (started listening to this one and she strikes me as incredibly pretentious, but I was eating a baked potato and only sort of paying attention, so I'll have to give her another shot)
-Toby Barlow (really excited about this one since I'm so jazzed to read Sharp Teeth)
- Chip Kidd (loved The Cheese Monkeys, although I hear his newest book is largely flash and lacking in substance...we'll see!)

So, yeah, to make a really long comment longer, go check out the Bat Segundo homepage, or subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.

Note: I had really lovely illustrations of the bookish variety in store for this post, but Blogger is being effin' stupid. STUPID BLOGGER! *sticks out tongue and runs away*


  1. I LOVED Good in Bed. I'm so happy to hear she has a new book. You're right; it's much better than Chic Lit.

    I need to give Hustvedt another try. I was crazy about the Blindfold, but couldn't get into What I Loved.

    And I really liked Chesil Beach, too. McEwan's a great writer.

  2. Thanks for the info on these podcasts. I just got an I-pod touch (really cool!) and I love all the podcasts with writer interviews.

    And I agree about Jennifer Weiner. She's several steps above genre chick lit.

  3. I'm going to check out the podcasts as I've just finally got an mp3 player! Yay! I'll be interested to listen to the Lydia Millet interview; I'm reading one of her books now but have sort of stalled halfway through...

  4. If you're not going to give me time to guess, I'm not playing.

    Actually, I'll guess anyway. A giant, radioactive hamster? Am I right?

  5. Those podcasts sound pretty cool. I might have to check them out.

  6. *Gasp* I didn't know Chip Kidd had a new book out! I adored "The Cheese Monkeys." Must. Go. Buy. New. Book.

  7. So blogger is giving you problems too? Good, not just me. And I guess I have to move out of the dinosaur age (my son's estimate of how old I am) and figure out how MP3 players or Ipods work so I can start getting these cool things like the book reviews and podcasts you mention....they sound cool....but 'podcast' I dunno, sounds like it's from Invasion of the Body Snatcher and the podpeople (old good version with Donald Sutherland, not the stupid version from last year). Meantime, I yelled at blogger Thurs night, so it's behaving now. Maybe a bad child??? and thanks for Jennifer Weiner tip, I'll give her a try.

  8. I too am looking forward to reading Certain Girls. Weiner's work is a lot more insightful than her cohorts in the chick lit genre (ie, her books are about much more than shopping and shoes and boyfriends).

  9. Purl, I loooved it, too. Good in Bed and In Her Shoes are my favorite of her stuff thus far. I hope Certain Girls can live up--although I hear (according to the interview) that it has something of a different feel than Good in Bed. We'll see! And What I Loved seems to me like a mood read. I can't remember if I read it straight off or if I had to try a few times, but once it grabs hold, it REALLY grabs.

    Becca, enjoy your iPod touch! How fun. I think you'll love the Bat Segundo show.

    Melanie, which Millet book? My Happy Life came through Estella's Revenge for review, but I didn't get ahold of it. As I recall the review wasn't terribly favorable.

    Aww, I love radioactive hamsters, Stu. The green glow is so charming!

    Nik, they're SO MUCH FUN. And most of the time you can download them from the individual websites if you don't wanna mess with iTunes.

    Jen, let me know how it goes if you get to it before I do!

    LOL, Susan! I yell at blogger quite often. Oh, and like I was telling Nik above, you can usually download the podcasts (awful name of them, I agree) from websites like NPR, etc. Wherever they originate.

    Amen, Katherine! I'm glad there are a herd of us that think so. :)


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