While I should've been revising my paper for the upcoming conference, I spent yesterday reading Green, Greener, Greenest. It is super fantastic, and I can't wait to review it for you all! If you're even the slightest bit interested in environmental issues, I think you'd adore it. Very clever and informative.
I'm poised and ready to stimulate the economy. My stimulus check arrived today, and that biatch is going in the bank. I might spend it on something fun, but I haven't decided what that might be just yet. *coughKindlecough* Probably not a Kindle, but it's tempting!
I'm lusting after a slew of new-to-me books. I updated my iPod with all of the podcasts I'm behind on, and I spent my commute today listening to The Bat Segundo Show. Among the interviews I've heard today, Cynthia Ozick, Tobias Wolff, and Sloane Crosley. The books I want:
Dictation: A Quartet, by Ozick. She's one of those authors that's been on my TBR for a long time now. I have copies of The Shawl and Heir to the Glimmering World thanks to the recommendation of a professor in graduate school. He's the same one that got me hooked on Philip Roth, so I can pretty well trust his judgement without too many questions. From listening to the Bat Segundo podcast I learned that Ozick has a really slow, torturous writing process. She will not move on to a sentence until the previous one is absolutely perfect. Obviously we all write sentence by sentence, but most of us draft, too. I can't imagine working that slowly and laboriously through the process. Holy crap. Can't wait to read Dictation and the other two on my shelves.
Blurb: Cynthia Ozick's new work of fiction brings together four long stories that showcase this incomparable writer's sly humor and piercing insight into the human heart. Each starts in the comic mode, with heroes who suffer from willful self-deceit. These not-so-innocents proceed from self-deception to deceiving others, who do not take it lightly. Revenge is the consequence — and for the reader, a delicious, if dark, recognition of emotional truth.
Our Story Begins: Selected Stories, by Tobias Wolff. Wolff is one of those names I know, but I haven't read a single thing he's written. After listening to the interview, I think I'm game. It sounds like his stories are right up my alley.
Blurb: His first two books, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs and Back in the World were a powerful demonstration of how the short story can "provoke our amazed appreciation," as The New York Times Book Review wrote then. In the years since, he's written a third collection, The Night in Question as well as a pair of genre-defining memoirs (This Boy's Life and In Pharaoh's Army), the novella The Barracks Thief and, most recently, a novel, Old School. Now he returns with fresh revelations — about biding one's time, or experiencing first love, or burying one's mother — that come to a variety of characters in circumstances at once everyday and extraordinary: a retired Marine enrolled in college while her son trains for Iraq, a lawyer taking a difficult deposition, an American in Rome indulging the Gypsy who's picked his pocket. In these stories, as with his earlier, much-anthologized work, he once again proves himself, according to the Los Angeles Times, "a writer of the highest order: part storyteller, part philosopher, someone deeply engaged in asking hard questions that take a lifetime to resolve."
I Was Told There'd Be Cake: Essays, by Sloane Crosley. I think I've actually requested this one from the publisher before, but I'm not surprised that I haven't received a copy given all the boatloads of good press it's gotten. I'm sure they don't need another fantabulous review. However, I shall have my hands on it! It's on sale at Powell's, so this little baby is mine. It's been far too long since I read a kickass essay collection, so I have high hopes for this one.
Blurb: Wry, hilarious, and profoundly genuine, this debut collection of literary essays is a celebration of fallibility and haplessness in all their glory. From despoiling an exhibit at the Natural History Museum to provoking the ire of her first boss to siccing the cops on her mysterious neighbor, Crosley can do no right despite the best of intentions-or perhaps because of them. Together, these essays create a startlingly funny and revealing portrait of a complex and utterly recognizable character that's aiming for the stars but hits the ceiling, and the inimitable city that has helped shape who she is. I Was Told There'd Be Cake introduces a strikingly original voice, chronicling the struggles and unexpected beauty of modern urban life.
On a totally unrelated note, I drop Daisy off to be "fixed" tomorrow at 8am. I hate to! She's going to board for a few days after the surgery while I'm in Illinois and B is out of town. I hate to leave her, but you can bet your butt I'll be callin' to check on my baby. I would've added pics, but my stupid memory card reader isn't working. Wish her (and me) luck!