Saturday I did some errand running with my mom: a trip to Sam's Club for stuff in bulk (chicken sausages with spinach and asiago, four pounds of nectarines, a huge box of mixed greens, wine), lunch at Ruby Tuesday's, a quick dip into World Market, and a last stop at the Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop for a dip of Triple Caramel Chunk ice cream. It was a great morning, lots of fun, but the REAL fun surfaced when I arrived home to a chirpy message from the library informing me that When You Are Engulfed in Flames was waiting for me! My hold came in, and of course I didn't have the time or energy to go get it just then. *sigh*
I popped up at 6am this morning for my walk--cut short by rain, YAY--and had a little breakfast, and basically futzed around the house until I could go raid the library at 10:00. Library trips, in my world, are called trips to "the crack house" or a "pilgrimage to Mecca." In short, I love the library. I still try to stay away to some extent because I REALLY need to read the bazillion books that I own, but everyone has a weak moment, right? And the library is totally guilt-free since it's....free. Wooo!
I couldn't help but pick up the following:
Iodine, by Haven Kimmel. I ADORED A Girl Named Zippy earlier this year and when you read this novel's blurb you will know, as I do, that this novel is going to be nothing at all like Zippy. Given my very limited experience with Kimmel's work, this novel could resemble culture shock in comparison to Zippy, but I think I'm ready.
Blurb: Brilliant, unconventional college senior Trace Pennington has eked out an impoverished, solitary, but highly functional existence in the years since she ran away from her abusive home. But when Trace finds love with a much older man, her life is upended and she's forced to face herself and her past. After recovering a horrific, long-suppressed memory, she discovers that much of her present-day life is a carefully constructed delusion. With equal parts genius and psychosis, Trace copes with the fallout from a brutal, bizarre childhood in a heart-stopping story that explores both the terror and wonder of mental illness.
The Ten-Year Nap, by Meg Wolitzer. OK, I admit it! I have The Position on my TBR already. Heather was kind enough to send it me a scandalous number of years ago, and because I'm a horrible, slow reader I haven't even cracked it yet. SO, I have no idea why I brought this one home. And I have no delusions that I'll finish these books in two weeks with courses getting started, my own graduate work, and my undeniable Internet addiction, BUT it's fun to pretend, isn't it? It sounds like a yummy-tastic novel. A wee tad more "women's fiction"-like than I usually read, but I'm not opposed.
Blurb: For a group of four New York friends, the past decade has been largely defined by marriage and motherhood. Educated and reared to believe that they would conquer the world, they then left jobs as corporate lawyers, investment bankers, and film scouts to stay home with their babies. What was meant to be a temporary leave of absence has lasted a decade. Now, at age forty, with the halcyon days of young motherhood behind them and without professions to define them, Amy, Jill, Roberta, and Karen face a life that is not what they were brought up to expect but seems to be the one they have chosen.
Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri. I love me some Lahiri. Her other book of stories, Interpreter of Maladies, is still a favorite of mine, so I hate to admit that I've already had Unaccustomed Earth from the library once, and I didn't so much as open it that time. Given my teensy attention span, I think this one could be just the ticket. I'm probably most likely to read When You Are Engulfed in Flames and Unaccustomed Earth before the books are due back in two weeks.
Blurb: From the internationally best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, a superbly crafted new work of fiction: eight stories — longer and more emotionally complex than any she has yet written — that take us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand as they enter the lives of sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers, daughters and sons, friends and lovers.
Finally, I had to look over the for-sale shelves. Because what red-blooded book lover wouldn't? Really? I almost never find anything I want, but today was the exception:
In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson. I'm pretty sure I'm the last soul on earth that hasn't read anything by Bryson. I also have a copy of A Walk in the Woods on my shelves, courtesy of Les, that I haven't read yet. But I think I'll like it, and now I have a Bryson backup for whenever the urge strikes to read more of his stuff.
Blurb: Everything, it seems, is interesting to Bill Bryson. The marvel is that he can make it all interesting to us. Three billion year old fossilized organisms off the western coast; a giant lobster on the side of a highway; empty, forbidding spaces... In a Sunburned Country introduces Australia, a giant, mostly barren continent in the Indian Ocean populated by 18 million people, or, as Bryson points out, less people than are born each year in China.
For now I'm off to field more frantic student e-mails. The third of five classes kicked in today, and I'm just waiting to see what will come up! Never a dull moment...