Monday, August 18, 2008

Library Lovin'!

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' 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...


  1. I've had the pleasure of being first or second on a few new books at the library this year and it is hard to describe just what a thrill it is to get that email saying it is waiting. I always feel a 'hooray!' welling up inside of me. I have two such books now (why did they have to come at the same time?!?!).

  2. I met Meg Wolitzer once. She's funny - the type of author that you'd love to sit and drink of bottle (or three) of wine with.

    David Sedaris came to town last month for a signing AND I COULDN'T GO. Sigh.

  3. I snagged an ARC of Iodine a month or so ago at work. Of course, it's just sitting on a table in my living room along with all the other ARCs I just had to have. Seriously, when am I ever going to read more than 3 or 4 books a month?? I've even gone so far as to trim down my blog-hopping list, hoping to spend more time reading books than reading about books. Maybe when it starts to get cold outside, I'll find more time to curl up with my books.

  4. have you read other siri hustevedt novels. i am such a fan of hers. just finished philip roth, everyman. very good.

  5. I hope you get into Unaccustomed Earth this time - I think it is a fantastic book!

  6. Carl, you lucky duck! It is a great feeling isn't it? And it's so true about them all coming in at once. I'm pretty sure it's the universe conspiring against us.

    Sassy, well anyone worth drinking with is worth reading! That's my motto. lol And bummer about Sedaris. I think I might've cried.

    LOL, I know exactly what you mean, Les. I've been in such a slump, it's much easier to read about books than actually read books. I'm longing for those June/July months when I read 10 or 12 books each. Probably won't happen again until this time next year.

    Hi, Margie! I have read other Hustvedt stuff. In fact, I think the only novel of hers I haven't read is The Enchantment of Lily Dahl. I just lover her style and I would love to crawl into her head and see the world through her eyes for a bit. Haven't read Everyman yet, but I will!

  7. Thank you, Karen! I can't wait!

  8. I love Jhumpa Lahiri's books but I have to get into the mood for short stories. That is the reason why I haven't been paging the book at the library.

  9. I love trips to the library... You are right, I can have a bazillion books waiting for me at home but grabbing a bunch of new books from the shelf and not paying for them seems like you are getting away with something :)

    I cannot wait to hear your thoughts on the Sedaris book. I've heard soem people say it's not quite as good as some of his previous books but I don't care, I want to read it. He's just so awesome.

  10. I can't wait to read the Sedaris book. Although, I was disappointed in the latest Augusten Burroughs book. Not sure why I'm relating the two, but I always do...

    The Ten Year Nap is on my list as well!

  11. I love a good trip to the library!! And anything by Sedaris has to be good. He is so funny!! I'm STILL reading A Walk in the Woods. Certainly taking my time on this one, that's for sure. But it is a riot. I think you will enjoy Bryson.

  12. I'll definitely get that new Sedaris book! I've heard great things about it from other bloggers! Although I've yet to find an equal to Me Talk Pretty One Day :)

    I love Bill Bryson and I hope you enjoy reading his book which I know nothing about, hahaha. I only finished A Walk In the Woods which was a riot. I've yet to progress on the other two which are probably buried under my piles of unread books :)

  13. I'm really envious that your library had the Lahiri on the shelf. Our city has so few copies that I'm a long way down the waiting list. Still, with luck it might turn up round about Christmas time, which would be a nice present.

  14. I read enjoy Bryson's books and hope you do too.

  15. I'm waiting for the paperback but I'm really looking forward to reading Unaccustomed Earth.

  16. OMG.. read bryson... you will love him... hell even the man who stole my bryson book on the train must love him after all he went through the trouble of stealing my book.


  17. I miss the library. And I don't. I have been twice since January 07and only read one library book.

    I do wish you'd read The Position. I think you'd like it. I need to get my hands on The Ten-Year Nap!

    I have had the new Lahiri on my shelves since it came out and STILL haven't cracked it. I love her, so I really need to read it.

    I Adore Bill Bryson. With a capital A! His Walk in the Woods is the best! My uncle has Sunburnt Country. I haven't read that one yet, I really ought to borrow it.

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