We had a belated birthday gathering with the kids, a group of my friends, and Chuck's-now-my friends at Celebration Restaurant in Dallas last night. If you ever stop to go to a restaurant link that I've posted, I beg of you, go to this one. It's a home cooking restaurant in a renovated home and once you order, you can have "seconds" of almost anything on the menu. My meal was walnut crusted chicken with honey Dijon sauce, and the first thing out of my mouth when I tasted it was, "Oh my God, it's Chick-fil-a on crack!" Delicious. Freakin' awesome delicious. So anyway, I dipped into the served-family-style mashed potatoes, black-eyed peas, fried okra and other yummies. I even got to try the locally made mozzarella they were featuring for one of the first courses. Awesome! Oh, and my "seconds"--fried catfish. Because I am that country and I'm OK with it! In addition to the great food, I now love Celebration even more because they buy locally and seasonally. Extra brownie points for being socially responsible!
But on to books. I have several real-life responsibilities to take care of today: assloads of grading to do, and some administrative tasks for my online classes. I'll be teaching a section of American Lit (before 1865) next semester, so I need to choose some books for that class as well. So far I'm leaning toward Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Linda Brent, for sure. As for the other books...hell if I know. That's what I need to figure out today. I figure I'll have three required texts and have them read a bevvy of short works and excerpts online. Save 'em some cash.
I'm also scrambling to finish up a book that will be appearing here tomorrow on blog tour: A World Without Ice, by Henry Pollack, PhD. It's an amazing book! Very intriguing, and it's been entirely too long since I've read a book from the sciences. Given my interest in green living and all, this was a perfect blog tour choice, so I'm looking forward to polishing it off and posting my review this evening.
I took a huuuuge pile of books back to the library this week, but of course I could never come home empty handed, now could I? What kind of obsessive compulsive book nut would I be? I only grabbed three:
- Through a Pale Door, by Brian Ray - Blurb: Sarah West takes a temporary job at her father's South Carolina steel mill the summer before college, hoping for relief from the chaos of her psychotic and often institutionalized mother. But from the first day of June to the waning days of August, relief is the last thing Sarah finds. Soon after she moves into her separated father's house, tragic news about her mother arrives.
The haunting funeral coincides with Sarah's first love affair. Her lover is a fellow mill worker, a teenage vigilante muralist named Edgewood who lives in an abandoned jail on the outskirts of town. Sarah and Edgewood share artistic gifts but hesitate at the door between adolescence and adulthood. While Edgewood struggles to develop confidence in his work, Sarah finds her own artistic endeavors haunted by grim yet compelling memories of growing up under the rule of an inexplicably deranged artist on one side and an oddly aloof, workaholic entrepreneur on the other.
- Pygmy, by Chuck Palahniuk - Blurb: "Begins here first account of operative me, agent number 67 on arrival midwestern American airport greater _____ area. Flight _____. Date _____. Priority mission top success to complete. Code name: Operation Havoc."
Thus speaks Pygmy, one of a handful of young adults from a totalitarian state sent to the United States, disguised as exchange students, to live with typical American families and blend in, all the while planning an unspecified act of massive terrorism. Palahniuk depicts Midwestern life through the eyes of this thoroughly indoctrinated little killer, who hates us with a passion, in this cunning double-edged satire of an American xenophobia that might, in fact, be completely justified. For Pygmy and his fellow operatives are cooking up something big, something truly awful, that will bring this big dumb country and its fat dumb inhabitants to their knees.
- The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness - I do really need a blurb? Here's one anyway: Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.
I have no idea which ones I'll actually get around to reading. I'm definitely shooting for The Knife of Never Letting Go because of all the recommendations. I'm also intrigued by Through a Pale Door, so Pygmy will probably end up losing out. Palahniuk and I have a rocky relationship these days, but I might surprise myself.
Have a great Sunday everyone, and I'll see you later with that review!