Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Inevitable Book Choices

So, I've finished Breaking Dawn, the first and only book I've read in August thus far, and there's danger of a slump. Any time I read a book that I LOVE BEYOND ALL NORMAL AMOUNTS I could slump. Easily. I'm contemplating, and have begun to sample, two books:

Exposure, by Kathryn Harrison. I've never read Harrison, although I have this novel and her memoir, The Kiss, on my stacks. My friend T. recommended Harrison back when we were in grad school, and like the horrible reading friend I am, I'm just now getting to it. T. never let me down, having recommended Cormac McCarthy's The Road and Blood Meridian, so I'm looking forward to digging into this one.

Blurb from the publisher:

Ann Rogers appears to be a happily married, successful young woman. A talented photographer, she creates happy memories for others, videotaping weddings, splicing together scenes of smiling faces, editing out awkward moments. But she cannot edit her own memories so easily–images of a childhood spent as her father’s model and muse, the subject of his celebrated series of controversial photographs. To cope, Ann slips into a secret life of shame and vice. But when the Museum of Modern Art announces a retrospective of her father’s shocking portraits, Ann finds herself teetering on the edge of self-destruction, desperately trying to escape the psychological maelstrom that threatens to consume her.

What is the What, by Dave Eggers, is another T. recommendation. I admit it, I've resisted Eggers' work for YEARS just because he titled his memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius; tongue-in-cheek or not, it makes him sound like an asshole. BUT, I must admit, I'm really enjoying What is the What so far. I'm only a few pages in (20 or so), but it's very very promising.


What Is the What is an epic novel about the lives of two boys during the Sudanese civil war. For those who think they know about the so-called Lost Boys of Sudan, this novel will be an eye-opener. And if you think you know the work of Dave Eggers, this is in many ways a complete departure: it's straightforward and unflinching, and yet full of unexpected humor and adventure amid the madness of war.

Random tidbit o'the day:

Daisy has started swimming in her water bowl. She puts her nose down in the water almost up to her eyeballs and blows bubbles. So cute. So weird.

On ye olde iPod: "Brothers on a Hotel Bed," by Death Cab for Cutie


  1. I've read Harrison. I read the one about the practice of binding feet in China. I can't remember the name but it was okay. I also read her biography of some nun who became a saint. Can't remember the name of it either but it was pretty good. Seems like I've read another by her, but (of course) I can't remember the name OR what IT was about! LOL

    Never read Eggers.

  2. Andi, I know what you mean. It's always hard for me to find something to read after a book that I absolutely loved. It just seems like nothing could measure up.

  3. might just compel me to pick up What is the What next. It has been sitting on my bookshelf, and I really want to read it this year!

  4. I avoided Eggers for the same reason as you, but this sounds as though it is something I would want to read. (I suspect the word 'enjoy' shouldn't be used in this particular context.) I love forward to your review of the whole book.

  5. I detested Heartbreaking Work, so I've avoided anything else by Eggers. But I have heard good things about What Is the What.

    I've read some Harrison and liked it.

  6. i have a great book for you!!! you have to read "tales of protection" by Erik Fosnes Hansen--he's a Norwegian author and it's a wonderful translation by Nadia Christensen. it's like blowing me away amazing!!! if you can't find it, let me know and i'll pick one up for you next week in oslo and send it to you. it will be a suitable book to follow one you really loved. :-) i'm sure of this and i'm only on page 96.

  7. Andi, wow, 'Exposure' sounds fantastic. That sound of crashing you just heard was my TBR pile, as I add one more to the teetering stack!

  8. I never have read Eggers. For some reason, I can't bring myself to pick up Staggering Genius. And I don't know why!!

    My dogs like to swim in their water bowls too! My dogs are just plain weird though. And I'm so mad at one of them right now. Rocco, the St. Bernard, can open the gate. So we ended up putting a lock on it. The other night I got home from the grocery store, and as I was unloading the haul, I didn't lock the gate. I ran inside with some bags, and got a phone call. When I went back out, the gate was open, Rocco was sitting by my truck. He had pulled out a bag of groceries, inhaled a loaf of bread, and was in the middle of licking through a pound of butter!! I'm still mad at him!

  9. I actually read Harrison's The Kiss - which was quite beutiful - event though the incest theme disturbed me. I liked being disturbed by The Kiss. Which may reveal too much about how my mind works, so I shall stop now.

  10. OH I didn't even know she had a foot binding book. I'll have to check that one out. And the nun one, too.

    Amen, Lisa! It'll be tough finding one as fun and involving as Breaking Dawn. I even thought about going back and starting the series over from the beginning.

    Do it, Nyssaneala! It's great so far!

    Ann, I think you'd really find it interesting and stimulating (better than "enjoy").

    Oh good, Purl. I don't feel so bad about not even attempting to pick it up. lol

    Julie, I found a copy at Amazon!!! It looks amazing.

    LOL, Lisa, mine's been making an ominous creaking noise.

    Oh my gosh, Stephanie! Your Rocco story is hilarious, but it would've irked me, too. Sounds like something Daisy would do but on a much larger scale!

    Orpheus, I sort of know what you mean. Beasts, by Joyce Carol Oates disturbed me deeply, but I so admired Oates for having written something so affecting. Can't wait to give The Kiss a try.

  11. Oh I remember Exposure. I've not read anything else by her since then though. And, ok, I now intrigued by this Eggers book. I tried reading Heartbreak... and hated it and have resisted anything else by him as well. Looking forward to your thoughts on the book.


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