Monday, October 13, 2008

This is an ILLNESS...

Really, this book addiction is out of control. I told you about my fortuitous discovery (B&N gift card) yesterday and my subsequent purchases. Well, I'm very happy with myself and the lust is really pumping for those books that I picked up, but today I found myself in a "situation."

It was my usual day, I woke up around 6:00 or 6:30 when the sound of Daisy chewing on her feet in the crate rattled me out of my slumber. I checked e-mail, did some work, ate a muffin, and got ready for work. Headed out about 9:00, got to the college, read over my students' assignment for today, taught from 9:50-11:05, and I went to the library to finish up a few Information Hunt assignments for my Access and Retrieval class.

Before I out myself, my question for you, dear book lovers, is:

Can we ever really pass up free books? Really. Can we?

In my case the answer would be...NOOOOO! I came home with the following:

The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson. This seems to have become one of the "it" books in the blogosphere as of late, so that explains how I came to be interested in it. Well, that, and the cover. I'm a whore for a great cover and this is one of them. A blurb, my dearests:

The narrator of The Gargoyle is a very contemporary cynic, physically beautiful and sexually adept, who dwells in the moral vacuum that is modern life. As the book opens, he is driving along a dark road when he is distracted by what seems to be a flight of arrows. He crashes into a ravine and suffers horrible burns over much of his body. As he recovers in a burn ward, undergoing the tortures of the damned, he awaits the day when he can leave the hospital and commit carefully planned suicide—for he is now a monster in appearance as well as in soul.

A beautiful and compelling, but clearly unhinged, sculptress of gargoyles by the name of Marianne Engel appears at the foot of his bed and insists that they were once lovers in medieval Germany.

If I had to guess, I would say I'll dive into this book before the others I checked out. We'll see. My reading habits are as shifty as Texas weather (retarded, cliche comparison...shhhh!).

I've decided to try to let go of my bloodthirsty grudge I've had aimed at Curtis Sittenfeld (biatch!) for years. I can let it goooo that she said this about Melissa Banks' novel, The Wonder Spot:

To suggest that another woman's ostensibly literary novel is chick lit feels catty, not unlike calling another woman a slut -- doesn't the term basically bring down all of us? And yet, with ''The Wonder Spot,'' it's hard to resist.

Ok, fine, I'm not letting it go at all. To read the rest of the review, click HERE. I haven't even read The Wonder Spot, but I find Sittenfeld's review so needlessly bitchy, I just can't let it go. BUT, I'm still going to try one of her books. Part of me hopes American Wife is really worthless so I can sorta, kinda call her a slut, too. Or maybe just a pretentious a-hole, but we'll see how it goes. Why do I have a sneaking suspicion I won't be receive any books from Random House...ever? Ha!

Blurb from Bookmarks Magazine:

While critics couldn’t say for sure whether or not Sittenfeld captures the exact thoughts of Laura Bush, they did agree that she creates a realistic and highly sympathetic portrayal of the (soon-to-be former) First Lady. (The author supposedly based the novel on Ann Gerhart’s 2004 biography, The Perfect Wife: The Life and Choices of Laura Bush.) Sittenfeld asks provoking questions about marriage, loyalty, and responsibility. But many reviewers couldn’t fundamentally understand why the very decent Alice had supported her husband despite her doubts about his capabilities; Sittenfeld’s pat, unsatisfactory answer is that Alice leads a life “in opposition.” That, combined with the author’s obvious contempt for Charlie, brought the reviews down a notch. Still, there’s nothing as titillating as a look, albeit fictional, inside the White House—especially during an election year.

Finally, The Monsters of Templeton, by Lauren Groff. I want this book for two very distinct reasons 1) Susan liked it 2) the cover is DEL-I-CIOUS! Almost as yummy and edible as The Gargoyle.

Blurb from an Amazon review:

On the very morning Willie Upton slinks home to Templeton, New York (after a calamitous affair with her archeology professor), the 50-foot-long body of a monster floats from the depths of the town's lake. This unsettling coincidence sets the stage for one of the most original debut novels since The Time Traveler’s Wife. With a clue to the mysterious identity of her father in hand, Willie turns her research skills to unearthing the secrets of the town in letters and pictures (which, "reproduced" in the book along with increasingly complete family trees, lend an air of historical authenticity). Lauren Groff's endearingly feisty characters imbue the story with enough intrigue to keep readers up long past bedtime, and reading groups will find much to discuss in its themes of "monsters," both in our towns and our families.

I've been working since about 6am with a few breaks for meals and whatnot. It's after 9:00 pm now, and I really want to stop, but I still have a job application to complete. See y'all later!


  1. If you weren't an addict, I'd say go to bed with a bowl of soup and an aspirin. But, fortunately, this post just means you're fine and dandy. :)

  2. Yes, its an illness, and there's no cure. Luckily it will leave you much happier than getting the flu. Plus your mind will be way more engaged from all the reading.

  3. Hehehe: I just got another review copy in the mail today: The Trouble With Boys. And while I sympathise completely with the title (hehe), it's about how boys aren't doing too well in the education system. It should be interesting, although I really don't need more on my plate...

    but seriously, we are addicts, and we should just accept it. :D

  4. I haven't read her new one, but I read Prep, and it wasn't exactly a literary masterpiece, it was chick lit-ish/teen lit-ish dreck. (and I like chick lit)

    As an aside, one of my friends took a class from her at Iowa and really liked her.

  5. you're making me long for a bookstore fix!! :-)

    by the way, what do you make of the nobel prize for literature recipient?

  6. You're going to be running out of space again at this rate.

  7. I no longer call it an illness or an addiction - it is now known as a "Literary Fetish" (I've always wanted a non-perverted fetish)

    Anywhoo ... You got The Gargoyle, WooHoo it's awesome! And Monsters Of Templeton, I cannot wait to read. Enjoy your reads :)

  8. I really enjoyed The Gargoyle, I hope you do too.

    I agree about the cover of Monsters. It was the first think I noticed when I skimmed your post. I'd pick it up just for that :)

  9. So funny...I just heard an interview with Curtis on NPR yesterday and I was like "that lady sucks...." But I'm still intrigued by the book so I'll probably be reading it!

  10. I can't tell you how much I love the cover of The Gargoyle. I sigh every time I've seen it.

  11. Yes, it is a sickness, but you don't really want a cure, do you??
    I really really want to read The Gargoyle. It sounds so amazing!

  12. I've been trying without success to get "The Monsters of Templeton" from BookMooch. I might have to just bite the bullet and buy it ...

  13. Nancy, that's an excellent point. lol

    Kim, another great point! I'm all about keeping the mind spry, and I hate the flu.

    That does sound interesting, Eva! Looking forward to your review when you get it wrapped up. And you're right. Maybe we should have "We're book addicts" t-shirts!

    Lu, I'm sure she's a lovely person (maybe), but she's an ideological trainwreck in my mind to this point in time. Maybe this book will change my mind.

    Jules, never heard of the guy. Which I'm sure just makes me a silly American out of touch with literature "of the world." I'm rehashing the head of the Nobel literature committee's sentiments (in the Washington Post) about the US being too insular to really take part in literature in any meaningful way. Blarrrg on them!

    Stu, you are so right. I think I have at least three boxes of books to go to the used book store.

    Joanne, literary fetish is PERFECT! It sounds so...titilating!

  14. Chris, some covers are just that good, aren't they! I love it when one really grabs me by the proverbial nosehair.

    LOL, Kristen! I'll have to look up that interview and see if there's a streaming version. I don't know that I've ever heard her speak.

    Sassy, the only problem with the library copy is that, because it's encased in library plastic, I can't take off the outer cover and look at the pretty red underneath. Bummer!

    Nah, no cure for me, Nat. It's too much fun as it is. :)

    Dennis, it's hell trying to get new or popular books from Bookmooch. I've pretty much given up and use it for obscure titles and/or classics.

  15. You found some good stuff! Monsters of Templeton is in my TBR stack, too. I'd like to know what you think of American Wife. I thought it was a good read, though I have liked Sittenfeld's work in the past. My concern for this novel though, is that it's so current -will it stand the test of time?

  16. If you are going to have an addiction, better it be books than something else. And free books are especially okay since you aren't hurting your bank account.

  17. I have The Gargoyle. Couldn't get into it, but plan to try again. Mine has a different cover :(

    I don't like Curtis either. Pretentious you-know-what.

    I forgot about The Monsters of Templeton, by Lauren Groff! I just adore that cover and have been meaning to get my hands on it. Thanks for reminding me. I think.

  18. I know what you mean. I have quite a number of books that I need to tend to, and yet, I pre-ordered this morning J.K. Rowling's latest--Tales of Beedble the Bard--not just one, but two copies. However, I think I can exonerate myself by informing everyone that the books are for $4 daughter and my #1 granddaughter. As for judging a book by its cover, I am all over that. If I saw those covers I would have done the same thing, especially if they are free. Besides, couldn't you sort of gift them, that way you are doing your part in spreading literary and visual art.
    See, Ima always thinkin'

  19. There is no cure for those of us who adore books - we can never have enough, whether we ever hope to read them all in this lifetime or not!

    And what's this about a "job application"? Girl, how many jobs do you already have??

  20. Now, if only there was a way to make money for buying books - not reading them - just buying them - we would all be rich.

  21. The Monsters of Templeton was one of my absolute favorite books since I started blogging. I sent my copy to Lauren Groff to sign and I treasure it. I can't wait for your review.

  22. It's not an illness....I can only say this to you Andi....Come over to the dark side (never say no to a free book--at least one that sounds Really good!).

  23. An illness means it is a bad thing! I'd much rather people read like words were their oxygen.

    I've hard a lot about that Gargoyle book. Pending your review, we shall see if it gets added to my own to read list

  24. Tara, a good point with American Wife. I'll be interested to find that out, too. I'll keep ya posted!

    That's a good point, Wendy. And my other addiction is chocolate. It's much more damaging than the book fetish. lol

    Heather, the cover reminded me of something you might like! And I hope I'm in the mood for The Gargoyle. We'll see!

    Fem, the Beedle the Bard books totallyyy don't count since you're giving them away. :)

    LOL, Becca--these job applications are for full time positions that start in August '09. :) I have my fill of work for the moment.

    Andi, that's a brilliant idea. If we could figure out a way to swing that we'd be international superstar heroes!!!

    LH, that's so coool! I have a couple of autographed books that I keep in esteemed places and have the urge to pet at regular intervals (Joyce Carol Oates and Scott McCloud). I'll be sure to post a review when I'm done.

    Danielle, the dark side has got me, for sure!

  25. Ophelia, that's very true. And as a teacher I hope every day that my students will take on reading materials as their oxygen. We're not quite there yet, but we're getting closer!

  26. As someone who spent a lot of his time as a public schoolteacher trying to entice kids to discover the joy of reading, may I state that I hope your addiction is contagious!

  27. Me too, Johnny! Me too!

  28. Monsters of Templeton is fabulous! I'm glad to hear you've picked it up.

  29. Ok, just reading some of the comments make me realize I've got to get back to Monsters of Templeton - I love the cover art of that book but I couldn't get into it at all! Maybe it was just wrong timing sort of thing.

    And, please read American Wife because I can't wait for an Andi smackdown :) Actually, I've never read any of her books so for all I know they are great!

  30. I've heared mixed things about The Gargoyle and decided to pass. I enjoyed American Wife though. I wouldn't pass on Sittenfeld's novels just because you didn't like a book review she wrote. *shrug*

  31. Marie, I won't pass. I'm actually really eager to read her stuff. She comes off as very "holier than thou" in her review, which put a bad taste in my mouth. She could've been just as critical without hurling insults that linger very close to the personal. It seems very unprofessional and in very bad taste.


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