Friday, December 30, 2005

What do you mean it's almost 1000 pages?

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.
-Mark Strand

The library did it to me again. I am still working on the Kafka biography and the reserve system dumped two more books on my lap. The Beatles by Bob Spitz is a door stop. Don't know if I will do more than skim through it looking for the juicy bits. Some of the criticism I have read is that it is full of errors many that may have been the result of a rush to press in order to get it ready before Christmas but that the writing is strong and exhaustive as one would assume in a tome that size. Still should be fun and at the very least will send me back to their records.

The other one that came in was History of Love by Nicole Krauss(Half of the New York based literary wunderkind couple as Jonathan Safran Foer (interesting web site) is her husband but she doesn't talk about him.) Themes of their books are similar dealing with Jewish grandparents, Holocaust, post 9/11, both have used young protagonists to narrate novels, and both are obviously talented and at times extremely funny. I heard a blurb from NPR's Fresh Air reviewer Maureen Corrigan on her Best Of lists and thought I would check it out the Krauss book despite the faint whiff of hype that sometimes leads to overvaluation and subsequent disappointment.

To add to the pile of books to be read I cashed in a Prairie Lights gift certificate for a collection of Kafka stories (updated translation recommended by Bloom) and a historical novel from the remainder table, The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant which is about a young girl raised in 15th century Florence that I have wanted to read since I first heard about it.

I just noticed that Scruffy has her favorite books of the year up. She has a few that are on my ever expanding To Be Read list. As for my favorites, off the top of my head for fiction; Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy and Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which I finally got around to reading. Nothing else comes immediately to mind but I am sure will as soon as I hit the publish button. I didn't really keep an accurate reading journal which I have done in previous years. That task is also on my list of resolutions which is another task in itself, committing the resolutions themselves to paper or at least to a text file. Tony Hoagland's book of poems Donkey Gospel arrived from Interlibrary... I guess I did it to myself.

UPDATE: "I am a sick man...", I could not resist stopping at the Book End (public library book store for you outlanders) and of course bought ($2) True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey in pristine trade paper. It had an irresistible blurb on the back from San Francisco Chronicle, "...blending Dickens and Cormac McCarthy with a distinctly Australian strain of melancholy." I also saw two copies of Dog of the South by Charles Portis a hilarious quixotic tale by a writer that reminds me of J.P. Donleavy and John Kennedy Toole.


scruffylooking said...

Yea! We get to talk more about books. Did you ever read The Kite Runner? At one point you told me you hadn't so when I finished it however many months ago, I left it with K. because I figured she'd see you sooner - since she is better at leaving her house than I. Anyway, it's still there if you want to add it to your mountain.
The part when you were talking about "book hype" made me think of it. I believe the book was worth the hype if you don't mind having your guts ripped out. I've always been interested in the history of Afghanistan and TKR is good for reading about that.

Dexter said...

I will add it to my list of things to check out. A good history of US clandistine involvement in Aghanistan war against Soviets is Charlie Wilson's War by George Crile....rumor has it Aaron Sorkin is doing screenplay for film version...

displacedriverrat said...

i'm just saying the best blurb ever on any book ever is the Dylan Thomas quote on At Swim-Two-Birds:

"This is just the book to give your sister if she's a loud, dirty, boozy girl!"