29 November 2011

Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day

DS may not see this as an especially festive event, but I think it's just plain AWESOME! 

I can never truly browse to my delight with DS in tow.  I'm racing to beat the inevitable, whiny, "Moooom, can we pleeeeease go now????  How much loooonger???"  Complete with drooping body and rolling eyes.  And this is a kid who doesn't even hate reading.

But in this case, bookstores are doing cool stuff to celebrate.  For example, Longfellow Books is giving away a book (up to $10.00) to every kid who visits on Saturday!  This might even entice my little guy.

Enjoy downtown, buy local, and check out Longfellow!

21 November 2011

This is what happens when I don't read my email...

Andre Dubus III gave a reading at one of my favorite bookstores three weeks ago, and I was too swamped to notice the email announcing it!  Lookee here: Andre Dubus III Townie at Longfellow Books . OMG.  And here I had JUST finished BLOGGING about him, and what is likely his best-known book.

Oh, I am SO kicking myself. ;-(

I guess I can console myself with knowing that I definitely will not miss Tolstoy giving a reading any time soon, right?

18 November 2011

Anna Karenina, Parts 3 and 4

Levin can't make up his mind... does he love farming or loathe it?  Are the peasants shiftless, or just misdirected?  Does he want to be with Kitty, or is he too proud/shy to have contact with her again?  Is he traditional?  Progressive?  I think that Levin is like many of us: complicated.  Changeable.  He'd like the world to be in black & white, but like it or not, it's in Technicolor.

And Anna.  Anna, Anna, Anna.  Yep, your life is a wreck.  Your lover knocked you up, you're living this estranged life from your husband, but still with him in the house.  For the sake of propriety, or society, or the servants, or most of all your son, although we don't see much contact between the two of you.  Where is this Seryozha?

Sometimes it's a little tough to know exactly what's going on (like, how pregnant IS she?) because Tolstoy is so Victorian about it.  She's crocheting something with white yarn, so I think the implication is that she's "showing."

For the Inquiring Mind

Want to play along at home?  Here's my list, alphabetized. 
(Yeah, I'm that girl.)

Abbott, Edwin A., Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
Achebe, Chinua, Things Fall Apart
Anonymous, Tales from the Thousand and One Nights
Baldwin, James, Notes of a Native Son
Bohjalian, Chris, Midwives
Bowles, Paul, The Sheltering Sky
Bushnell, Candace, Sex and the City
Cleave, Chris, Little Bee
Cornwell, Bernard, The Last Kingdom
Crafts, Hannah (edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr), The Bondswoman’s Narrative
Crowley, John, Little, Big
DeLillo, Don, White Noise
Dubus, Andre III, House of Sand and Fog
Dunn, Katherine, Geek Love
Dunn, Mark, Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters
Edwards, Kim, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
Enger, Leif, Peace Like a River
Erdrich, Louise, Love Medicine
Eugenides, Jeffrey, The Virgin Suicides
Ferrucci, Franco, The Life of God (as Told by Himself)
Foer, Jonathan Safran, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Funke, Cornelia, Inkheart
Garland, Alex, The Beach
Gordon, Mary, Spending
Harrigan, Stephen, The Gates of the Alamo
Hazzard, Shirley, The Great Fire
Hulme, Keri, The Bone People
Hurston, Zora Neale, Their Eyes Were Watching God
Ishiguro, Kasuo, The Remains of the Day
Johnson, Charles, Middle Passage
Keller, Nora Okja, Comfort Woman
MacDonald, Ann-Marie, Fall on Your Knees
Mattison, Alice, The Book Borrower
Maugham, Somerset, The Painted Veil
McBride, Jame, Miracle at St. Anna
McCann, Colum, Let the Great World Spin
McEwan, Ian, The Comfort of Strangers
Millhauser, Steven, Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer
Morrison, Toni, The Bluest Eye
O’Brien, Tim, In the Lake of the Woods
O’Brien, Tim, The Things They Carried
O’Connor, Flannery, Wise Blood
Oates, Joyce Carol, Expensive People
Ondaatje, Michael, The English Patient
Paolini, Christopher, Eragon
Pearl, Matthew, The Poe Shadow
Proulx, E. Annie, Accordion Crimes
Randall, Alice, The Wind Done Gone
Roth, Philip, American Pastoral
Roth, Philip, The Plot Against America
Roy, Arundhati, The God of Small Things
Rushdie, Salman, The Enchantress of Florence
Russo, Richard, Empire Falls
Sapphire, Push
Schlink, Bernhard, The Reader
See, Lisa, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Shaffer, Mary Ann & Annie Barrows, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Shteyngart, Gary, Absurdistan
Strout, Elizabeth, Olive Kitteridge
Tolstoy, Leo, Anna Karenina
Wangerin, Walter, J, The Book of the Dun Cow
Wharton, Edith, The House of Mirth
Whitehead, Colson, The Intuitionist
Xingjian, Gao,  Soul Mountain
Zola, Emile, Nana

Barnet, Sylvan, A Short Guide to Writing About Literature
Birkerts, Sven, The Gutenberg Elegies
Bryson, Bill, A Walk in the Woods
Capote, Truman, In Cold Blood
Diamond, Jared, Guns, Germs, and Steel
Ehrenreich, Barbara, Nickel and Dimed
Grier, Katherine C., Pets in America: A History
Honoré, Carl, In Praise of Slowness
Kenyon, Olga, 800 Years of Women’s Letters
Kurlansky, Mark, Salt: A World History
Larson, Erik, The Devil in the White City
Mann, Charles C., 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
Pollan, Michael, The Omnivore’s Dilemma
Schumacher, E.F., Small is Beautiful
Truss, Lynne, Eats, Shoots, & Leaves
Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher, A Midwife’s Tale
Zinn, Howard, A People’s History of the United States

10 November 2011

Anna Karenina Part 2

Holy cow, this thing is a tome. Now I know why I haven't tackled it yet. Tonight DS said he's surprised that I'm finding it overwhelming... "How did you feel the first time you read it?"

"The first time? Honey, this IS the first time."

He thought I'd read every book in our home. Maybe every book EVER. I suppose I'm now just a mere mortal.

Analogy: Frou Frou (the horse) is to Anna as a broken back is to a broken life. Frou Frou WANTS to race. Anna WANTS to have a more inspiring relationship than that which she has (or doesn't have) with her insufferable husband. Both Anna and Frou Frou are described as fluttering birds within pages of each other. And Vronsky is the agent of both their suffering. Neither is done with malice; he adores both his mistress and his horse. But both are vulnerable... to him.

Levin: "Why should I worry about medical centers that I'll never use, or schools I'll never send my children to, that the peasants don't want to send their children to either, and in which I have no firm belief that they ought to send them?" (p. 244). Screams of Libertarianism. Ron Paul could have said that yesterday. "I will always defend with all my might those rights that touch on my interests" (p. 246). Yikes. Experts say that Levin is Tolstoy's autobiographical character. No socialism there, so far as I can tell.

So the Book Referees (DS and DH) have offered me a respite with a volume of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. I think I need a break from Russian angst.

01 November 2011

Anna Karenina, Part 1

It's a book in eight parts; there's no reason I have to wait until I'm finished to post about Anna Karenina.  I've started this book before, but not this translation, and not in a trade paperback size.  This edition is the award-winning Penguin Classic, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (husband and wife!).  SO much more readable.  It doesn't feel "antique," if feels alive and contemporary.  And I think that's just what Tolstoy wanted: for us to see this world, and the unique ways in which these families are unhappy.  For us to be able to relate to them.

I have a distinct image in my mind of Anna, but not of Vronsky.  Not yet.  Maybe it will come to me as time, and pages, go on.