Archive for May, 2010

I confess:

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Last week, Dagoberto Gilb’s Magic of Blood (largely enjoyable).

This week, I caved–the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (I confess to having loved this).

I leave for Panama in a week so from here on out for the next month I think I will be light-reading/magazine reading.   Long weekend reading will involve Gilb’s Woodcuts of Women and the second in this stupid Swedish hacker series.  I am 5% embarrassed but 100% enjoying them, so who cares.

On things I have always meant to read

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

When I finished Lonesome Dove I felt a little anxious, because what do you follow that up with?  I was partly relieved I didn’t have to lug it around anymore (and have people think I was reading the Bible on the bus, yech), but for the most part I was anxious.

I followed it up with a scary young adult book by Allegra Goodman-the Other Side of the Island.  How’s this for an endorsement: I read it in one day.  I love a good dystopic tale, and moreover, I love dystopic tales for teens, because what is better than terrifying a young adult?  I like most of the things I’ve read of Goodman’s (for the most part, short stories in the New Yorker), and this didn’t disappoint.  It was part the Giver, part Oryx & Crake, part Catching Fire.  All great favorites of mine.  I am learning that I very much enjoy speculative science fiction (this came as a shock), and Goodman managed to work in some hugely important themes that I think could have a great effect on young adults, as it certainly affected this not-quite-young young adult. I do recommend this for adults and young adults alike.

I am stubbornly pushing through Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate right now.  I think I was absent during the week of tenth grade that I was supposed to read this?  Maybe.  Either way, this is one of those “I have always meant to read that!” books, and I wouldn’t say I love it, but I also wouldn’t say I hate it.  I have well-documented problems with reading about cooking, but that aspect of this book is actually probably my favorite part (that and I love, love, love Mexican food and keep fantasizing about mole and chiles).  I am just not that dazzled by this, which isn’t necessarily bad.  I know that I don’t always love magical realism, and that might explain why I am so lukewarm.  I’m sure this is good, it just isn’t for me.  I initially wanted to read this in Spanish, but I don’t think I’m quite there yet.  I’ll keep trying.  But I’ll finish it, and then move on.  After all, I usually do.

I have about 45 books in my mental queue that “I have always meant to read;” things that are notable or acclaimed for one reason or another, but things that I just never get around to reading.  I sometimes wonder if I am a bad reader for never reading things I am “supposed” to read.  But that, I think, takes away from reading as an activity that I just simply love.  What do I know?

Take me to the desert!

Monday, May 10th, 2010

I can’t stop talking about/thinking about/reading Lonesome Dove.  I have always been daunted by its size, but I shouldn’t have been–the characters are immediately engaging and the plot is literally thrilling.  I should have read this years ago.  It might be my favorite book of 2010 (this is premature, surely, as it’s only May, but I don’t care.  I love it!).  My horse fever is back and all I want to do is read it.

I did take a break from the cowboys this weekend to go visit the agave at Phipps.  This thing is equally thrilling, so if you love plants that grow one foot a day, get yourself to the Cactus Room.

In other desert/cowboy-themed news, I leave for Panama in 24 days!!!!  I am already dreaming about what books and dresses I will take (obviously).

past writing

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

My first published article (which appeared in volume 1 of the Franklin News on April 26th, 1993):


I wrote this article on an island called Kiawah.  It is about alligators.

Alligators live in and near water.  Their babies are born out of leathery eggs and mostly they eat and sleep and they look like their parents.

Sometimes they eat fish, frogs, squirrels, and maybe birds.  They like the sun and do not live in the shade often.

They live by resting and eating.  They get to be about 14 or 19 feet long.  They have big mouths, bent legs and scaley skin.  They look dangerous but sometimes they aren’t dangerous.  They look slow but they can be very fast.

Talk about hedging!

My bookmarks, or wtf

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

I infrequently re-read books, but last night I found myself re-reading Carolyn Forche’s The Country Between Us.  Which is, of course, perfect.  I moved yesterday and my entire body hurts–I feel like I have been lifting weights for three weeks.  My thighs are bruised from balancing heavy boxes atop them and I really just wanted to look at something comforting last night.  I have read and re-read my favorite of Forche’s slim volumes of poetry, but I have turned to this one time & time again.  The last time I read this, I must have been in Toronto–a receipt for a bakery on Bloor was tucked inside (I bought 3 croissants–ambitious) as well as directions my brother distinctly scrawled down to help me find my way to OMC’s brothers’ house.  I love things like this–remembering when and where I last read something.  When I lend books to people they are amused by how much garbage I leave inside them.  It isn’t uncommon to find a picture or a postcard or directions or a recipe inside one of my books (or all of the above).  These usually begin life as bookmarks but eventually stay forever inside my books, which I love, because I tend to believe that my reading location flavors a good book that much more.  Memorable examples of this include reading Allende on a bus in Nicaragua and Ian Frazier’s Great Plains on a train in Poland.  I often forget where I might have been (physically and mentally) when I read something specific, but I can usually pin it down to a certain month, location and mood just by glancing at my accidental souvenirs.   A lot is happening right now, and I have very mixed feelings about much of it, so it was nice to find something so certain and specific in my past reading.