Wednesday, December 30, 2009

So Many Books, So Little Time

yes, yes, absolutely, you're right: lame-o blogger, haven't posted in weeks. Though, between the end of the semester and the whole holiday thing, those were some pretty intense weeks. Lots of things went by the wayside: correspondence (email, FB, LinkedIn, and otherwise), tidyness around the house and office, excessive attention to grooming, etc. Don't get me wrong, I took showers - almost everyday, in fact. Just wasn't rat-tailing the bangs or buffing up the nails. Course I don't do either of those things anyway, so that didn't save me so much time. Let's just say that I kept myself presentable, just not dolled up.

So the blogging suffered. But my family is happy and I'm still employed; what more can you want? Time, of course... mostly for various writing projects. Which is another reason the blogging is on the back burner. This week off  has been an opportunity to woodshed, as the jazz-cats say, out in my garden-shack studio. Helps that it's been raining, too. Easy to stay inside.  It's been raining in my novella, too, come to think of it.

The library project is on hold for now. In an attempt to meet their slashed budget, the Sonoma County Libraries are closed all this week. I know they have little choice, but these are sad times.

On the upside, I've been able to indulge in some fabulous reading: The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery (translated from the French), a book that had been recommended to me several times. And with damn good reason. This is some book. I haven't finished quite yet, but almost; I'm at that point where I'm slowing down, so it lasts just a teeny bit longer.  I'm completely impressed with the author's ability to mess around with philosophical ideas and yet keep a compelling tale going. Not only that, but there's been few words I had to look up in the dictionary, like incunabulum. I  love it!  The French can be like that, though. I highly recommend it; has anyone else read it yet?

This is Barbery's second novel but the first to be published here. Her first novel, Gourmet Rhapsody, has subsequently been published on this side of the pond and it's next on my list.

Some of the rest of the list:
The Help by Kathryn Stockett...I want to see what the fuss is about.
Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver, 'nuff said.
A Gate at the Stairs, by Lorrie Moore, ditto
Too Much Happiness, by Alice Munro, ditto, ditto.
The Art of Subtext, by Charles Baxter as suggested by Cliff Garstang on his blog Perpetual Folly, a blog to check out if you're of the writing clan.

Prep, The Man of My Dreams and American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld. One of the faculty at Napa Writers Conference this summer; I like to be prepared. It's that Inner Scout thing.
Long for This World, and Coast of Good Intentions, by Michael Byers, for the same reason.

Woman's World, by Graham Rawle, a novel written using text (words, phrases) entirely cut out from women's magazines. This is an Xmas gift from my bookseller daughter--she knows her stuff.

Well, that's a good start. Here's some links, if you're interested in other good book lists. Kathleen O'Hanlon
S.Krishna's Books  authors from South Asia and a whole bunch of places not America; includes book reviews and reading challenges. A great place to be introduced to unfamiliar authors.

With that, I think it's time to pack 2009 away and get ready for 2010.


  1. This is truly inspiring. Barbara Kingsolver will be presenting writers' workshops at the San Miguel Writers Conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico February 19-23. I just signed up. It looks like a rare opportunity to meet her. Are you going?

  2. Thanks, Brook! Fabulous that you'll be at San Miguel de Allende with Kingsolver; friends who've attended in the past have told me nothing but great stuff about the conference. Alas, I'm not going, though I'd love to. But, if you get a chance, drop us a comment when you get to hear more!


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