Category Archives: Uncategorized

Challenge: New Year, New Sun

For the last few years, my husband has been trying to get anyone who will listen to him to read Gene Wolfe.  I never have, in large part because I like to be contrary.  Also, he was never able to make his books seem interesting to me.  But a bandwagon?  I can be convinced to jump on those.

I’m about halfway through the first book, The Shadow of the Torturer, and am wondering why I felt so intimidated by these for so long.  Yes, there are a lot of big (antiquated) words I don’t understand, but I don’t feel as if I need to understand their every nuance.  Context is king.

I was also worried for a bit that I’d have to live through lots of women being tortured.  Luckily, there were only two.  And the episodes were brief and not that explicit.

I don’t have an Opinion about the series yet (there are four books, in two omnibus editions, plus a “sequel” I think?) but I’m neither bored nor overwhelmed.  Mordicai likes things about books that I don’t, but there is enough here besides those things for me to enjoy as well.

Disclaimer: My husband works for the company who publishes these books, but I don’t know that anyone there is even aware he’s doing it.  It’s really born from an obsessive love of Gene Wolfe.


Catching Fire

Has anyone else read this yet?  I just finished and really want to talk about it with someone, because I’m not sure what I think.  I enjoyed it, but have reservations.  And contrary to what I’ve seen in other reviews, I liked the first half better than the second.

Day 1: SLJ’s Day of Dialog

Is it cheating if I say my favorite part about today was that it was held within walking distance of my house?  I never get to experience the smugness of some of my Manhattan friends who always get to enjoy that pleasure (even though I am pretty full of smug-love for my neighborhood), but I certainly took advantage of it today.  I took a long lunch (after stealing one of the prepared box lunches) back at my apartment and used the time to intricately plot out my next couple of days.  I get better at BEA every time I go, even though every time I go it rains.  But! I was very happy that a few of the ARCs I picked up today were on my big master list, and have been checked off and don’t need to be carted home from the Javits Center.  I even started one, “Once Was Lost” by Sarah Zarr while I got a pedicure this afternoon.  I wish every afternoon was so laid back (not that anything by Sarah Zarr should be characterized as laid back).

Seven books so far, and I was mostly as picky as I think I need to be.  A few I knew I wanted to grab, and a few others whose covers or authors or editors seduced me.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow, and think I share enough interests with enough of the people I know who are going that I’ll have partners in crime for a good chunk of the day.  It’s a shame that I’m really not doing much YA reader’s advisory these days (and I wish I could forget about the Hacidic mother with a picky 16-year-old at home who won’t read anything with romance, or violence, or fantasy in it) so I can’t even pretend this is for anything other than my own personal interest.  Even though now that I’m supervising the Teen Central staff I can still claim a little bit of YA cred for myself.

Adult Books

I have a handful of reviews to put up later today, but I like to let them sit for a second once I’m done and then go back and ever-so-lightly revise them.  But in other news, adult reading news, I like how related the books I’ve finished lately have been:

  • Dreams from my Father – Barack Obama
  • American Wife – Curtis Sittenfeld
  • I Don’t: A Contrarian History of Marriage – Susan Squire

I really enjoyed them all and already passed on the last two to a friend who I know also likes Laura Bush and would enjoy the biblical and historical aspects of “I Don’t.”

A funny thing has happened now that my husband doesn’t work at a bookstore anymore: I’ve started buying books again.  While he was there, with his deep discount, I only ever checked books out from the library.  The passivity of just asking him to get what I wanted took all the fun out of it for me.  But now that I don’t have a cheap and easy way to get books, I’ve just been buying them for myself.  Or at least the ones I can’t wait until the library gets ’em.  Not that there’s a book-free inch in our apartment.

My week in books

Had sort of a bookish week.  Inspired in part by the New York Times article on how awful book clubs can be, I asked some of my friends if they’d be interested in forming one of our own and the reaction was pretty positive.  I’ll start thinking about that once Christmas is over.  And then on Friday I met with Frank Anthony Polito, Band Fags author, for a cup of coffee.  He was there editing his follow-up novel.  Hopefully this character will be a bit nicer about lesbians.  Then I headed to the Flat Iron building for the Henry Holt Thomas Dunn Christmas party, (over) dressed to the nines thanks to Meryl, to meet all of my husband’s new coworkers.  I squeezed a whole night’s worth of fun into a few hours (and paid for it the next day at work) so that we could go home to meet up with a houseguest who ended up staying with someone else.

And I’m currently in the middle of half a dozen different books, some will eventually be finished and some I fear, never will.  But one of them is a jewel, maybe one of my favorite books ever.  Anyone who’s up on YA lit has heard of it (or one of my many friends I’ve been telling about it) and I think it’s made a bunch of “Best of 2008” lists.  My own “Best” list will come soon, but will be a list of all the best books I read this year.  With no regard to publication date or age-level or anything.  That’s how I like to roll.

Personal News, slightly on-topic

My husband just landed a job in the Macmillan sales department.  This is exciting for many reasons, not the least of which is that I have been impressed with all of their employees whom I’ve met or seen speak at library events, and so far he’s been really impressed by how much everyone who works there really seems to love working there.  And he’ll be in the Flatiron building, which is cool and also much closer to me.  I love belonging to such a bookish couple.