Friday, August 28, 2009

Too Many Books!

After my post about Proust, In Search of Lost Time and Swann's Way, I decided to hit Barnes and Noble after work to find the second volume, In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower aka The Budding Grove. I like having the second volume nearby so it'll feel like I have a reward at the end of Volume 1.
I found a copy but it was a Modern Library version and I sort of wanted a Penguin Books version to match my first volume. But I thought, "At least I know it's here and if I can't find the other version, I'll get this one."
I actually carried it around the store a bit before finally putting it back.

A few hours later, at home, I was on the phone with a friend and he was in the middle of a long story when I found my gaze wandering my rows and rows of books. Suddenly, my eyes focused in on something that I thought said Proust. I knew Swann's Way was right next to me so what could this be?
I jumped up and grabbed it, not believing my eyes. It was a hard bound copy of In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower.
I owned it all along.

This, my friends, is my problem.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Swann's Way

I started to write that I, obviously, enjoyed punishing myself because I'm once again embarking upon Proust.
But the only reason I think it might be punishment is the sheer size of the project. In Search of Lost Time consists of 7 HUGE volumes so it's not a quick read, for sure.
I picked up Swann's Way two years ago and started reading it. Proust has this talent of making one sentence last at least two pages. That's difficult for my small brain to process sometimes, so after a handful of pages, I gave up.

But one of my goals in life is to read it all so no time like the present, right?

I intended to begin where I left off but in two years, I had no memory of what I had read before so back to the beginning I went.
I'm glad I did because I am sinking into it much better than I did the first time.

I might have to take a break or two or fifty during my quest but before I die, I will read the entire thing!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy vs Miserable

I bought 14,000 Things to Be Happy About many years ago. When my grandmother died, it was the first time I had been so affected by death and just couldn't imagine being happy again.
So, when I saw this book, I grabbed it and became charmed by it.
It lists simple things like:

  • reading the newspaper
  • childhood friendships
  • Easter eggs
  • mint

I've kept it all these years and would browse through it now and then.

This year, at TLA, I went by a booth and discovered this book:
I cracked up! It's been years since I "needed" the other book and I've survived countless other tragedies so the fact that there is a whole book of things to be miserable about is hilarious.
For example:
  • Performance-enhancing drugs
  • Catholic guilt
  • Glowing red rodent eyes
  • Farmer's tans

I can't wait to use both of these books with my teen journaling kids. Because nothing is more miserable than being a teen!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Up at the Villa by W. Somerset Maugham

I began and finished Up at the Villa in one day. It's quite a short book, therefore, it was a quick read.
It's more of a crime and suspense story than any of the other Maugham books I've read.
I don't like to give the meat of the book away, I will say that it's about a recently widowed woman, Mary, who is staying at the villa of a friend in Florence.
She is caught between three men; her older suitor, a swaggering ne'er-do-well confidante and a very unlikely one night stand.

There is something so comforting and satisfying about W. Somerset Maugham. I can spend a whole day, buried in anything he writes.
Although, I'd have to say The Razor's Edge is my favorite so far, The Painted Veil and Of Human Bondage really haunted me for days after putting them down.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Started and finished Up At the Villa by W. Somerset Maugham today. Will write more later.
Starting Up At the Villa by W. Somerset Maugham today.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Recent Purchases

Using my Barnes and Noble membership coupon, I got 15% off of The Path of Razors by Chris Marie Green and I also purchased Up At the Villa by W. Somerset Maugham.

For about a year, I've been having a love affair with Maugham. I've been to used book stores looking for copies of his short stories and other novels. Love him!

The Strain

by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.

I have to start off by saying I like vampire books. Oh yes, I've been obsessed with the Twilight series (until I read Breaking Dawn - yuck) and I've read Nancy A. Collins' books, the Bluebloods series and several of the Sookie Stackhouse books.
But I've never been a true horror fan. I am not a Stephen King lover- although I think Dolores Claiborne and The Stand were truly genius. I can count about 3 Dean Koontz books that I really horror just isn't my favorite genre.
I received an advance reader copy of The Strain at TLA and didn't get to it for a couple of months.
This is definitely horror and it's definitely a vampire book but it's nothing like you imagine.
There is no swoon-worthy bloodsucker here. The starring vampire is bonechillingly frightening and you may have nightmares after reading this book.
I couldn't put it down. I've never read del Toro or Hogan but if they are as good separate as they are together, I can't wait to read everything they've written.

Apparently, this is going to be a trilogy. I am not a patient person when it comes to waiting on the next book in a series. I hope they hurry!


by Jose Saramago.

The idea and premise for this book is good. A large group of people are "infected" with some virus-type thing that causes sudden blindness and fear of an epidemic causes the government to segregate the blind and all of those who have had contact with them and then just leave them to their own devices.
The very idea is horrifying but I couldn't finish the book.

I'm sure it's simply a personality issue but Saramago's lack of punctuation really confused me. I kept wondering which character the dialogue belonged too.

I'm of the mind that life is too short to struggle through certain books, so I abandoned this one.

I noticed on Amazon that there is to be or has been a movie based on Blindness. I look forward to watching the movie more than trying to read the book again.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames

This David Sedaris book is his latest. I'm a huge fan and have read pretty much everything he has written. Naked will always be my favorite and Me Talk Pretty One Day is a close second but I really enjoyed Flames.
This one seems to delve deeper into Sedaris' social anxiety disorder as he gets older.
Whereas in the first few books, I enjoyed (is that even politically correct?) his stories that described his adventures with OCD.

Towards the end, Sedaris counts down his reason and techniques for quitting smoking. He moves to Japan, of all things, to distract himself! His stories of taking Japanese language classes and the hilarious Japanese to English translations all over Tokyo are awesome.

I finished this book in two days.

Score another one for David Sedaris!

The Reagan I Knew

I don't normally read political books or much non-fiction but this book intrigued me and when I told a friend about it, he sent it to me for my birthday.
I'm still working on it but it's pretty interesting.
I was expecting more of a Reagan bio...although I don't know why considering William F. Buckley, Jr. titled it "The Reagan I Knew", not "The Reagan Biography".
WFB included many letters from both Ronald and Nancy Reagan, plus his own letters to them.
It's a nice peek into the relationship WFB had with the Reagans and his court-side seat for Ronald Reagan's rise to the presidency.