Gregory Maguire – Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this book. Everything about it feels like it doesn’t resolve, but maybe it’s just a good reflection of life and the small role we play in it.
Currently working on Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, I’m not sure why I like post-Colonial/Indian diaspora literature as much as I do. I distinctly remember reading Roy’s first novel The God of Small Things years ago but couldn’t tell you the plot now. TMoUH reminds me a bit of Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children with long ambling digressions and personal stories inextricably tied to the historical moment of independence and the partitioning of India and Pakistan. Like MC, I am constantly flipping between getting lost in the daily moments of the characters and just wanting her to get to the fucking point.
I have the Alpha and Omega of essay collections. Let’s start with Alpha, and it encompasses the startling fact that, once upon a time, Fran Lebowitz was actually funny. Yes, amazing. While unpacking boxes of books to be shelved in our new home, I ran across my copy of Social Studies, which was a birthday present given to me when I was in grad school (and admittedly had a bit of a crush on her). This was before she had her long period of writer’s blockade, and morphed into a shrieking harpy resembling Linda Hunt on a bad day. These essays are actually funny, self-deprecating, and showing some insight into the culture of the time. Nothing profound, mind you, but fun and amusing, reminiscent of a similar oeuvre of Robert Benchley forty years previous to this. If you see a remaindered or used copy, grab it.
The omega is my later-in-life idol, Jorge Luis Borges, who could do it all- novels, short stories, poems, and essays. A brilliant and profound talent, with an imagination that only comes once every few centuries. Being the dullard I am, I have been enjoying another book dug up in our move, Selected Nonfictions, which covers language, history, culture, literature, politics, art… well, everything, really. And in this collection is my single favorite Borges essay, “The Art of Verbal Abuse.” I bet you were thinking I’d pick, “I, a Jew,” you fucking anti-semite. But every essay in here is a gem, immaculately translated, and bursting with insight and beauty.,Don’t wait for a sale or remainder, just buy this. Now.
I read this. I read it for ALL OF YOU. That’s it.
Staff: We asked JW to tell us about what he was reading, but we found him curled up, sobbing in a blanket fort with a flashlight and a dog-eared copy of Old Yeller and figured he’d get to it later.
I have continued my Lovecraft Mythos kick, reading both early Mythos contributors, especially those writing while Lovecraft was still alive: Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch, Edward Belknap Long, Clark Ashton Smith, August Derleth, Henry Kuttner; and Lovecraft’s self-identified influences, collected in H. P. Lovecraft’s Favorite Weird Tales: The Roots of Modern Horror, edited by Douglas A. Anderson. While familiar faces appear–Poe, Machen, Bierce–I enjoyed reading the more obscure authors like M. L. Humphreys, whose story in the collection, “The Floor Above” (1923), is the only story he or she ever published and oft-anthologized “The Night Wire” (1926) by H. F. Arnold, another lost author. (His or her only other two short stories have never been republished since they originally appeared in pulps.)
Beer list, wine list, spirits list, contract for work, contract for work, contract for work, continuing legal education, continuing legal education…wait here it is!
So the United Methodist district I live in is shriveling under the sweaty hand of the bishop who is ever so slightly to the left of Chairman Mao. She has packed the district with mini-mes. And this coterie of pudgy, earnest leftwing, 50-60 somethings are too engaged in various protests and public temper tantrums to conduct much of a church. So I went Protestant shopping. Just across the bean field from my house sits a Lutheran church. So I wandered over, went to a traditional service. Met the pastor later on and he gave me a copy of said book. I got homework. Man, these people are serious. But, I guess it is good to do some due diligence, so I am about 20-25% through right now. I get a bit wary of the “with Explanation” part, but that is just the libertarian in me, I guess.
As I am in the Commandments, and the basics still, I can’t say much about the more advanced points. Also, I have not been ordered to burn OMWC’s house yet. So I have that going for me.