Friday, March 31, 2006

Books! Flowers!

Yes! We're still reading Middlemarch! Discussion of Book III is now underway.

I have my ticket to see David Bezmozgis, Tim Parks, and José Carlos Somoza next week at the Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival. I haven't read anything by any of them but was lured on the strength of Bezmozgis' reputation alone. As it happens, I found a copy of Natasha and Other Stories in the sale bin yesterday, and figured I may as well see first-hand what I'd got myself into. I whipped through the first half of the book last night in bed. It's lovely.

By the way, if anyone's interested, Susan Glickman herself responded to my little rant regarding the lack of information regarding her just-released novel and provided a synopsis.

Also from the sale bin: Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black. I enjoyed a previous work of hers, but having heard her in interview a couple years back I was thoroughly turned off by her self-centred self-importance and thought I could never read her again. However, I've heard nothing but good things about this book, and I couldn't resist the sale price.

The sale-bin pièce de resistance: Harold and the Purple Crayon! Many thanks to Suzanne for first alerting me to existence of this little gem, lodging it so firmly in my memory banks that as I ran my finger over its spine I was able to instantly recognize it for what it was. Helena and I have so far read it twice together (and I read it twice on my own) — it's a hit. While it does have some troublesome existentialist underpinnings, for the time-being we will revel in Harold's resourcefulness and his ability to immerse himself in his art.

There's still a tiny patch of dirty snow in our courtyard, but there's no denying that spring is in the air.

Helena crafted a play-doh flower for Papa, which I didn't have the heart to disassemble.

Near her daycare, they're selling gerber daisies, which I can't resist, to support AIDS research. Lucky me, as they were packing up for the day, they threw in an extra handful.


Anonymous said...

I'm going to throw myself into Middlemarch and get caught up!

But I came here to say that I LOVE Harold! We had all of his books so I don't know which one I'm pulling paraphrased quotes from, but I loved the puns like, "Harold drew up the covers," and he really drew them, that sort of thing. Fun to point those out to a new talker. :)

Suzanne said...

Wow, I'm surprised that that old post stuck with you! Glad you're both enjoying it; I do need to get over my hangups...

I am not surprised that Hilary Mantel came off as kind of arrogant in an interview. I've read a few of her books, and although I thought they were well done, I got the impression that she took herself pretty seriously.

Arethusa said...

Mantel's latest is in the sale bin? Ooo, I'll have to make a trip to the store. I've also been infected with the buzz, plus I read a few pages one day and it seemed worthwhile.

Martha said...

Wow, you're famous! How nice to have the author write to you directly.

I will join the croud in saying I used to love Harold, and there's an HBO series on DVD that's really charming. Not nearly so irritating as most kids TV, and C loves it.

And finally, I'm envious you found the Hilary Mantel in the discount bin-- I've never read her work, and was interested in taking a look at Beyond Black. Although it gives me pause that she sounded arrogant in the interview...

Anonymous said...

Such wonderful news all around!

And I bought orange gerber daisies today! They're sitting in my library, and they look enchanting.

Isabella K said...

Re Mantel: The paperback's just out, so I guess the timing's about right for hc remainders, tho' this particular discount store is affiliated with one of the university shops — their schedule and inventory isn't necessarily typical.

Her arrogance DID put me off, but I'm over it. A good writer (and she is) almost by definition can make a big deal out of trivial details (I'm just not as impressed by her "real" anecdotes as her made-up ones).

Diana: You got the quote exactly right. Also after sailing he makes land. Great stuff.

Martha: Thanks for the DVD tip. I'm looking for something fresh to introduce into our rotation.