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06 January 2010

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I am not a member of the professional book reviewing class, but I do think there's a difference in the way you read a book you plan to write about and the way you read one you simply read. In my case, I mostly inhabit a third, amorphous category, which is to say that I read and think about what I might write about the book, only I never quite actually do it.

Also, Mr. CR cracks me up.

CR, well it may not be for pay, but it is a publication in my book!

Well, well, not only do you influence books I choose to read but now it seems I must visit Montreal.

I like not having to read for pay. There's something to be said for having the luxury to form your own opinions, and knowing that they can be based on your own irrational hopes, dreams, and needs, and not one objective criterion or another. (But I'm glad there are people who do it the right way!!)

I worked in publishing (one of the bigger publishers in NYC) right out of college, and came to pity the poor editorial assistants who had to read the mss--many of them seemed to hate books after a while. (I think it was something they got back if they stuck with the industry, thank goodness, but it took a few years for them to go through the full cycle.)

yeah you're back! I just finished reading a book for my first mystery book discussion (plug plug here at SEQ 1st wed of month)and I read it completely different than just reading it for fun. Nippy Noodles, I may have to start using that too, HI larious.

Have you ever had Mr. CR do a guest post?

I love Louise Rennison, too. It looks like you and I can agree on her and Helene Hanff. What a strange Venn diagram our reading preferences would make!

Laura,
I do that a lot too. I sometimes have a pile of books here, and think, well, I read them, I should write something about them...but then I just don't have the energy. Where does one obtain energy, I wonder. I've certainly tried sugar and that doesn't seem to be the answer.

Yes, Mr. CR cracks me up too. Or is that causes my crack-ups? One or the other, anyway.

Tripp:
Thank you. Just because I haven't been posting doesn't mean I haven't been reading your site--thanks for all your great thriller and history suggestions over the past year.

Sherry,
Oooh, Montreal's awesome. Equal parts new city with beautiful old french city, plus a shiny clean subway system. You must see it--I'd like to go back some day and see Ottawa City at the same time; I've heard good things about that too.

Rachael,
I prefer not doing anything for pay. (Mr. CR would have a few choice words about that too.) I'm with you, though. When I read really good book reviews, by critics who know their stuff, I always have to have a little moment of silent appreciation for their skill. I can totally imagine that editorial assistants get burned out on books! The same thing happened to me at the public library, although it was more that I got burned out on the patrons, rather than the books.

Jessica,
Don't you just LOVE Louise Rennison? I'm eager to see what she writes next. I'd like to see an adult novel from her, set in Great Britain.

Katharine,
Good luck with you new book group! Here's a proper plug for it:
Mystery Book Group at Madison Public Library Sequoya Branch!

Hmm, evidently using HTML in the comments doesn't work. Here's the link to the calendar for Katharine's new (first Wednesday of each month) Mystery Book Group:

http://host.evanced.info/madison/evanced/eventcalendar.asp?ag=&et=&dt=mo&df=calendar&cn=0&private=0&ln=7

You've been missed!

David Foster Wallace keeps popping up on my radar. Now I shall investigate him. Does he resemble the David Wallace on The (American) Office?

PS: "They" make fiber-rich pop tarts! Or pop tart knock-offs. Maybe both your taste buds and your colon will approve.

Thanks, Robin!
Now, I must say, I've never read any of DFW's fiction, which is what he's known for ("Infinite Jest," at something like 1000 pages, is just TOO LONG, even if it is brilliant). I would suggest his A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, which is an AWESOME essay collection.

I'm one of those horrible snobs who preferred the British "The Office" to the American one, so I don't know which character is David Wallace on The (American) Office! D'oh! My pop culture knowledge is failing.

And thank you for the tip about fiber-rich Pop Tarts. But that's even more depressing than fiber cereal. If I'm being honest, what I really miss is being able to eat crap and sugar for three meals a day, and not feeling any ill effects whatsoever. Ah, youth.

My Christmas tree lights still go on every day (at least until Saturday) since I'm not up to pulling out the boxes to take everything down. If (as in the old German tradition) you don't put your tree up until Dec. 21st (rather than the day after Thanksgiving) it's still a joy to have the lighted tree around.

I made the commitment in 2009 to write at least a sentence or two for every book I read on my GoodReads posting. I haven't mastered the art of the pithy annotation nor the thoughtful long review. While I don't think about what I'm going to say as I'm reading (with few exceptions for very bad or very good books), sometimes I'm just overwhelmed with my inability to say anything. Then I wonder why I spent "x" hours reading that book if I can't even say anything about it. To review books for a living would be hell in my world.

I see that Chuck Klosterman will be the interview guest on "Whad'Ya Know" this coming Saturday. You don't suppose he'll be there live at Monona Terrace, do you?

Donna,
I'm with you: tree up later, tree down later. I have always been of the opinion that Jan. is the only time you can really grab a moment and enjoy sitting under the tree--once you're done with all the gift stuff and the family get-togethers. I love the tree in January!

I salute you for trying to keep up on your GoodReads account. I've never opened one because keeping up with that and this blog would be a nightmare. So much for me and social networking sites!

Barb,
Now that is an interesting question. Is it a phone interview? Maybe I'll do some searching and see if Chuck has another other signings or events going in town, or if he's got an author page. If so, it might be interesting to see him, although I've never been a big fan of "Whad'Ya Know." Don't know why, really.

I just love the Georgia Nicholson books! I read them all many times (and listened to some of the audio version too) and I always laugh like a loon on laughing tablets, or so Georgia would say. I also now think saying pants is really funny and have nicknamed one of my cats Dangerous Pants.

I was so sad that the series has ended, but now I think about it I am quite excited to see what Rennison writes next.

It seems to be Nippy Noodles everywhere in the US! Yep, sign of getting old is talking about the weather and fiber for breakfast. The comment abt editor asst.s hating to read reminds me how shocked and saddened I get when I meet an English teacher who doesn't like to read.

Jessica,
I love the name Dangerous Pants! I'm seriously thinking about naming my next cat Angus.

Care,
Yes, I will hope this week is less nippy noodles for the US in general. That's enough polar air for a while!

OK, too many things to respond to. Ottawa is very nice, much more so that I thought it would be (lovely river walks and several good museums). Don't forget Vancouver, Halifax, and even Winnipeg (I loves me some Canadian cities). Plus, Victoria . . . . and what did you think about Boston?

I don't review much, but I find I am always thinking about "informal" reviews, especially for patrons and for future programs. It's hard to let go and read something just for me (like, "Vienna 1814", which I got as an ARC two years ago). Sigh. I tend to keep my private reading just that - private. I am going to answer some email interview questions for a Friends group to which I belong (they want to feature me in their newsletter) and one of the questions is "What is your favorite book". NOT answering that one. I just can't.

Sarah,
That's it. I'm vacationing to Ottawa next. I'd love to see the Peg, and Vancouver, and Calgary, but my bias is always to head to the east coast first. I loves me some Canada in general!

I liked Boston, but for whatever reasons it is not my favorite city. Doesn't have the hum and super subway of New York, doesn't have British history like London (and American history I can totally take or leave), doesn't have the all-around beauty and yes, the beautiful subway system of Montreal. But still very nice. It's probably in my top ten, though--behind Edinburgh but definitely ahead of Chicago.

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