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10 May 2010


Hey, CR!

I didn't know what to read, so I chose what was due back to the library next: John Irving's Last Night in Twisted River. It reminded me of the articles you mentioned in The Believer. Irving spends a lot of the novel discussing the art of writing fiction because one of the main characters is a writer. Maybe the book was a little self-absorbed, but it wasn't all bad. Now I should be a reviewer!

Can I ask which collection of humorous essays you started? That's my favorite genre under the best of circumstances and, as we are now in Finals Week (aka Grading and Whining Hell), I would love a new collection to start!!

Hey Venta!
That's how I pick a lot of my reading material, whatever is due first! I had Irving's latest novel here but it looked too daunting to even start. Did you like the book overall? (P.S. I've always thought of you as a reviewer--you always have great opinions and ideas on books!)

Certainly: It's "How to Be Inappropriate," by Daniel Nester. I hope to write a full post about it, as I am liking it so far, but I'm only about 35 pages in and that could change. You'll laugh when you see the cover though....but rest assured, it's not as raunchy as the cover would have you believe.

And good luck in Whining Hell. If those punk youngsters knew how hard it was to get good grades in the ol' days....tee hee. I had to say it.

Thanks CR! It's on my list; this comment from an amazon review sold it for me:
My favorite of the super funny essays is "Queries," which lists comments he's made on students' writing assignments--"Isn't everything tucked lovingly tucked?," "Is there another, non-legendary Kraken?" The gentleness with which the author treats his students' work heightens the funniness of their contorted language while celebrating the strange products that can result from the awkward effort to put words on paper.

So far, the whining has been at a minimum, but it's early still.

Oh, you poor, poor soul. The Hills... What's next, editing the next Richard Castle novel? Sigh.

I just flew through The Poisoner's Handbook, which was a nice bit of historical science narrative non-fiction. And a fast read, which is always nice.

Yes, I'm enjoying it (the essay book). Not all of the essays are winners but I like the author's tone and take on subjects, and I very much look forward to the "Queries" essay! (Although, I know many things that aren't "lovingly" tucked--my bed sheets, after washing them and making the bed, because I hate making the bed, and I can imagine not all children are always tucked in lovingly, particularly if they've been driving their parents nuts that day.)

I'll tell you what's next: more books in the series to index, including "The Hills" spinoff "The City" and "Punk'd." Hey, work's work, and I'll gladly take it. And I haven't known this much about pop culture in years--it's making me feel positively young again.

Good to know about "The Poisoner's Handbook"--it's on my TBR pile right now!

I subscribed to The Believer when it started. Then I fell prey to my "must read entire issues all the way through, in order" thing. THis is bad enough with The New Yorker but with The Believer ... well, I think I made it to Issue 4. By that time they were somewhere around Issue 18. I let it go after two years. I tried donating it to the local college library. Then I tried giving it to a local arts studio. Both have also discarded it. I picked up a few issues that were mine originally (backslider!) but ... I haven't actually read them. When you find that magazine that meets your criteria please let us know. Or maybe it's just a New Yorker/Vanity Fair hybrid.

Oh my. I know I could never read "The Believer" cover to cover. I struggled with an article here and there! But I will try again. I do always enjoy Orion, and I almost bought a "Creative Nonfiction" in the bookstore the other day, but it was $10, and included some things I wasn't too interested in. I thought I'd wait and check out the next issue--when I spend $10 on a magazine, you'd better believe I want to read every single article.

I often wish our public library subscribed to more lit journals, but I suppose that's a lot to ask.

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