Saturday, April 19, 2008

In which I have a day off... (Books, books, books)

I began our week-long spring break from class (but not from lab) yesterday with a day-off. I really needed one. It was a gorgeous summer-like day in NYC yesterday, everything is blooming. I had a Japanese lunch, went to the stationary store (read grown-up toy store), the library, 3 Lives Booksellers (my favorite New York independent bookstore of the variety selling new books, see picture to the left), took a walk in the park with my mother and had bloody Marys on the patio of the cafe beneath the cherry blossoms, ordered dinner in with The Ragazzo, and was in bed reading before 10.

My library find was Thinks... by David Lodge. I've read Lodge's book on writing The Practice of Writing but, oddly enough, I've never read his fiction. The jacket descriptions are too hyperbolic to repeat here, but from my little dip in while making my selection between this and Cynthia Ozick at the library, it looks like a satiric take on yet another aging male academic who can't keep his hands off women he is not married to, along with some literate stuff on - you know, the usual - love and consciousness. Let's hope it's better than I make it sound here.

There were way too many choices to make at 3 Lives, I confined myself to two - The new Jhumpa Lahiri, Unaccustomed Earth, which I'm really looking forward to. Her stories are filled with such insight and don't feel formulaic. I also decided on Russell Banks The Reserve on a complete whim. I saw the film adaption of The Sweet Hereafter but have never read anything of his. This is set on the eve of World War II and involves a manipulative socialite her relationship with an artist... you know trying to summarize any book before you've read it is simply pointless. I'll let you know what I think it's about after I've read it.

I tore my way through about half of Abhorsen, the third book in Garth Nix's trilogy by the same name. This enjoyable YA fantasy continues the story of Lirael - the seer from the second volume - and Sameth the prince of the realm - in their efforts to overthrow darkness and, you know, save humanity. I can take or leave the magic, what I like about Nix in general, but this volume in particular, is seeing these teenagers who were both outcasts in their own ways, learn who they are both in terms of their strengths and their limits and come to own themselves. Nix manages to do this with the minimum of preaching assisted by a magical dog and a bitterly sarcastic cat who add a dose of irony whenever things get too serious.

1 comment:

Katherine said...

Three Lives is one of my favorite NYC bookstores. I also love Shakespeare & Co. and McNally Robinson.