Wednesday, August 31, 2005

2005 book 114

banana yoshimoto's hardboiled & hard luck
here's a good example of an author who can tell a moving and powerful story in a small space. the first novella deals with a young woman who goes hiking and feels a strange sense of foreboding; later she recalls that it's the anniversary of a former lover's death, and later still she is haunted by a tragic figure. in the second novella, a different young woman struggles with the impending death of her brain-dead sister, and becomes entangled with the brother of her sister's fiance. i wish yoshimoto's works would get translated more promptly--this one was written in 1999 and some of the cultural references are a little bit dated. also, i don't want to have to wait another six years for her next book. :)

bpal stuff

wow! i just got a huge order today (it was unexpected--i never got a click 'n' ship notification)--a 5ml of march hare, an imp set, and a TON of freebies! thank you bpal people!!! just in time for the sniff-fest this weekend, too!

and along those lines, here are a few scents i've sampled recently:

aunt caroline's joy mojo--the cap of this imp broke as soon as i opened it, which is a shame because it goes from smelling like sweet tarts to smelling like march hare.

bewitched--i didn't actually try it--i can tell by the smell it'll go all powdery on me.

lolita--this smells like lemon pledge and soap on me.

block buster--cinnamon candy! apples! thumbs up.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

2005 book 113/little star

linda ferri's enchantments
this is a thin little slip of a book, a series of dreamy vignettes about a young girl's life. there's nothing earth-shattering here, or even anything that interesting, just hints at missed potential for a larger, more potent story. the narrator is an italian girl living in france in the 60s with a father who seems volatile, but that's not explored in depth, nor are any of the cultural issues. i suppose it's meant to be the child's perspective, not really understanding the deeper meanings of the things going on around her, but unfortunately this gives the book an unfinished quality. it's a pleasant read, don't get me wrong, i just wish there had been more here. certainly i've read equally small books that contained great and powerful stories.

and on that note, i also read andi watson's little star this afternoon--it hasn't come out as a collection yet, but i just got around to picking up the four individual issues. and watson really is good at packing a lot of impact into smaller stories--here, a guy struggles with the complexities of fatherhood and trying to figure out how it fits into his life. i really like watson's drawing style, how it sort of looks watercolored even though it's all gray, and it fits his family/relationship-oriented stories quite nicely.


woohoo! my hopes of dominating the media through my blog are starting to be realized! yesterday i was linked by the news and observer's tar heel blogwatch and today my photos of the troika festival were posted to by someone who isn't me or even someone i really know (honestly, i would have posted them myself had i seen zeno's question earlier, but i was in class).

take note, media types! i'm available for book reviews, concert commentaries, columns, whatever! let me be the media whore i was born to be!

more book-related posts later--i'm still recovering from the first day of classes. ok, i only had one class, but i forgot how dang heavy my backpack gets. here's to my last year of toting around a backpack!

Monday, August 29, 2005

2005 book 112

george hagen's the laments
i'm feeling a little wiped out after reading this book--it drags out all sorts of emotions with its good writing and storytelling. the laments are a south african family who move all over the place, finally settling in new jersey, dealing with the ups and downs of family life in the 60s-70s--although some of their downs are actually pretty tragic. this was a really good book but i can't really process any other thoughts about it right now.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
mm, homemade banana cupcakes w/ cream cheese icing fresh out of the oven!


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
audubon park, bellafea, schooner, work clothes, tenement halls, and portastatic make for a pretty freakin' amazing show. it was awesome to see so many people out and having fun, eating loco-pops and funnel cake and drinking free beer and rocking out. it was also awesome to see nevin for the first time in something like two years.

and making it back to carrboro in time for last call at ocsc wasn't too shabby, either. :)

anyway, more of my crappy rock show photography has been posted at flickr--i especially like this picture of audubon park, b/c david looks like a ghost.

tomorrow: cupcakes! ;)

Saturday, August 27, 2005


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
yay for the troika music festival! i swear it was dance-pop night over at the duke coffeehouse--we arrived just as the sames were setting up, and if you don't think the sames are a pop band, you've obviously never seen them live. and there are no arguments about i am the world trade center or the rosebuds, i assume! yes, we danced the night away and it was just great. the rosebuds are currently drummer-less so ivan played drums while reid took over on lead guitar--and who knew ivan was an awesome drummer? they did their last couple of songs acoustic in the crowd--thanks again to tripp for getting a picture since i was too short. i predict that "leaves do fall" will be the big hit from their upcoming album, b/c kelly sure can sing!

i was sorry to miss erie choir and regina hexaphone--next year find venues that are close together, please!

anyway, a ton of pictures are on flickr, and they will be organized shortly, but for now i need to go to sleep and rest up for tomorrow--six of my favorite bands in a row!!!

Friday, August 26, 2005

baked goods

maybe i'll make cupcakes this weekend (if i haven't used all my food-coloring during fiber-dying experiments, anyway).

Thursday, August 25, 2005

2005 book 111

marina lewycka's a short history of tractors in ukrainian
this book has been longlisted for the booker award and shortlisted for the saga award for wit--both of which it strongly deserves. it's mostly about two adult sisters who have been feudin' since their mother's death two years earlier, and how they come together in an effort to thwart their elderly father's upcoming nuptials to a much younger (and already married) ukrainian woman. it's also about the primary character's efforts to discover the truth about her family's past in the ukraine in the 1930s and 40s before their emigration to england. anyway, i liked it a lot--lewycka takes a light hand to some potentially heavy themes and weaves a really nice story of family, love, and growing older. also it has some pretty funny bits.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
tonight i baked oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies. of course i had to taste one from each batch to make sure they were ok. :)


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
i got a trim today!

2005 book 110

arthur phillips' the egyptologist
well, this book at least has an interesting structure--it's told in a series of letters/journal entries, alternating between two primary narrators. unfortunately, the narrator all into archaeology doesn't get interesting until around page 200, and then it's intermittent due to all his dang technica talk, and the private detective's story starts off strong and then gets almost as annoying as the other guy's toward the end. the end is pretty funny, by the way, although i think the author was going more for surprising and ghastly. good effort, though.

Monday, August 22, 2005


$317.42 for four books--i think that's a record for me [and god knows there'll probably be a few more i end up needing]. i miss being a liberal arts major, when the books were all like thirty dollars or less.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

pop culture saturday!

this afternoon jodi and emily and i went to see broken flowers, which i liked a lot (bill murray is the master of the middleaged existential-angst-ridden character, and all the women were great), but which had a few too many shots of the left car mirror reflecting scenery for my tastes.

then tonight was the pipe reunion show!! christina and i arrived just as the first band was finishing, which meant we were just in time to rock out to the nein! i hadn't seen them live since they added the 4th guy, and the change was really incredible. their sound has evolved so much in the last year or so and they put on really an amazing show tonight.

then, pipe!!! totally adorable! ron had the setlist written on his shirt! and he's such a cute performer, all dancing around the stage shaking his hiney. we were right up front so were showered with beer as empty cans flew overhead (i caught one accidentally when ron threw it back into the crowd)--at least until the moshing started and some creepy dudes decided moshing was a great excuse to press really close up against us, and put their hands on our shoulders, and try to talk to us, and we kept edging away and finally fled to the back. thank goodness for the tvs broadcasting the action on stage! of course mostly we were talking to people, but that did not prevent us from rocking out. and it was so nice to see lots of my favorite people there!

and then when i came home one of those tiny frogs was on my front door! christina said maybe it was good luck and i wanted to take a picture of it, but was afraid it would hop inside my house if i opened the door again. silly frog.

if anyone reading this has pictures of the show, can you send me some? at first i was sorry i didn't bring my camera, but during the showers of beer i was mostly relieved it was safe at home. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

2005 book 109

calvin trillin's the tummy trilogy
trillin, of course, is a well-known essayist, novelist, and food enthusiast, and the tummy trilogy is a collection of three of his first collections of food writing from the new yorker (american fried, alice, let's eat, and third helpings, all written in the late 70s/early 80s). i'd count this as three books, since technically it is, but it also works well as one book, and it's in one volume, so whatever, i'll give it a pass. trillin is probably the funniest and most enthusiastic food writer out there whether he's at a crawfish-eating contest in louisiana, exploring bars in berks county, pa, expounding on the amazing arthur bryant's in kansas city, or trying to find good food in england. his chapter on tokyo had me drooling, b/c gosh do i love sushi. this book is also a sweet look at family life--his depictions of his wife and two daughters are heartwarming and hilarious. having all three books in one makes for slowish reading--i can only take so much of trillin's favorite foods at one go--but they really do form a whole picture of a man's love of food and his family.

Friday, August 19, 2005

happy birthday josh

Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
vive la difference!

yesterday josh came over and fixed my dresser. there was a lot of drilling and it was all very exciting. now it stands all by itself and the drawers even shut!

today josh turns 30! happy birthday, josh!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

nerd alert: awesome journal(s)

popular music is so my favorite journal ever. check out the table of contents on this issue (the music and literature issue). damn, it's awesome.

though to be fair to the journal of popular music studies, there was a pretty funny article in their most recent issue on the culture of jimmy buffett and the parrotheads (entitled "Parrotheads in Margaritaville: Fan Practice, Oppositional Culture, and Embedded Cultural Resistance in Buffett Fandom"). hee. it's just like i'm seventeen again, and my coworkers are giving me wine coolers and laughing at my tipsiness! at a jimmy buffett concert, i mean, not at work.

on the same note, i also like a lot of the articles in popular music and society. i'm pretty sure that's the journal that featured an article by marc faris (duke music ph.d., member of the sames) earlier this year.

basically i like reading article about popular music--just one of the reasons i love my job!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

bpal sniff-fest, some reviews

i got my first official order from the lab today, yay!!!! but before i comment on the first scent i've sampled, i'll let you all know that sarah and lisa and i are going to have our second sniff-fest during labor day weekend, the afternoon of saturday, september third. so if you're in town and want to smell pretty smells, keep your eyes peeled for updates. or, y'know, let me know you're interested. :)

now . . . some reviews!
black pearl
Evocative of the sea's unplumbed mysteries. Gentle and lovely, but menacing and profound. Coconut, Florentine iris, hazelnut and opalescent white musk.
of course, i ordered these almost two months ago, so didn't know how excited i'd be by the coconut note in this one. spooky, my absolutely favorite bpal scent, which i wear every day, has a strong coconut thing going on (everyone always tells me i smell like the beach, which i take as a compliment). unfortunately, spooky is a limited edition and so i'm always searching for a backup. will this be it??
in the bottle--it smells floral, and maybe even a little powdery. uh-oh!
wet--ah, there's the coconut--it's like a floral and creamy spooky.
dry--i think i'm getting a hint of nut--i wish this was more coconutty! or tropical, or whatever.
later--oh, this is very nice. it's not as malibu-rummy as spooky, and it's much warmer, but i might get a bottle of this . . .

also, here's one i got in a swap earlier this week:
Good Cheer. Plumeria, pear and white champagne.
in the bottle--berryish!
wet, on--i think i'm getting a hint of pear and definitely i'm smelling something like wine. it reminds me of empyreal mist.
dry--really a nice and fruity floral, but might be too perfumey for me. i'll keep the imp and try it again another time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

2005 book 108

helen oyeyemi's the icarus girl
i tried to buy this book about three times while on vacation and none of the stores had it, so yay for the regulator! and ooh, it was pretty darn good. it's about a half nigerian, half british girl who's sort of troubled and lonely, and she makes a friend while on a trip to nigeria to see her relatives, and only slowly realizes that her friend isn't at all what she appears. reading this in the middle of a sunny afternoon cut down the creepiness factor a little, but had i been reading this at night i'd have probably been too scared to sleep before seeing how it ended. really a nice take on the identity crisis of the biracial child, with a good helping of stuff on the problems with girls and friendships--and, of course, of stuff that's scary and compelling.

ps: this book was written by a nineteen year old girl, which isn't really evident until the hilariously high-schoolish acknowledgements at the end.

Monday, August 15, 2005


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
phil pulled over so i could take this picture.


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
tongiht phil came over to examine the wreckage of my dresser and to take me for a ride in his new baby card (an '86 alfa romeo spider veloce, apparently). that thing handles curves sooo smoothly . . . i'd get a speeding ticket about every other day if i drove one! but man, that was one sweet ride.

in dresser-related news, since i know you're all dying of curiosity: tomorrow i go to a large chain home store to purchase wood and wood glue (i am pretty sure i own a drill) and try to repair the damn thing, which is currently upside-down in the middle of my bedroom. in the meantime, all of my clothes are mostly-neatly stacked on my bed and i'll be sleeping on the futon tonight. possibly also tomorrow night unless i have the strength to get it rightside-up again. :)

on the plus side, my trivia team won tonight by getting perfect scores in the rounds on tv character identification and board games. we are awesome.

also awesome is mike p., who bestowed a large assortment of graphic novels/anime on me so that he wouldn't have to drag it to california with him. thank you, mike; you will be sorely missed.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

tv babies

so how many babies HAVE been born in elevators on tv shows, anyway? it apparently happened on night court (or so i seemed to be hearing in the background as i sliced tofu for dinner tonight) and i swear i remember it happening on law and order once (or some show like that--two guys in an elevator, a cleaning lady who doesn't speak english goes into labor, older guy/father of several is ineffectual, younger guy delivers baby) but i can find no evidence that it actually was law and order. i know i've seen it on other shows, too, although i can't remember which ones.

i mean, does this ever happen in real life? does it happen often enough to warrant such a tired tv cliche? it seems to me that there'd be plenty of other ways to instill tension and drama into a birth scene, without trapping the poor mother with some incompetent person in an elevator.


where's all the book talk, you may ask? well, as noted, i'm currently broke and out of books and tired of the selection at the chapel hill public library. also i'm reading calvin trillin's tummy trilogy, which is on the long side and makes me hungry so i can't read too much of it in one sitting before i have to go get a snack. probably i will get to davis library for books this week and new comics will be purchased as soon as my student loans come in. so, in summary, the book talk will return shortly.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
i plyed for the very first time today! this is some fiber i dyed in pastel colors, spun, and then plyed with some pastel purple and pale green thread. i'm trying to think of something special to do with it!

Friday, August 12, 2005

mix cd!

i made a new mix cd tonight, one that's been bouncing around my head for a week or so. it's called the imaginary boyfriend mix! tracklisting follows. it's very random (which i strongly believe is its charm).

1. hotel lights--a.m. slow golden hit
2. hutch and kathy--in brilliance
3. crooked fingers--valerie
4. faris nourallah--fantastic!
5. comet gain--my defiance
6. portastatic--full of stars
7. lovers--peppermint
8. erie choir--epic
9. galactic heroes--all in time
10. kingsbury manx--creature of habit
11. owl and the pussycat--tigers
12. annie hayden--wait for returns
13. archer prewitt--i'm coming over
14. audubon park--blasted heath
15. radio dept.--i don't need love, i've got my band
16. sly and the family stone--stand!
17. the salteens--time you have been wasting
18. the rosebuds--leaves do fall
19. heavenly--ben sherman
20. carla bruni--le plus beau du quartier
21. the sprites--i want you back

while this cd was burning, i got my first click 'n' ship from bpal!! yay, my very first official order will be here next week!!!

i wish i could be famous for reading books!

seriously, i could totally do what this guy is doing (assuming all the booker longlist book were ACTUALLY PUBLISHED IN THE UNITED STATES IN A TIMELY MANNER). why don't newspapers contact me for these things??? i want to parlay my book addiction/fast reading abilities into fame (and possibly fortune)! how on earth do these people get to be on the bbc?? who can i contact in america for similar tasks??

by the way, that guy totally sucks for saying english teachers shouldn't be reading comics. there is nothing wrong with reading comics!!!!! will the stigma never end? sheesh.


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
i came home from a busy evening of playing pool at hell and watching other people do karaoke (including masterful performances by pinky and phil, who i met for the first time. and thanks for the cd, pinky!!) to find a large package on my doorstep.

this was inside. the note reads:

Dear Alicia:

These Ham-Hams are looking for the rest of their friends. They all wish to be one big happy family once more. This time they have brought their own storage contraption and potential wall-display unit in case they have started to overrun your home.

Thank you for taking care of all of the Ham-Hams!

P.S. Sometimes the post office won't send things without a return address. Sometimes they will. Just in case you were wondering.

somehow i think this is the last of the hamsters. i got a little misty as i read the note: thank you, thank you, to whoever has been giving me these little guys for the past 2+ years. they really have made my day every single time i got one, and i was always so grateful that someone was doing something so silly and sweet for me.

and they haven't overrun my home, just one of my shelves. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


tonight's sils knitting night morphed into some show on animal planet as we tried in vain to save an injured bird. huge thanks to val and jesse for their valiant efforts, and props to the triangle pet emergency treatment center in durham (off of business 15-501's entrance ramp to 751, on the right) for their kindness. if anyone local ever has a sick or injured pet after business hours, definitely go there. their contact info can be found here.

2005 book 107

leah stewart's the myth of you and me
this book comes out at the end of the month (huge thanks to johnm for getting me an advance copy!) and i strongly urge everyone to go and buy it. for one thing, the description on the back is just right. for another, it's a beautifully written story about a woman working ostensibly as a research assistant to an elderly author; when she receives a letter from her former best friend, who she hasn't spoken to in eight years, the author urges her to reconnect. the story makes great use of flashbacks to the girls in high school and college while also making the main character's confusion and life-crisis a compelling read. it also totally nails the complexities of friendships between girls and how they change as we grow up.

stewart apparently lives in this area so maybe she'll do a reading or something--definitely keep an eye out, b/c this book was great. i was reading the last few pages through tears 'cause it's just so darn touching and awesome.

john, it'll be in your mail folder tomorrow! :)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

pop culture rambling

well, after reading 12 books over vacation, i'm a little burned out on reading. also, i pretty much made my way through my to-read pile and don't have anything to read anyway. so basically i've been doing a lot of crosswords (i love those books of just the new york times monday crosswords, since i can almost always kick butt on those, which is deeply satisfying to a nerd like me) and watching reruns of house and veronica mars (which is on fridays on CBS for the next two weeks still, for those who don't get upn! and which is on upn wednesdays at nine now!).

speaking of veronica mars, it's been kicking a large amount of butt over on the twop awards. i am SOOO excited for season two, with new recurring characters played by charisma carpenter (buffy from cordelia as the sexy casablancas stepmom) and steve guttenberg as a mayoral candidate/parent of a new kid at school. can you believe i'm excited to see steve guttenberg in something? well, i am.

anyway, i'm soliciting book recommendations again, if you have 'em. and don't think i'm ignoring your suggestion if i haven't read it yet! it's written down in my trusty purple notebook until i can track a copy down at a local library--or until i come into a windfall and can buy enough books to warrant living in an even bigger apartment. :)

Monday, August 08, 2005


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
hamsters 81-86 were waiting for me when i returned home from vacation (with the best enclosure yet--a whole bunch of my wxdu flowsheets! from like, 2003. haha!).

i'm pretty sure the one on the right is a vampire. and why does the one on the left have a see-through eyepatch? i will never unravel the mysteries of the hamsters.

by the way, hamster-giver, my mail-pickup-person thought it was pretty silly that i was mailing stuff to myself--nice touch on putting my address as the return address. and now i have a sample of your handwriting!


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
everyone looks at me like i'm nuts when i ask for help in fixing my dresser, but look: it is F'ED UP. it's leaning forward, and the only thing keeping it from toppling over is the bottom drawer, which is wedged into the carpet. also none of the drawers will shut and the bottom three don't really open. these are dire straits, people! help, help! i will bake cookies in exchange for repair assistance!


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
hey, i'm back from vacation! photos are at flickr, as always.

on a totally unrelated topic: do any locals know a good handyman type? my beloved dresser is having some serious issues which probably could be easily resolved by someone knowledgeable, but i'm not that sort of person. it's on the verge of falling forward and dying a horrible death, and i'd like to prevent that . . .

Sunday, August 07, 2005

2005 book 106

lily tuck's the news from paraguay
i forget, is the national book award the one i think goes to books that suck/don't deserve it? oh well, i'll research it later. i'm not sure this book deserved to win some big award, but it wasn't a bad read or anything. it's about the irish mistress of the dictator of paraguay in the mid-1800s--the first half is really engaging, but once the wars start the story drags a lot. yes, war is full of drudgery, but that's why i don't read (much) military history. it picks back up toward the end, but by then i was busy wondering how tuck had to tailor her story to fit the historical facts and wasn't paying that much attention.

speaking of history, the big family joke this vacation seems to revolve around the oneida cult: we came upon an oneida dishware store and i started talking about the history of the oneida cult a la one of my college history classes. i always really liked that story so i guess it stuck with me (or some mostly-factual version, anyway). my family seemed to find it both bizarre and entertaining that i would not shut up about this, and a few nights later when my dad cracked some comment about "oneida" they all started laughing hysterically. i once again tried to expound on the history but my dad was laughing so hard he was crying and couldn't get words out, so i eventually succumbed to hysterics as well. good times. see, history can be fun!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

2005 book 105

aharon appelfeld's the healer
i didn't really like this book much: partially this was due to a lousy translation, and partially to the fact that the entire plot can be summarized as follows: during the late 1930s in europe, a dude, his wife, and his two kids go to the middle of nowhere to see some holy man b/c his daughter has some unspecified mental malaise. the dude wants to go home. it's not a very interesting story, and despite what the back of the book says, his return to an intensely anti-semitic vienna is only covered in the last three or so pages, and thus has no emotional impact. i'm all, "what was the point of this?"

Friday, August 05, 2005

2005 books 103 and 104

ellen gilchrist's the anna papers
man, i hate when the description on the back of a book is totally inaccurate. luckily this book was better than its description: it's not about a woman's self-discovery after her sister's death, it's about that sister and her love for her family and various men and her attempts to unify one of her brothers and the daughter they never knew he had. i mean, the other sister does have some self-discovery or whatever, but it's only in the last 50 pages. who writes those things??

shan sa's the girl who played go
this was recommended to me as a sad read, but it was really so much more than that (and no worries, i didn't cry at the beach or anything). it's about a young chinese girl in the 1930s in the midst of all that political upheaval, and the japanese officer she encounters while playing go. both characters are vividly drawn and their struggles with the situations in which they are trapped are just heartbreaking.

today we dealt with another jellyfish attack--my sister's friend got it bad across the leg. yikes! i am definitely avoiding the ocean for the next few days!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

2005 book 102

anne fadiman's the spirit catches you and you fall down
i don't read a lot of non-fiction, but i enjoyed fadiman's ex libris and this was highly recommended to me. this work revolves around a culture clash between a family of hmong refugees in california and the doctors treating their infant daughter for epilepsy; fadiman alternates chapters dealing with the medical saga with sections on hmong history and culture, along with some meditations on how medical centers are working on treating people across cultures. not only is it a moving read, but i think it's a valuable read for any med student or doctor, to try and get a feel for how to treat patients with different beliefs or different languages.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

2005 books 100 and 101

today was the nicest weather we've had yet and we are all happily sunburned. well, i'm more tan than pink, but some of us are blotchier than others. :)

in big news of the day, my aunt called to report that she was golfing at some trump course in new york and BILL CLINTON was golfing ahead of them! she said he doesn't look great and was dressed like a nerd (with white socks), but he was really nice and waved at them and stuff. we were all very excited, being die-hard democrats and clinton fans.

oh, and i was stung by a jellyfish yesterday! i forgot to write that part.

onto the books!

j.m. coetzee's elizabeth costello
this book started off promising, got boring quickly, and was quite lame by the end.

stephen marche's raymond and hannah
i liked this one much better: it's about a pair of canadians who meet and fall for each other the week before she is going to israel for nine months to learn at a yeshiva. those of you who know me well will understand immediately that i related to a lot of this material, but i think anyone who's ever been involved in something long-distance will enjoy this. things become complicated when hannah becomes much more interested in her religion after learning about it--raymond isn;'t jewish. the format of this book is also pretty neat, with little sidebar notes like a textbook!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

2005 book 99

stephen sherrill's the minotaur takes a cigarette break
i think it's book 99--i didn't think to check whyat yesterday';s numbers were. if not, i'll edit it some other time!
this book was pretty entertaining--the minotaur, immortal, has taken a job working in the kitchen of a restaurant, where he becomes infatuated with a waitress, but of course being half man, half bull makes life complicated for the guy. i think neil gaiman comparisons might be appropriate here--there's a little bit of that sort of a humor, although sherrill's minotaur is also presented wistfully.

i was runnning low on books, but managed to hit a bookstore today--phew!! my sister got a pet hermit crab this afternoon, as well, which she promptly dubbed "napoleon dynamite." she plans on getting a friend for it ("pedro") when they get back to pittsburgh (the poor crabs at the store all had these garish shells--painted with baseballs and footballs and magic 8 balls, and with things written on them like "miami beach" [we're in south carolina]).

Monday, August 01, 2005

2005 books 96, 97, 98

martha cooley's the archivist
eh, this book was ok: it's about a college archivist who encounters a grad student who wants to see some t.s. eliot letters, which aren't supposed to be public until 2020. she reminds the archivist of his dead wife, who appears in flashback and through her journal entries. the ending is a little flat, but it's a nice story on the whole--i think to really love it, you have to be a big fan of eliot and other poets, though. i mean, sure, i wrote a high school term paper on prufrock, but i'm not generally a big poetry fan on the whole.

chieh chieng's a long stay in a distant land
this book was really, really good. it's the story of an extended chinese-american family; one of its members believes they're under some bizarre death curse, because so many of them have died in sudden, weird accidents. after his mother's death, his father obsesses over killing the other driver involved in the car accident, and his grandmother worries over one of her other sons, who has disappeared in hong long. the story is told through a series of vignettes from the points of view of different family members, which is a really effective device as their actual lives become clear. i liked this one a lot.

jennifer donnelly's a northern light
this lengthy YA novel is sort of about the same murder that apparently dreiser covers in an american tragedy, but the main character is a young girl who works at the hotel in question. she longs to go to college and study literature and learn to be a writer, but her family needs her and a young local handsome guy has come a-callin'. which life will she choose?? how will the murder and her knowledge about it change her life???? actually, this was a pretty good book--good vacation reading.