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Look what the mailman brought me!

27 Jan



My next batch of reading materials:

John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead

Dana Spiotta’s Stone Arabia

Aracelis Girmay’s Teeth

Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son

A couple of these (Stone Arabia and Pulphead) are nominated for this year’s National Book Critics Circle Award. The reading is this March, to which I will happily drag CityBoy and afterwards enjoy a delicious dinner at Da Andrea (if I get my druthers).

Aracelis Girmay’s second book, Kingdom Animalia, is also nominated, and it turns out she’s a Santa Ana girl, just like me, which makes me positively proud and green with envy. If this first book is as good as I’ve heard, she can count on another purchase at the awards reading.

And who doesn’t want to read more about wacky North Korea? Since I can’t stand non-fiction or the news (most of the time), I get all my historical information from novels. I know, not always the most accurate, but infinitely more interesting. So I’m counting on Adam Johnson to enlighten me.

To the page, people!


Book Culture: Where to Find It in NYC

18 Jan

I’m routinely asked how I like living in New York City. If it’s by a New Yorker, this is usually phrased as “Don’t you love it here? I mean, I love it. I could never live anywhere else. Could you imagine? God!” or something to that effect. I think this billboard sums up this attitude best:


And while I have loved parts of the city, especially the (often) perfect months of May and October, those parts haven’t added up to enough to allow me to respond with a resounding “Yeah, I love it. It’s amazing.”

My commute crosstown to work each morning  is enough to make any sane non-New Yorker break out in a machine-gun-toting killing spree. Especially in the winter, when it’s 20 degrees out (okay, quiet already, you Midwesterners, I know it could be colder but you have to remember I grew up in Southern California and my peoples are a tropical peoples), and the wind makes that feel like 12 degrees, and you’ve taken great care in dressing so as to not allow one chink in your cold-fighting layers only to have something ride up or ride down, usually where you just can’t reach, and winter’s icy fingers jab you right in the back or hairline or across your presumably boot-bundled toes.

Sorry, I digress. But one of the main things that always, always delights me about New York is the plethora of art/culture offerings, especially for someone like me who is obsessed with the written word. There are book readings, discussions, panels, festivals, award ceremonies, performances – all highlighting that great and magical thing.

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Non-Required Reading: Oh, How It Piles Up

23 Sep

I got a notice from one of the many rarely used frequent flyer programs to which I still (really? still?) belong, offering magazine subscriptions in lieu of anything else worthwhile for my measly few thousand points. I thought, free magazines – how could this be bad?


Behold, the Deluge!


This is now what greets me every time I open the front door of our apartment, unlock our little lobby mailbox, or pass by the doorman’s desk. It is literally a deluge of words and pictures, opinion and conjecture, daily, weekly, and monthly. Something’s gotta give.

As for actual reading (of novels, with the odd non-fiction book thrown in), here’s what’s in the pipeline:


Oh the glory!


The NYC public library system is a miracle to behold. Nearly any book I want, so long as I’m willing to wait a little for it to come in, via the handy online holds system. They’ll ship books from all over the five boroughs to my humble little 67th Street Library, day in and day out. The only problem seems to be the timing of the thing. According to my most recent check-out receipt, I need to read all five “new” books I received within the next seven days. This wouldn’t have been a huge problem in my living-3,000-miles-away-from-my-boyfriend days, but CityBoy gets a little cranky if I spend 3-4 hours a day immersed in a book. Apparently it’s considered anti-social. Continue reading