Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Book Recommendation Youyou* and Dancing Delight

Everyone needs good books to anticipate in the new year. Leave a comment with your name and the title and author of the book you're reading now, and I'll

a) recommend a book for you
b) tell you why I think you'll like it and
c) lend you a copy if I have it and you're interested**.


"It may be possible to do without dancing entirely. Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months successively without being at any ball of any description, and no material injury accrue to body or mind; but when a beginning is made—when the felicities of rapid motion have been once, though slightly, felt—it must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more."

Thus wrote Jane Austen in Emma, and once again Austen's wisdom has proved true in my life. For while I was in Edinburgh, I had the pleasure of participating in the World's Longest Strip the Willow, a Scottish country dance that, as performed in the streets by exuberant tipsy twentysomethings, mostly consisted of a lot of joyous swinging each other in circles. But I did indeed experience the "felicities of rapid motion," and my heart indeed did ask for more; so tonight I attended a meeting of Country Dance * New York, a fine organization of about forty people (at tonight's event, anyway). A caller instructed us in the intricacies of each dance, and a fiddler and pianist provided the music; and we turned, skipped, did honor, took hands, and cast up and down set after set after set. We didn't dance "Mr. Beveridge's Maggot" --Lizzy and Darcy's dance at the Netherfield Ball in P&P2/3 -- but we did "Mr. Isaac's Maggot," "Fandango," "The Corporation," a couple waltzes, and many others besides. It was thoroughly exhausting and exhilarating -- and, for better or for worse, no one said I was not handsome enough to tempt him. :-) CD*NY meets every Tuesday, so if you'd be interested in coming too, just let me know.

* youyou, n. The opposite of a meme, where the blogger offers information to/about a specific commenter at the commenter's request.
** The fine print: And it isn't signed and you promise to return it within six months (as I seem to have lent and lost my signed His Dark Materials trilogy, which distresses me exceedingly).


  1. Happy New Year, Cheryl!

    I *just* finished: TWO LIVES by Vikram Seth, WODEHOUSE: A Life by Robert McCrum, and JOY IN THE MORNING by P.G. Wodehouse.

    I am currently reading: THE CONCH BEARER (YA Fantasy) by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.

    And next on my list: INCINDIARY CIRCUMSTANCES: A Chronicle of the Turmoil of Our Times by Amitav Ghosh and THE INHERITANCE OF LOSS by Kiran Desai


  2. Oooh... "The Corporation." We like the sound of that already.

    Speaking of loaning out books only to never have them returned, I'm distressed that I've loaned out two (2) copies of Interpreter of Maladies, neither of which has been returned.

  3. I just finished Till We Have Faces, by C.S. Lewis.

    My son just finished The Human Alphabet, starring Pilobolus.


  4. I've just read EACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS by Deborah Wiles; Patricia Reilly Giff's WILLOW RUN; MARRIAGE, A HISTORY: FROM OBEDIENCE TO INTIMACY OR HOW LOVE CONQUERED MARRIAGE, a lengthy but fascinating book by Stephanie Coontz; and the ARC of Cindy Lord's RULES.


  5. Pooja: CRESCENT by Diana Abu-Jaber -- a marvelous novel about love, eating, and being an immigrant (or a child of immigrants) in America. The descriptions of food in this book are just mouthwatering, so have a Middle Eastern place on speed-dial while you're reading. :-)

    J: I don't have your INTERPRETER, but I do still have your MOBY DICK (unread, alas), so I should return that at some point . . .

    Lizzy: If you read TILL WE HAVE FACES because you like Lewis and are interested in religion and fiction, try GILEAD by Marilynne Robinson -- the most purely spiritual novel I've ever read. If you read TWHF for the mythic elements, try THE LEGEND OF THE WANDERING KING by Laura Gallego Garcia.

    ????: I haven't read much Pratchett, but based on that, hmm . . . have you read any Roddy Doyle? He has some of the same anarchic spirit and sense of humor. Go with THE GIGGLER TREATMENT for kids, THE COMMITMENTS for grown-ups.

    Anne Marie: PARALLEL LIVES by Phyllis Rose -- a *fascinating* study of five Victorian marriages (including Dickens, Carlyle, and George Eliot), or STANFORD WONG FLUNKS BIG-TIME by Lisa Yee if you want to keep reading more great middle-grade.

  6. Now that I've finished my British/Indian chick lit (Life isn't all ha ha hee hee by Meera Syal), I'm theoretically reading Du côté de chez Swann (because I'm crazy enough to start the year with such ambitions). I'm also itching to pick up Lois Lowry's Anastasia Krupnik books, inspired by an old friend's LJ entry on the subject and graffiti I saw at the Brattle ("Anastasia Krupnik went to the Brattle!"), just to balance things out...

  7. Thanks, Cheryl. Lisa's book is on my list, as I enjoyed MILLICENT MIN a great deal. I read a lot of middle-grade, as it's what I write. Thanks for the rec of PARALLEL LIVES, which looks like it will be right up my alley. Another great nf book I liked this year was Judith Flander's INSIDE THE VICTORIAN HOME.

  8. Thanks, Cheryl. I will surely pick it up. It definitely sounds like something I will enjoy.

    Viacimo, if you are looking for additional Indian chick-lit, check out IMAGINARY MEN by Anjali Banerjee.

    And if you are interested in British Indian/Asian YA chick-lit, get a copy of any book in the Bindi Babes series (BINDI BABES or BOLLYWOOD BABES). The third book - BHANGRA BABES - is due out this year. They are fun, frothy, and funny.

  9. Oh, Nadia, I love the Anastasia Krupnik books! And I haven't read them in years. CHOSEN CAREER and AT THIS ADDRESS (about personal ads!) were my favorites. When you need a break from Proust, I suggest THE GIVER, RABBLE STARKEY, or AUTUMN STREET by Lois Lowry if you've never had the experience of reading them, or THE BIG LOVE by Sarah Dunn if you're looking for more good chick lit in general.

  10. I am currently taking a YA Lit class. I read about 15 books over Christmas of more modern releases (LOOKING FOR ALASKA, the first two of Kate Constable's trilogy, MAGIC OR MADNESS, and more) I just finished THE THIEF by Megan Whelan Turner.

  11. I recently finished SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson, which was an amazing read.

    I'm a few chapters into DANCING IN RED SHOES WILL KILL YOU by Dorian Cirrone.


  12. Thanks, Cheryl! I think I will check out Gilead, first. I think it's synchronistic that you'd recommend it to me, since I'm from Kansas :)

  13. Hi Cheryl!
    They're not all recent titles, but I've recently read Inexcusable by Chris Lynch, Many Stones by Carolyn Coman, and Life is Funny by ER Frank. I'm also a fan of well-written freeverse.
    Kim Marcus

  14. Mmmm, looking deep into my crystal ball of book recommendations, I see something emerging from the mist . . . yes . . . for Holly, Anonymous, *and* Kim (nice to see you, Kim), it's PROM by Laurie Halse Anderson! A great, kicky novel about a "normal" teenage girl (as LHA defines her in the afterword -- doesn't care about school, having sex with her boyfriend, fond of TV and beer and the occasional joint); funny, enjoyable, and thought-provoking in why we don't see more novels about teens like her.

    Or, if you've already read that, VERY FAR AWAY FROM ANYWHERE ELSE by Ursula K. LeGuin . . . possibly my favorite YA novel of all time for its wonderful emotional truths and central relationship, now back in print. An absolute must-read if you ever felt like a loner in high school, particularly because you were intellectual and no one else was, and then you connected with someone. . . . It also makes a great paired read with LeGuin's recent GIFTS.

  15. < blatant editorial book huckstering >

    P. S. I hope you liked the Kate Constables, Holly . . . The third book, THE TENTH POWER, will be out this March.

    < / blatant editorial book huckstering >

  16. Nice to "see" you too, Cheryl :). Thanks for the suggestions! I did already read PROM, but will put the LeGuin title at the top of my list.

  17. I loved the Kate Constable books, and i am waiting anxiously for the third book. (What will happen to Calwyn now? Won't give plot spoilers.) And i have certainly been wanting to read PROM. I will get my bookstore to order it in, and will read it soon.

  18. I haven't read PROM yet, so I'll start with that one first. VERY FAR AWAY FROM ANYWHERE ELSE looks very interesting also. Thank you for the suggestions!