Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Books on My Night Table, How I Acquired Them, and Why I Am/Was Reading Them, in Descending Order

  1. Criss Cross, by Lynne Rae Perkins, given to me by my friend Jill on Tuesday night in preparation for our book group meeting next month. I lay down to read it thirty-one minutes ago and I'm on page 104. It goes fast.
  2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, in the Reader's Digest collectible edition I wheedled out of my great-aunt Dessie when I was thirteen years old, now sporting a worn and stained cover, scuffed edges, and bent cardboard poking through the cloth at the corners. Pulled out again last night after I went to the "Celebration of Jane Austen" at Symphony Space with Jennifer Egan, Siri Hustvedt, and Karen Joy Fowler. The conversation among the three was good; the book is better.
  3. Prince Caspian, by C. S. Lewis, a Scholastic paperback edition from a "Chronicles of Narnia" boxed set that was in one of the giveaway boxes at work, with the Chris Van Allsburg covers. My current regular bedtime reading, for the restfulness of the prose and the interest -- both literary-critical and pleasurable -- of the stories.
  4. On Beauty, by Zadie Smith, purchased at the Shakespeare & Co. on Broadway near NYU last Saturday, when I was also buying my father's birthday present (Last Dance: Behind the Scenes at the Final Four, by John Feinstein). A Resolution book. I've lusted after it for months because the jacket is so gorgeous: red foil inside debossed type on heavy cream paper with a red case cover. . . . I just love running my fingertips over it, though I am not thus far in love with the text it contains.
  5. Buffalo Brenda, by Jill Pinkwater. One of the review copies my grandfather used to receive and pass on by the boxful when he was teaching children's literature, and one of the most influential books in my life ever as it encouraged the twelve-year-old me to be independent-minded and distrustful of brand names in fashion. (I still don't wear anything that has a store or designer name on the outside, as I always hear Brenda lecturing on "the Great Conspiracy of Manufacturers [that forced] people to overpay for what amounted to the privilege of advertising the very products they bought.") Retrieved and reskimmed a few weeks ago when I was working on Muddles, Morals, and Making It Through.
  6. The Wonderful O, by James Thurber, with illustrations by Marc Simont, bought through Alibris. I love Thurber as a writer and Simont as an illustrator and got this to enjoy their collaboration.
  7. The Language of Baklava, by Diana Abu-Jaber. I sent a friend at Pantheon the first three Harry Potters in exchange for this luscious culinary memoir by the author of Crescent, which was one of my favorite books from last year. Lovely, lovely, mouthwatering prose, and someday I'll make the recipes too.

1 comment:

  1. Cripes, and here I am inching through the Iliad. (I'm on book 9 now). Well, I did say I need to read more slowly.

    I do need to read Criss-Cross, though. That's the same gal (I think) who wrote All Alone in the Universe, which was a good one.