Sunday, November 30, 2008

November roundup

In short, November was a great reading month for me.

Books read: 5
I finished reading five books, tying up a loose end from the summer: Stephen King’s The Mist, Sara Roahen’s Gumbo Tales (smart, funny, well written), Raffaella Barker’s Summertime, Alexander McCall Smith’s Friends, Chocolate, Lovers (fantastic characters, including Edinburgh), and Rivka Galchen’s Atmospheric Disturbances (stunning debut).

Books abandoned: 3
After giving it the fifty-page test, I abandoned Anglo Files, Sarah Lyall’s examination of the British. I love reading popular nonfiction about England—I’ve got Peter Ackroyd’s biography of the Thames on my TBR list—because they help me feel connected to London, but Anglo Files fell flat.

Also, a couple audiobooks—Curtis Sittenfeld’s American Wife and Daniel Silva’s Moscow Rules—had to be returned to the library before I finished listening to them. The latter is the bigger disappointment as it’s a thriller and I fear I’ve lost some clues.

Books purchased: 5
I continue to purchase books apace without having an income to back it up, which, I’m afraid, truly qualifies me as an addict. Here are my treasures:

~ Shakespeare Wrote for Money (Nick Hornby)
I find The Believer insufferable so I don’t buy it—or read it. Otherwise I would have known that Nick Hornby had written his final column. I loved Hornby’s column, in which he details the books he bought and the books he read that month. He makes me laugh out loud. Thank goodness my friend Caryl forwarded the announcement for the third installment of Hornby’s collected columns, Shakespeare Wrote for Money, or I would have missed it altogether. I started reading it immediately.

~ Down the Nile: Alone in a Fishermen’s Skiff (Rosemary Mahoney)
Found browsing the latest arrivals at Sixth Chamber. Mahoney writes great travel memoir. Years ago I enjoyed Singular Pilgrim.

~ Prince of the Marshes: And Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq (Rory Stewart)
Last year, I lost myself in Rory Stewart’s The Places in Between and added Prince of the Marshes to my TBR list. I also found this browsing at Sixth Chamber, a secondhand store where publisher’s reps and reviewers unload their comp copies, which means I always find newer releases.

~ Monsters of Templeton (Lauren Groff)
Recently release in paperback. Here’s an anecdote that falls squarely in the Like I Need an Excuse category: After an outing at Common Good Books, where we exercised great discipline and bought nothing, husband and I compared notes about which books interested us. We have wildly different tastes in books so I took it as a sign that we both noticed Monsters of Templeton. A sign that I should return to the store and purchase the book as soon as possible. And so I did.

~ Love Sucks (Christopher Moore)
What can I say? I listened to The Stupidest Angel around this time last year and thought it was clever and funny. When I found Love Sucks on a 50 cents cart at Sixth Chamber, in very good condition, it was hard to say no, even though this will become an instant shelf-sitter.

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