Saturday, December 18, 2010


So this is supposed to be about the how, and when, and why, and what of reading--about the way that, when reading is going well, one book leads to another and to another, a paper trail of theme and meaning; and how, when it's going badly, when books don't stick or take, when your mood and the mood of the book are fighting like cats, you'd rather do anything but attempt the next paragraph, or reread the last one for the tenth time. 'We talked about books,' says a character in Charles Baxter's wonderful Feast of Love, 'how boring they were to read, but how you loved them anyway.' Anyone who hasn't felt like that isn't owning up.
The Complete Polysyllabic Spree
Nick Hornby

A collection of monthly columns Hornby wrote for the Believer about his reading (and book purchasing) habits as opposed to writing about a particular book. A fun read and a great resource. CA loves Nick Hornby's books, but couldn't get into this one. I love words and reading; I get Nick Hornby's reading habits.

The fun part of this book is that I bought in Paris at Shakespeare and Company--full price, because I was short on reading material. I saved this one for the last bit of our time in Paris and the flight home. I smiled a lot, and used a highlighter (!) to note books I need to check out at the library and on Amazon.

I find the paperback cover photo on Amazon's offering rather off-putting. Sorry, Nick, but a full frontal facial isn't the best marketing tool. The British version of the paperback cover is definitely more subtle...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


"The trouble with these divorces," Ernest said as he put the tea tray on the packing case, "is the refurnishing. Look at that . We're not going to find another one like that. Wasted on her, of course."

Simon Shaw looked up and watched one of the moving men packing the Hockney in bubble wrap. As the man bent over, he displayed the traditional emblem of the British labourer, the buttock cleavage revealed by the separation of t-shirt from grimy, low-slung jeans. Ernest sniffed and went back to the kitchen, picking his way through the piles of expensive relics that were destined for the ex-Mrs. Shaw's bijou cottage in Eaton Mews South.
Hotel Pastis
Peter Mayle

Amusing and captivating. A great vacation read--lighthearted and fast moving. Especially good when read while traveling in Provence and Paris...

Friday, December 3, 2010


I saved this trilogy for our travels in Europe. So much has been written about these books, and then there are the movie versions...

My curiosity was with Stieg Larsson's untimely death at age 50. A heart attack before any of these books were published.

I do recommend these books, although it took a very long time for me to feel any compassion or understanding for Lisbeth Salander. I find it very interesting that Larsson reportedly based her character on a grown-up Pippi Longstockings-type...