Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Salon

This Sunday I had planned to take a little daytrip to one of the islands in Boston Harbor, but weather predictions of thunderstorms kept me home. So I'm reading!

I'm about halfway through Curtis Sittenfeld's American Wife and really enjoying it. I haven't read her other books but she's definitely no lightweight. It reminds me just a little of Margaret Atwood's book The Blind Assassin in that it's a first-person fictional memoir written at the end of a long and varied life, full of foreshadowing and seeming to promise a good payoff. I'm interested to see what the payoff is but in the meantime it's a very engaging read.

My project of the day was cleaning off my bedside table, laden with books. I keep most of my short-story collections there, because short stories are great when I have a little time and just want something I can read in one sitting. I also have two "bedside books" that I'm reading a chapter at a time- David Sedaris's When You Are Engulfed in Flames and Israeli author Zeruya Shalev's Husband and Wife. I like reading this way, a little at a time. As soon as I finish one of those books I already have several lined up. The first will be Antonia Fraser's biography of Marie Antoinette, which I picked up at a library sale a while ago and am simply dying to get to. (No, I was not named after her!)

I also dusted off one of my treasures- my Penguin 60s collection. Back in 1995 I was living in Ireland and the publisher Penguin was celebrating its 60th anniversary by offering 60 miniature books for 60 pence apiece; they were also selling the entire set boxed. Each miniature book contains a single short story- fiction and nonfiction, and I haven't read all of them, and I may never, but the set is one of my favorite souvenirs of that trip.

Well back to the books. What are you up to today?


Anonymous said...

I have a few of those Penguins 60s set, but you have all of them, I'm so jealous.

I've read mixed reviews on the Sedaris book and look forward to hearing what you think of it.

Me? I'll be honest that I haven't gotten much reading done today. I'm updating my bookmarks on to include all the Sunday Salon members. It might be a project I'll have to continue tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I'm also reading American Wife today. I'm 100 pages from the end and still liking it! I'm almost surprised that I am because a few people on LT said that it goes downhill. I haven't found that to be the case at all. I'm also particularly glad to see the comparison to The Blind Assassin, as I've got that one waiting in my TBR pile. =)

I've seen that David Sedaris book everywhere too. I'm looking forward to your review so I can decide if it's worth acquiring!

Miss Kim said...

I read the Marie Antoinette book last year and just loved it- hope you will too!

Iliana said...

I'm definitely looking forward to the David Sedaris book. He's so funny. He was in town promoting his book a month or so ago but I missed him. Darn.
Anyway will be looking out for your review of American Wife.

wisteria said...

You are the second person I came across who is reading American Wife today and it is not meghan. I am hoping to get a copy of this soon.
I was interested to see your comparison to M. Atwood's Blind Assassin because I just picked that up for 1.00 at a thift shop. Call me lucky.

You will love Marie Antoinette!!!
Have a great week.

Anonymous said...

I've read and enjoyed both Prep and The Man of My Dreams by Sittenfeld. I thought they were weightier than I expected, and her ability to get into the adolescent mind was pretty great.

I recently reviewed the Sedaris book in Readerville and didn't enjoy it as much as his others...but still worth a read. Enjoy!