Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Salon: Slouching Towards March

I can't believe February is almost over. I mean, I know it's the shortest month but really? Is it really almost March? Yesterday at work I bagged the first St. Patrick's Day items of the season and Wednesday was Ash Wednesday which means Easter is coming up. And Easter means spring, so that's good, right?

I finished Alan Hollinghurst's The Swimming-Pool Library last night; it was a good book, thoughtful and rich and interesting. I'll have a full review this week. It's not one that I want to linger. I started Simonetta Agnello Hornby's The Nun, about a young girl sent to an Italian cloister against her will in the late nineteenth century. It bears some resemblance to Sarah Dunant's wonderful Sacred Hearts. I've read a few good reviews of The Nun lately and decided to get in an extra Europa Editions book this month. Next up is Three Weeks in December, by Audrey Schulman, whose event I'm going to this coming Friday evening.

Andrey Kurkov signs my book
Christopher Boucher
Speaking of book events, I went to a fabulous one this past Friday. Back Pages Books, a local indie, hosted Melville House authors Christopher Boucher (How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive) and Andrey Kurkov (Death and the Penguin; Penguin Lost; The Case of the General's Thumb). What a great night with two authors of unconventional books.

I haven't read Boucher's book yet but I know I'll get to it soon. I adored Kurkov's Death and the Penguin and look forward to the next two. I picked up Penguin Lost at the event and have The Case of the General's Thumb coming to me soon as well. I enjoyed listening to Kurkov's take on how penguins and Soviets are similar (both, he said, are used to rigid civil structures and don't know how to operate outside of their group) and thoughts on the decline of literary culture in the former Soviet countries. He noted that Novy Mir, the leading literary magazine, had, at one point, a circulation of 3 million; today it's 3,000. And he said that fully half of all the books bought in Russia are bought in Moscow. Food for thought!

Today? Who knows. I really have no idea! I hope you have a great Sunday whatever you get up to.

More Sunday Salon here.


Sandy Nawrot said...

Two months have just flown by. That is how life seems to me. The idea that my daughter is going into high school is frightening. To me, she is still my little five year old. Your book event sounds great, and very cool that you had read one of them. Interesting comparisons between Soviets and on earth did he come up with that!?

Zibilee said...

I love books about convents and nuns, so The Nun sounds fantastic to me! I thought Sacred Hearts was pretty good, but a little implausible towards the end. I am so glad that you got a chance to go to the author event featuring Christopher Boucher and Andrey Kurkov. It sounds like you had a wonderful time! Have a great Sunday, Marie!

bermudaonion said...

I can't believe we're staring March in the face either - the time is just flying by!

I love author events and when you get two authors at once, it means double the fun!

Unknown said...

I love how you mentioned penguins and nuns in the same post w/out being euphemistic or disparaging toward either!

Seeing the title of the Hornby novel I can't help but think of Denis Diderot's The Nun. I

Alexia561 said...

I still can't believe it's 2012, so the thought of it almost being March terrifies me! :o

Nan said...

Lucky you! I loved Death and the Penguin and would have so enjoyed hearing Kurkov speak. I would love to hear more about what he said.

Michelle said...

It is absolutely frightening how quickly time is passing these days. Even when you do relatively nothing, the days are over before you know it. Insane.

Kathleen said...

I can't believe how fast the winter has gone by but I am very grateful for it to be spring! It's nice you got to go to some author events. I wish there were more in my immediate area and that I didn't have to go to San Francisco to see an author.

Robin said...

I read the first few pages of Boucher's book, and I'm looking forward to finishing it; it's perfectly absurd. We're planning on having him come back for a discussion/reading in the near future, so I'll definitely keep you posted.