Spotted: Grace

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Well it appears that this woman was so deep into Grace, by T. Greenwood, that she forgot to put her second glove on.  Or take the first one off.  The premise is an interesting one.  The store clerk who develops the photographs for a thirteen-year-old is the only one who sees that his family is about to implode via the haunting film he brings in for processing.  Apparently the grandfather is a hoarder.  As someone who has a family member who is borderline hoarder, I think it would be interesting to see how the author deals with this subject.  Or I could just watch that horribly addicting show.

Also, in a Between The Lines SF first, we’re going to actually tweet this to the author herself!  Hopefully we won’t get a cease and desist letter from her lawyers!  From her blog, she actually seems like she would be a pretty cool person.  In person.


Spotted: Everything Is Illuminated

The only thing I had ever heard about “Everything Is Illuminated” was that it was a “hipster” book.  I never really knew what that meant, but I also never really doubted it, since most of the time I saw it being carted around by someone who could probably fall into that category.  And the obscure title kind of fits the part.  But then again, I really liked “Infinite Jest,” so what the f@ck do I know.

But then I see this pretty young lady reading it (wearing some sweet sweet riding boots that the wife would love), and she doesn’t really fall into that category.  And now that I know the plot line involves a young American trying to piece together what happened to his family during the Nazi liquidation of Jews in the Ukraine, I think I might have to revisit how I see this book.  Or maybe, you know, read it.

Spotted: Atlas Shrugged

When I was in middle school/high school, I would often see “Atlas Shrugged” in our local bookstore, staring back at me from the small fiction section.  Given the size of the book, it probably took up a good proportion of the small fiction section.   Given the size of our town, and the book store, it was probably THE same book that I saw every time I went there.

I found the title (not to mention the cover) quite titillating.  Having an affection for Greek Mythology that straddled the border between healthy intellectual curiosity and early indicator of future psychological problems, the idea of Atlas actually shrugging cast the anchor away for my imagination.  Why did Atlas shrug?  Did someone ask him a question and he didn’t know?  Did he have a cramp?  And what was the significance?  Is that why we have earthquakes?  Or was it just a metaphor for some other earth shaking event?

Unfortunately, I found the pure length of the book as intimidating as I found the title interesting, so I never actually bought or read the book.  I did read some of Ayn Rand’s essays though during trips in the back of our family’s truck, and found her idea of “objectivity” to be enticing, though ultimately impossible to confirm.

To this day.  I think Atlas Shrugged would be something I would like to read, but my curiosity has bee somewhat blunted by the way her name and this book have become closely associated with pure laissez-faire capitalism  (justified ) and the tea party (somewhat justified, not sure if they realize she was an atheist).   I’d like to read a good fictional novel, not sure if I want to get a misanthropic humanist philosophical allegory.   Is it worth the time and effort?

Spotted: Irish Dreams

Living under the rock that is Cole Valley (or the Frederick Knob-whenever that neighborhood came into being under my feet, I guess I’ll never know), I had never heard of Nora Roberts.  Just in terms of statistics, that seems pretty amazing because this woman has written A LOT: some 209 novels that have spent a combined 861 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List.  With that many pieces of paper flying around with her name on it, you’d think I would have run into one by now. Several of her novels’ titles begin with the word “Irish:”  Irish Rebel, Irish Thoroughbred, Irish Rose, Irish Hearts, etc.  So, as you can probably imagine, Ms. Roberts is from Maryland.  Though she might be as clean as a whistle!

It’s a little difficult to tell, but from my one google long and diligent research, it appears that Irish Dreams is a compilation of two stories: Irish Rebel and Sullivan’s Woman.

The woman who was reading this seemed to be completely entranced by its pages.  I hear there might be a little romantic sexy sexy time in there.  Maybe she was on one of those passages.

Spotted: Cat’s Cradle

All of the true things that I am about to tell you are shameless lies.

Finally, I saw a book I’ve read!  This was passed to me many years ago by a friend as her “favorite Vonnegut,” and I really can’t find fault with that.  Bokononism, the fictional religion that Vonnegut created in this novel, is probably in and of itself  the best (and convincing) satire of organized religion that I’ve ever come across.

Swedish Academy once again makes me feel unread/uneducated

Congratualations to Tomas Tranströmer, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature!

Just kidding.  Though he is Swedish, he seems a bit less, um, creative in the kitchen. 

Image from the Guardian

Praised by the judges for “his condensed translucent images” which give us “fresh access to reality”, Tranströmer’s surreal explorations of the inner world and its relation to the jagged landscape of his native country have been translated into over 50 languages. 


Sounds like my reading list just got a little longer.

Spotted: Ironic Eggers

I saw our very own Dave Egger’s book, “You Shall Know Our Velocity,” the other day while I stood  on a motionless train somewhere between Montgomery and Embarcadero that hadn’t moved in about five minutes.  I chuckled to myself, because that’s what crazy people do on Muni if one chose to describe the collective “we” that were the sorry souls on that train, I doubt it would have involved the word “velocity” unless preceded by the word “zero” or the plea “I wish I could instantly attain escape.”* 

I’ve read some of his other novels, including “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,” which kinda hit close to home for me at the time and I think remains my favorite, despite really enjoying (the very different) “What is the What” and “Zeitoun.”  I’ll be sure to check out this earlier work of his.  And you should too. Think of the children

* Again, what crazy people do on Muni.