Tuesday, January 3, 2012

play louder.

New Year's Resolutions? Bah! Here's my book list instead.

Okay, so I do have one resolution: write more. I was abysmal at taking time to write this year.

But! Book list! It's started, but not completed. As always, suggestions and comments are welcome.

The Magicians
, Lev Grossman* (just finished)
All Soul's Rising, Madison Smartt Bell
Parable of the Talents, Octavia Butler
The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
The Cure at Troy, Seamus Heaney
The Illustrated Man, Ray Bradbury
Sunshine, Robin McKinley
Stone's Fall
, Iain Pears*
The Use of Weapons, Iain Banks
The Broken Kingdoms, NK Jemisin
Brown Girl in the Ring, Nalo Hopkinson
The End of the Affair, Graham Greene*
White Teeth, Zadie Smith*
The Turn of the Screw, Henry James (I know, I know. Bad English major)
The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides
The Rain God, Arturo Islas
George Washington Gomez, Americo Paredes
1Q84, Haruki Murakami
Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius, Sylvia Nasar

Some of these carried over from last year. Okay. Gimme more!
* - got for Christmas.

Other things of interest:
1.  Fred Clark the Slacktivist cited my post on donating clothes. I didn't even realize it until I saw a lot of traffic coming from that particular post. Um. So I feel honored?

2. Another side note: For those of you interested in what I did with PAPA Fest, it turns out that we put on the festival this year for $8,000. Holy crap, people. Do you know how much it usually takes to run that sort of thing? But we built the stage from donated wood, the musicians did their thing for free, people gave generously when it came to food (and there was some dumpstering involved), we had composting toilets that limited our need for port-a-potties, and our "staff" was all volunteer. Hell, part of the point of PAPA Fest is that everyone volunteers. So I'm proud of that. We were spectacular. :)

3. It's turned cold again in Philly. So, for Poetry Tuesday, and for the new year, I give you WCW's "January."
Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
                               Play louder.
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
                     And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.

(William Carlos Williams)


  1. Ha! Now I feel all cool for being a regular reader *before* Fred linked to you. That's me: a regular trendsetter!

  2. So, what'd you think of The Magicians?

    I liked some of it; some of it really irritated me.

    I've read one or two on your list, others are still on my list. Why haven't I got to N. K. Jemison? And I can't believe I haven't laid my hands on Fall of Troy.

    On the other hand, I read Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black recently, and thought it was brilliant. (TW for child abuse both emotional and sexual, child neglect, and men behaving very badly indeed; nothing is graphically described, but it's almost more horrific for that.)

    I'm currently waiting for her autobiography, Giving Up the Ghost, which got rave reviews all over the place a few years ago. (Why am I always five years late with everything?)

    For once I can't think of a "response" poem. Hope you're not too cold; winter hit here this morning too, so probably my brain is frozen (or else refusing to focus on anything after its Christmas vacation).

  3. Er, Cure at Troy, not Fall of Troy, which is something entirely different. I told you I was having trouble today :(

  4. @Michael: Yup, you are. I wonder if there's a way to encourage people to comment? I'd like to see a more lively comments section, but you know how it goes.

    @Amaryllis: 'Sokay. My brain is in mid-coffee mode right now, so I understand. I'd like to post something on The Magicians soon, actually. I agree with you--there were parts that were great, and others not so much.
    Beyond Black sounds interesting, completely different from Wolf Hall. I might add it to the ever-growing list.

  5. Looking forward to reading that.

    Yeah, I read Wolf Hall last year and was completely dazzled. Then I read one of Mantel's earlier books, A Change in Climate, and I enjoyed it, could see how well-written it was, but it didn't hit me with the same punch. Then I read Beyond Black, and was dazzled in a completely different way.

    Apparently she's one of those authors that likes to do something different with each book (although I hear she's working on a sequel to Wolf Hall).

  6. I'm very much interested in your thoughts on The Magicians; I hated the main character after three pages and put it down immediately.

    (Also: I also picked up The Hunger Games today, which is of course everywhere, but I think this blog here is the first place I heard it mentioned and praised. So many books to get around to; I still haven't finished Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe.)

    (Also as well: I have been terribly lax in my keeping up with your blogging and commenting section, but shall endeavour to speak up more often hereafter.)

  7. @Will: I did hate the main character at times, too. I also remember what it was like being 18-22, and I think Grossman captured that fairly well. But, yeah. I completely understand the sentiment.

  8. The Illustrated Man, Ray Bradbury

    Fantastic book. And has one of my favorite theological stories ever, without a mention of God or Jesus.

    I'm assuming you've read Fahrenheit already?

    1. I have read Fahrenheit already. I read Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked back when I was about 12 or 13 as well. I remember loving Dandelion Wine. Perhaps I should reread it.