If I Could Just Get It On Virtual Paper

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

If you're looking for an entire compilation of year end book lists, GalleyCat has really done the homework for you. She's basically got all of the current lists linked for your perusal, and she's even put together a handy dandy guide to which books got the most nominations. It's extremely impressive work, really.

Speaking of lists, the San Francisco Chronicle's Best Books of 2004 list is just exemplary. I'm sure I'll be using it for, well, years to come.

I mentioned loving Ian McEwan's novel Enduring Love not too long ago (and yes, the long awaited Book vs. Movie on the topic is almost finished). He has a new book called Saturday coming out in the first quarter of 2005, and there's already an excerpt to whet your appetite at The New Yorker. It's highly clinical, but looks intriguing already.

In my last entry, I noted that I had started reading National Book Award winner The News from Paraguay by Lily Tuck. I liked but did not love the novel - it was a bit too precious for my taste. As a work of historical fiction, it is certainly interesting and it reads very quickly, but the characters are all sort of vile. Not that I generally mind that sort of thing.

After finishing the Tuck book, I moved on to Sideways by Rex Pickett. If you're curious, yes, the critically lauded film is in fact based on this book. I really admire the decisions that Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor made with the screenplay. The book comes across as, um, "d-ck lit" in my opinion, and it is certainly softened for the film. I'll be working on *another* book vs. movie to look at the topic more exhaustively.

My current read? Christopher Moore's The Stupidest Angel. I figured since it's the holiday season, I might as well read a Christmas book.

And a final note: if you haven't been watching Lost this year, tonight is the perfect time to start. ABC will be airing two episodes per week beginning this evening so that you'll be all caught up by the time new shows start again in January. Though I wouldn't call it the best new show of the season (I actually like both Desperate Housewives and Veronica Mars more), it sure is entertaining television.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Several blogs have mentioned it already, but this particular Get Fuzzy comic cracks me up huge.

On the book awards front, The Story Prize has announced its finalists:

Edwidge Danticat's The Dew Breaker
Cathy Day's The Circus in Winter
Joan Silber's Ideas of Heaven (which was also a National Book Award nominee)

Nick Hornby has a new book coming out. It sounds like he wrote it for me personally. Actually, he wrote it for a magazine called The Believer - as a series of articles he published under the title Stuff I've Been Reading. It will hit shelves later this week.

After nine days, I finally finished Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I love, love, loved this book. It's so Dickensian (though in a good way, not an annoying way) and manages to get in some good references to the poetry of the Romantic period (i.e. Byron, Shelley). In fact, Byron is a character in the book. I've always been a huge fan of British lit, so this novel really gave me something to sink my teeth into.

Now, I'm on to National Book Award winner for Fiction winner The News from Paraguay, by Lily Tuck. I'm not terribly far into it yet, but I'm certainly liking it so far.

Saturday, December 04, 2004


Via the Bookslut blog, I found this article that discusses the fact that consumer electronics have begun outselling books at Amazon.com. Probably because people are fed up with big box stores. I know I was sure aggravated to discover that Best Buy probably thinks I'm a demon customer (basically, I shop there only when stuff is on sale).

Also, if you like "top xxxx of the year" lists, here's a site that compiles them all for you.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

So much to discuss…so little time to do it.

Since my last post, I've been wildly busy with a variety of things - from reading to movie-going to playing a few video games. As I mentioned, I've been playing with the new Nintendo DS some, and I have to say the dual screen technology is incredibly nifty. There are times when things move effortlessly from top screen to bottom and it's extremely natural. I've spent the bulk of my playing time on the Urbz, and the touch screen is really well integrated into that port. I so can't wait for Animal Crossing on this machine.

I've also read through two and a half books in the past week and a half or so. The first was National Book Award for Nonfiction winner Arc of Justice, by Kevin Boyle. It's a captivating read about a trial that took place in Detroit back in the late 1920s. The ultimate results of the trial would have a lasting impact on the civil rights movement in the U.S., particularly with regards to the NAACP's efforts to create a fund that would allow them to finance the defense of African-Americans in cases that center on potential racial issues. I would give the book a solid A.

After finishing that book, I moved on to Ian McEwan's Enduring Love, which will be the subject of a Book vs. Movie column in the coming days. The book is seriously terrific - a rare A+, in fact. Sadly, the movie doesn't even come close to accomplishing what the book did. It feels like both screenwriter and director missed the point completely.

Now, I'm approaching being halfway through the 800-page Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. It's very entertaining, and frequently puts me in mind of the darker fairy tales that I read as a child. I've seen it described as "Harry Potter for adults", but have to agree with Stephen King that Harry Potter is Harry Potter for adults. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is something entirely different. Once I finish the book, I'll offer up more thoughts.

Linkage of the day:

Apparently, the world's oldest pornography will be up for sale later this month.

The Onion interviews James Ellroy. He's…something.

An Alabama lawmaker seeks to ban novels with gay characters from public libraries, including public libraries. I wonder if he's been watching the vile homophobic Mrs. Howell on The Real Gilligan's Island.

And via Neil Gaiman's blog, the same folks who previously brought you The Hunger Site are now offering The Literacy Site. Bookmark all of their worthy click for a cause sites and visit them every day.



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