Book Boxes stack so nicely
which is why, obviously, I insist on buying more books mere months before an international (though not transatlantic) move. Being on the interviewer side of the table at the MLA (as opposed to on the dreaded, yet hoped for, intervieweeeeee side) gave me the time and energy to visit the book fair twice and OH MY GOODNESS WHY DID NOBODY TELL ME?
Well, maybe they did and I just didn’t listen, or had kids to tote around, or cocktails to drink with friends, or whatever. There are publishers and publishers’ reps there who will discuss the parameters of their series in terms of publishing your book. (A new series on childlit is coming out from Continuum; Ashgate has a series; Camden House will still look at my proposal, even though it is three years late!) There are in-the-wild sightings of volumes in which you have a part, and pics in catalogs of upcoming volumes in which you have a part. And wine. Wine and ego stroking = very good things.
Equally good, and far more instantaneously gratifying, however, are the CHEAP BOOKS. Random House, Knopf, Norton: all there and all selling their paperbacks for $5 or 50% off or something insane like that. So, without further ado, I will introduce you to the items I purchased and had to cram into my carry-on luggage.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
As with the Harry Potter phenomenon, I am a bit late to this party, but for $5 each, couldn’t resist. I read most of the first one on the plane on the way home. The first few sections were stylistically uneven–as if Larsson couldn’t commit to the hard-boiled genre’s language conventions. Then the story picked up steam and the language smoothed out and I was quite taken. It ended up being rather violent and I think I’ve made the decision to remove the movie from my Netflix queue. Not sure I want to populate those scenes from the book with actual live images.
The Girl who Played with Fire starts out with a very violent (and misogynistic, natch) scene and I think I might have to put it down for a while. This reader can see the train wreck coming and isn’t sure she’s in the mood to watch. I will hand it to Larsson, though, for writing damn fine page turners.
36 Argument for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction by Rebecca Goldstein
I read a recommendation for this somewhere, perhaps on the IndieBound app, and grabbed it when I spied it on the shelves at the MLA. The central figure is a college professor and atheist, so we’ll see if I can identify with anything in the narrative . . .
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Translated from the French, and upstairs/downstairs apartment building story. I don’t read much (ahem, any) French literature, and decided to let a recommendation from IndieBound persuade me to add it to my list.
Huckelberry Finn by Mark Twain
A lovely new edition, intended for the girls. I believe it is unabridged/un-tampered-with and will be disappointed if I am incorrect. I’ve actually never read the whole thing, so will likely read it to the kids out loud. Watch Mama do the Southern Accent Thing!
So, that was my MLA haul. I have also picked up a few other titles recently. I’ll tell you about those as I get to them!