Friday, July 08, 2011

Summer Stack

Below is a list of books that were neatly stacked up on my mom's coffee table and on the bedside table in the guest bedroom awaiting my arrival.  Most are from her book-reading friends.  A couple are things I ordered when I was still in Korea and had sent to my US address.  One is actually the result of my total susceptiblity to the siren song of the local indie bookstore. Which books belong in which category?  Let's look closely:

Rhett Butler's People - Donald McCaig.  I really don't like the trend of novelists bouncing off of a beloved classic, but will admit that some attempts are better than others.  I also feel kind of oogy and unpleasant when the Margaret Mitchell Estate hand-picks authors they deem suitable to write the sequels to Gone with the Wind that will inevitably be written.  I suspect that not only do they hand-pick, they breathe all over the manuscript and squabble about content. Having said all of that, I'm willing to give Rhett Butler's People a try.  For all of his prominence in Gone with the Wind and his snappy repartee with Scarlett O'Hara, Rhett is a rather shadowy and interesting character, deserving of a novel of his own. As the years have passed since my first reading, Rhett reminds me more and more of an antebellum Sam Spade.  No, he wasn't a private detective, but he could have been.  The Pinkertons would've snapped him up in a second.   I'm looking at the title page of Rhett Butler's People.  I'm slightly sweating and practically praying that McCaig didn't...mess Rhett up.  (Mom's Reading Friends category)

Sorry to be So Cheerful - Hildegarde Dolson.  A 1955 collection of witty essays and sketches that were first published in places like The Village Voice and The New Yorker.  I read this book years ago and remember it being even funnier than We Shook the Family Tree.  Did my memory play a trick on me?  I'll know in a few weeks.  I'm so delighted to have this book that I'm saving it up like a piece of candy. (Frenzied Overseas Ordering category)

Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese.  I received this book from a favorite blogger last year, but can't exactly remember who.  I'm almost sure it was Softdrink from Fizzy Thoughts.  So many good things have been written about this book that I'm a little scared of all the hype, but I'm going to go ahead and read it so I won't have to scan other bloggers' reviews anymore. (Frenzied Overseas Ordering category -- Softdrink had a drawing and I entered and won)

The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch.  I really don't want to read this.  Having read the first few pages, I know that Pausch is dying from cancer.  He and his wife were having some creepy discussions -- almost arguments -- in which he wants to go out in a blaze of glory with one last kick-ass lecture about the meaning of life and she's petulantly reminding him that if he does this lecture, he'd miss her birthday, which would be the last they'd celebrate together.  I'm proceeding with trepidation, but it's short, so I can muscle through.  If I had my druthers, I'd rather read How Shall I Tell the Dog? by Miles Kington, which is a memoir that deals with the author's iminent demise. (Mom's Reading Friends category)

The Wilder Life - Wendy McClure.  Everytime I come to America, my Little House on the Prairie mania (which is mostly book, with strong accents of TV)  kicks smartly into overdrive.  I loves me some Laura.  What's keeping me from pointing my mom's car towards Mansfield, Missouri right this very minute?  Not to mention that I'm still mourning that I missed Allison Arngrim's book signing at the Great Mall of America last summer.  Maybe this summer will be when I finally get to see the only episode of Little House on the Prairie that I've never seen -- the one where Laura gives birth to baby Rose.  Wendy McClure lets that "calico sunbonnet freak flag fly" for all of us nerdy bonnetheads. This book would not let me leave the bookstore without it, I swear, although Ma Ingalls would not approve of either my use of oaths or my spendthrift ways.  As a bonus, the book was mistakenly swathed in not one, but two dustjackets, so I guess it's ready for a long winter.  (Siren Song category)

10 comments:

softdrink said...

Yes, it was me, so you will read it, and you will like it. (kidding...maybe.) :-D

Ken & Carol said...

I know it will sound a little negative to you but Alan Jacobs' The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction should be very useful to you in your everyday activities. (I would put it in the category of Essays by Knowledgable Readers, which can be very good.

reviewsbylola said...

I loved Cutting for Stone. The Last Lecture, not so much. And Rhett Butler's People . . . Admittedly, it has been a few years since I read it, but I was not wowed. It is proof that you just shouldn't mess with a classic.

Silsbee said...

The Little House world makes me so happy, book and tv adaptation both. Wasn't Alison Arngrim a hoot on that show? Nellie and Percival are one of my favorite (unlikely!) couples ever. I must add this book to my TBR list. ;)

Melissa said...

I loved The Last Lecture. LOVED. IT. I have it in our guest room, even, in case there are people who haven't read it and need a quick (albeit tearjerker) kind of read. (Maybe not the most appropriate book but I think everyone should read it.) Hope you like it just as much!

Kathleen said...

Enjoy your stack. I've heard a lot of great things about Cutting for Stone too but just haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I look forward to hearing what you think about it!

Unruly Reader said...

I love book round-ups. It sounds like you've got a nice little variety going on there.

Sly Halsningar said...

I used to hate Randy Poursh. I thought he was too arrogant in his writing. But now i'm starting to like his work..

Carrie#K said...

I stay away from all novels based on a classic that is not written by the original author. There are a few that I probably couldn't read the original author's continuation of the saga either.

I've heard a lot about The Last Lecture but it never really snagged me. I hate being lectured to and I'm way too susceptible to sobbing in public.

So which one will you read first?

Susan said...

Me too for the Little House in the Prairie book! I keep thinking I should pick up The Last Lecture, so now I will wait for your review first :-)