browsing at the library

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005
This afternoon I went to the library to drop off some books and CDs pick up the one item I had on hold (A Mighty Wind). I left with A Mighty Wind, and eight other books (only one comic book!), all picked up while browsing. Why do I do this? I am never going to get them all read on top of what I already have in the to be read pile. Oh well. That's what I love about the library - I can over-shop and suffer no more than a sore arm carrying them home. And potential library fines. Here's what I got. Maybe when three weeks are up I can look back and see what I actually read.

A Time of Angels - Patricia Schonstein - Why did I pick it up? I think it was face out and had a catchy cover. I don't really feel any shame at that, since it's how I shop for books I buy sometimes too. But a catchy cover alone is not enough! The dust jacket had a blurb by Joanne Harris (who wrote Chocolat, which I have also never read) that said "A marvelous novel, written with style, gusto and immense charm. PS manages to capture the colors, sounds, scents, tastes and soul of Italy in this delightfully dark and witty fairy tale, peopled with lovers, Madonnas, angels, demons, epicurians, and ladies of the night." It was probably the words charm, colors, sounds, Italy, dark, witty, and fairy tale that caught my attention (in addition to the cover). We shall see. I paged through it at the library and there was a large section on clocks with eyes that move, so who knows?

Teen Idol - Meg Cabot. Meg Cabot writes about four hundred bajillion different series - including the Princess Diaries. This one is not from the Princess Diaries series (of which I have only read one - I'll get to them all eventually). It looks like it is a one-off about a girl writing an advice column in high school. Meg Cabot has a light touch and a great comic voice. I enjoy her books quite a bit, despite being well past the intended demographic. She also writes as Meggin Cabot, Jenny Carrol (the two series written under this name are really good - 1-800-Where-R-you, and The Mediator), and some other name I can't remember. Patricia Cabot, maybe? Now that the Princess Diaries have really taken off, I think they are re-publishing everything as "Meg Cabot writing as Jenny Carroll" or whatever the appropriate pseudonym would be. I also checked this out because I know my sister will want to read it.

Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career - Herminia Ibarra. Blah blah blah, more job stuff. I doubt it addresses how to go from severe slacking to fulfilling employment, but I keep checking them out anyway. As if he could read my mind, back-jacket blurb-writer Randy Komisar promises that "Working Identity affords us the courage of common sense." And someone else said, "The book's message of hope and possibility -- that it is possible to reinvent careers and lives -- should be embraced by everyone thinking of transitions in today's turbulent world." Maybe it will be good! Maybe it will be terrible, in which case it is no big deal since I checked it out for free from the library.

Amelia Peabody's Egypt: A Compendium - edited by Elizabeth Peters and Kristen Whitbread. I love Elizabeth Peters and have for a long time. Particularly for her Vicky Bliss series (art historian who has wacky mad-cap adventures in Europe), and her one-off mystery novels. I like Amelia Peabody too - the first one was hilarious and informative. BUT, I kind of resent Amelia; because she has become so popular, Peters' editors want her to write nothing else. And Peters is getting pretty old. Why did I get this, then? First, I was happy to see a familiar name in an unexpected spot (in the back with the poetry and essays. I think Mr. Dewey Decimal was high, but that's another topic). Secondly, I know that I will read all of the Peabody's eventually, plus Peters (under her real name - Barbara Mertz) has written several history books on ancient Egypt and knows her stuff. The history of Victorian women archaeologists is interesting.

What She Saw - Lucinda Rosenfeld. Another one I picked up because I liked the dust jacket. Actually, I liked the dust jacket for the OTHER one by Lucinda Rosenfeld that I also picked up. But it was number 2 in a series, and this is number one. Here's what ubiquitous book-jacket guy says "Check your romantic illusions at the door -- Lucinda Rosenfeld's acerbically funny and remarkably assured debut novel catalogs the myriad humiliations, compromises, and misconceptions that add up to the history of one woman's 'love life.' This is a book that will make you laugh and wince in solidarity with its sexy, beleaguered heroine."
We'll see if I laugh and wince. Lucinda Rosenfeld is six months younger than I am and has two novels under her belt. Go, Lucinda! (I went to grade school with a girl named Lucinda and I thought it was one of the best names ever, although grade school Lucinda was kind of a spoiled brat. I'm sure she's outgrown it by now.)

Why She Went Home - Lucinda Rosenfeld - this is the one that drew me in because of the dust jacket. Some librarian must have thought it was catchy too, because they had it set jacket out. This is a moddish silhouette (in sky blue) of a girl (boots, mini jacket dress - I'm not making the mod stuff up) against a map. This is the second in the series after the one above, and in this novel the protagonist from the first (one Phoebe Fine) leaves Manhattan and moves to her hometown in New Jersey. Best book jacket blurb on this one says, "Lucinda Rosenfeld writes about all the things everyone thinks about his or her family but is too polite or timid to say. In a voice that is bitingly funny, exacting, and full of astute asides, Rosenfeld considers the question of how much a person's beginning's actually matter in the end." hmmm. We'll see about that! It's like these blurbs are personal challenges! Actually, we'll see if I get around to reading either one of them. But they have potential.

Bet Me - Jennifer Crusie - this is Crusie's latest, and I already read it once from the library when it first came out. It's a quick, enjoyable read and I don't have the paperback yet, and it was just sitting there taunting me from the shelf behind the check out desk. Taunting me, I tell you! Plus, I knew my sister would want to read it again too, and I'm thoughtful like that. Crusie writes very funny contemporary romances - but they're not just funny - she has great character voice too. Even minor characters are done better than some authors manage with their main characters. Fantastic bathtub/beach/airplane/couch/bus/wherever reading.

Modesty Blaise: The Gabriel Set-Up Peter O'Donnel. this is the comic book I was talking about. Except this isn't strictly speaking a comic like I was talking about the other day - it is a collection of comic strip panels that appeared in the Evening Standard. Modesty Blaise is an ass-kicking name-taking super-spy who has been kicking asses, etc. since the early sixties. I was only familiar with her through the Modesty Blaise novels, and had no idea there was a comic strip. I expect I *will* manage to get this one read and will see if she's all that. I suspect she is. Here's a blurb from Neil Gaiman on the back " I fell in love with Peter O'Donnell's astonishing heroine, Modesty Blaise, when I was twelve. She was the smartest, wisest, most beautiful and most dangerous woman I had ever encountered."

Wheee! Now to hurry up and finish reading What's The Matter With Kansas because it is due tomorrow. It's really good.
2 comments on "browsing at the library"
  1. Have you watched A Mighty Wind yet? I looooove that movie! I find myself actually getting all those schlocky folk songs stuck in my head...and liking them!

  2. No! We haven't watched it yet. I saw it way back when it was in the theater, but Mom hasn't seen it yet. I am sure she will love it. hee hee. You should get the soundtrack, then you could sing along any time you like!


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