Friday, August 25, 2006

Who is Edward R. Hamilton?

This post is not, strictly speaking, about a book, yet it is hemisemidemi-qualified for TeaReads. There is a book catalogue - - yes, the old-fashioned, mail-order kind - - to which I've subscribed for several years. It is a collection of recent publications (within the past couple of years), older books and things you never heard, plus a few items you'll wish you never heard of. There is also an adults-only section.
This catalogue has a Website:
I do not use the Website because there is a (small) surcharge, and because I am so fond of mail-order purchases, but it does offer a larger selection than does the paper catalogue.
After beginning a new job this week, I sent a small order to Edward R. Hamilton. I find it takes about two weeks from the day I pop my order into the mail until the day I lug the new books off my doorstep and into my house. The shipping charge is always $3.50, a steal for large and/or heavy orders. Most of the prices are discounted, and the books' conditions are noted, as some may be shopworn.There is quite a variety available from ERH. Over the years, I have purchased the biography of John Adams, two compendia of Charles Addams cartoons, a cookbook, an illustrated guide to physical therapy exercises, a murder mystery and a book on quilting, among others. There are coffee table books, including one I covet (a book on the art of Klimt), weird and bizarre books, children's books, videotapes, DVDs, cassette tapes and more. Even if you purchase nothing, you'll enjoy browsing.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Goodbye, Summer Reading Challenge

I tried. I didn't fail completely. I read more books, more closely, than I would have otherwise. Thank you, Amanda - it was a great idea!

Next time, I shall challenge myself to a number of books, or a ratio of fiction to nonfiction, or discovering a new poet every month. I should have known myself better than to select specific titles months in advance. It was way too much like following a syllabus. By the time I finished my B.A. in English literature, way back in 1975, I had developed a lifelong allergy to Required Reading - even if the Requiring was self-inflicted!

The list of books also deprived me of this bookish soul's joy in discovering a book and plunging right in.

So, here's my list. I finished the ones in bold type:

Ackerman, Diane. An alchemy of mind.
Armstrong, Karen. A short history of myth.
Armstrong, Karen. The spiral staircase.

Briggs, Julia. Virginia Woolf, an inner life.
Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights.
Byatt, A.S. The biographer's tale
Clarke, Gerald. Capote: a biography.
Jewett, Sarah Orne. The country of the pointed firs.
Klinkenborg, Verlyn. Timothy, or, notes of an abject reptile.
Macmillan, Margaret. Women of the Raj.
Maddox, Brenda. Yeats's ghosts: the secret life ot W.B. Yeats.
Meade, Marion. Bobbed hair and bathbub gin.
Nabokov, Vladimir. Lolita.
Prose, Francine. A changed man.
See, Lisa. Snow flower and the secret fan.
Tan, Amy. Saving fish from drowning.

I did start Yeats's Ghosts, but decided to apply Nancy Pearl's rule about reading 50 pages of a book and asking oneself, are you enjoying it? I was not enjoying it at all.

I chose the book because I love Yeats, and because the book promised a deep examination of the role of the subconscious and archetypes in his creative process. It may do so, but I find the book so tedious and plotting that I am bored. That is so rare, especially in a biography! Alas...

I discovered a few more bookish blogs and added them to the sidebar. I'd love discover more! Any suggestions?

Monday, August 07, 2006

An article from The Chicago Tribune: Nyala Press

I came across this article in The Chicago Tribune:
Ethiopian Publisher is Looking for Simple, Noble, Human Stories

This link will take you to a fascinating story about Ethiopian
publisher,Fassil Yirgu. The Nyala Press publishes immigrants'
writings about their journeys to and in America. Perhaps this is
of especial interest to me because I am a first-generation
American on one side of my family,and a second-generation
American on the other side.So many families have stories
about coming to America!

Follow this link to Nyala Publishing, to learn how to order a
book that is on my personal reading list, The Texture of
. It is a work of fiction by immigrant author, Fasil
Yitbarek, telling the story of anEthiopian man who moved to
New York City.

Sometimes the way to see your own home is through the
eyes of a newcomer,and this book will provide that perspective.

There are other selections from African authors on the Nyala
site.I believe they are worth a look, based on an experience I
had several years ago. My local public library offered
screenings of movies made in countries all over Africa.
Almost all of them were exceedingly good, surpassing much
of the popular fare in American cinema. They were fresh and
new, rich in detail, they had stories to tell, and the imagery
was gorgeous. Every single movie left me thinking about it
for a long time. I think all of that probably finds its way into
the books such as The Texture of Dreams.
--- SilverMoonRani --

Friday, August 04, 2006

Would you like to peek...

at my summer reading list? It's not a list, really, but a stack of books in the living room, plus one or two which I plan to buy in a more prosperous time.
My summer reading began with Blue Monday, by Rick Coleman (see post, "Of Domino and rock 'n' roll"). Having had a glimpse into the rich gumbo that is the blues and early rock and roll whetted my appetite. Perhaps my appetite can be slaked by my future purchase, The Language of the Blues: from Alcorub to Zuzu, by Debra DeSalvo. So many words and phrases, common and uncommon, originated in one place or another, were then picked up by blues artists and continue today, though frequently not with their original meanings. This book is a blues dictionary, backed up by painstaking research. I'm in love with dictionaries anyway, and this one will make a fine addition to my collection.
My current read is from the true-crime bookshelf. Eye of the Beholder, by Lowell Cauffiel, details the gunshot murder of Michigan television news personality, Diane Newton King. Clues are sparse; there seems to be no motive. Ms. Newton King left a husband and two babies. Are their lives also endangered by her killer? Did the police manage to stitch together what happened from the patches of evidence they collected, or did this remain a mystery? Well, you'll just have to read for yourself and learn. caveat: Mr. Cauffiel needed a crack editor, but didn't get one.
Next in my book stack is another self-improvement guide. You see, I'm hopelessly reclusive and socially backward. But perhaps reading the critically-praised The Art of Civilized Conversation will give me a modicum of sophistication on the rare occasions I do venture Out Among People. If so, I can thank the author, Margaret Shepherd (with Sharon Hogan). Ms. Shepherd also wrote The Art of the Handwritten Note, in case you, dear reader, wish to polish your epistolary skills.
Attempting to educate myself is an ongoing process, as the book above shows. The next two books in my stack are also self-improvement tomes. The first is The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had, by Susan Wise Bauer. The second is an older book that was rereleased recently, The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric, by Sister Miriam Joseph, CSC; PhD. Can I play Pygmalian to my own Galatea? Maybe. I'll let you know how educated and sophisticated I become, dear reader.
A friend recommended the last book in my stack, The Seven Levels of Intimacy, by Matthew Kelly. The book's subtitle is The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved. The dust jacket notes say this book is "a brilliant and practical guide to creating and sustaining intimacy," and go on to say that this intimacy can be between romantic partners, parents and children, or in other love relationships. I missed seeing the author speak several months ago, but my friend's recommendation intrigued me enough that I bought the book.
There may be other books in my stack, but these are enough for now. Now if you'll excuse me, I want to go read...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Very Selective Book Meme

Very Selective Book Meme

(stolen from
The Library Ladder: Orange Blossom Goddess a/k/a Heather)

1. One book that changed your life:
Jane Eyre. I read it when I was about 10, for the first time - I remember that I bought a used, hardback copy in the old Barnes & Noble, downtown, Fifth Avenue. My parents had taken me there as a treat, so you know what manner of child I was. (The child is mother to the woman, eh?) I still have that copy, and I can open to any page and read with pleasure.

2. One book that you've read more than once:
Everyone seems to be saying Little Women, and that would be one of mine, too - but I'll say Mrs. Dalloway, which I practically have memorized.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:
Savage Beauty (biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay) -Nancy Mitford. (The meme doesn't say the ONLY book...)

4. One book that made you laugh:
I'm reading Lolita right now, and it's drop-dead funny, despite (because of?) the sheer monstrousness of Humbert Humbert, and the utterly awful object of his desire. Nabokov's language is outrageously funny and beautiful, and now I know why Amy Tan reads this book yearly, just to plunge into the language.

5. One book that made you cry:
Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This?, by Marion Meade. Something about Dorothy Parker touches my heart, and Meade illuminates this sad, frustrated life. Another woman whose biographies make me cry: Zelda Fitzgerald.

6. One book you wish you had written:
The Time Traveller's Wife.

7. One book you wish had never been written:
Heather said, "I can’t say there are any books I wish hadn’t been written…just books I wish I hadn’t read." Ditto.

8. One book you're currently reading:
Yeats's Ghosts - Brenda Maddox.

9. One book you've been meaning to read:
A Changed Man - Francine Prose. It's on my Summer Reading Challenge list, and I'm going to read it before September begins. I am. I am!

Anyone who is reading this may consider herself tagged.