Where did my week go? Ok it went into playing Lego Star Wars and catching up on old CSI eps. I did some reading, and returned four books (one of which was a fabulous cookbook). So despite holding four books hostage at home already, I untied my leash and leapt into the library, leaving with five books.
Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever
I think I might have read some of his short stories before, I don't remember. But with Cheever in book news everywhere (there's a new biography out), I figure it's time I ought to read something by him.
"The Wapshot Chronicle is the telling of the history and circumstances of the eclectic Wapshot family. The small, perhaps antiquated, New England river town of St. Botolphs is the home of the Waphot family: Honora, born on Oahu of missionary parents but raised by her paternal Uncle Lorenzo; Leander, an aging and gentle ferryboat operator and would-be suicide; his wife Sarah (Coverly) Wapshot, mother of Moses, the errant and mischievous elder brother to Coverly, the adoring and somewhat lambent brother. The Wapshot Chronicle is an exploration of the clash between pious and bourgeois respectability, the slippery mores of a new and vigorously changing America and the inner drives of hearty, small-town New England stock."Maps and Legends by Michael Chabon
(It's on sale for just $5 at the McSweeney's online store)
Michael Chabon's sparkling first book of nonfiction is a love song in 16 parts — a series of linked essays in praise of reading and writing, with subjects running from ghost stories to comic books, Sherlock Holmes to Cormac McCarthy.Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood
First published in the 1930s, The Berlin Stories contains two astonishing related novels, The Last of Mr. Norris and Goodbye to Berlin, which are recognized today as classics of modern fiction.The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2008
- edited by Dave Eggers
I sat and read the interview with Judy Blume at the library, before deciding to take the book home with me - I found it rather affecting that she related how reading a book by William Wharton while writing her novel made her insecure, making her think 'What am I doing? I can't write this well. I'll never be able to write this well. I might as well quit now'.
Slash by Slash with Anthony Bozza
I've been on an 80s rock kick lately and have been listening to a lot of Guns N Roses. So I couldn't help but be thrilled to see the Slash autobiography hidden in a dark corner, as if its cover might scare the rest of the books. I remember reading on The Millions that this book was favourited by some writers. Here's what Charles D'Ambrosio said about it:
"Continuing along the line of problem selves, I just read Slash's memoir, which, according the cover, "redefines sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll." Memoir is a fairly hifalutin word for the stupefying heroin binge recounted in the book, which doesn't so much redefine sexdrugsrocknroll as attempt to push the limits of it in a world already without limits. The drug stuff gets old - there's only so wasted you can get, so that element turns repetitious - but when he's talking about playing guitar or writing songs or being in a band the whole thing comes to life. It's like suddenly this immoral, pathological, cruel, cold, blind, very limited, supremely indifferent person is replaced by a really intelligent, sensitive, ambitious, subtle, singularly focused, deeply soulful guy with gravitas and integrity. Clearly people achieve things partly because they have a greatness in them but part of that greatness owes something to their severe limitations. Slash cared only about his band. It was a replacement universe. And inside that universe, he was a human being. Outside - a fucking animal!"The Millions compares Slash's and Axl's memoirs:
"Slash's honesty and openness endear him to us - the book literally begins with a bang, with an account of his defibrillator implant going off mid-show - whereas the reports of Axl's anger and manipulation in W.A.R. make it far easier to identify with the former band members he forced out."Can't wait to read it.