If you want to check out the latest "Best of DNTO" podcast, go here. And I'm not just saying that because my segment on doocing appears in the last ten minutes or so. The whole darn show is pretty awesome, particularly the extended interview with Alexander McCall Smith, who is cultured and witty and has one of the most lovely speaking voices I've ever heard on a fellow human being.
Reviewing books! I knew there was something I was forgetting to do.
I'm a little behind on filing reports on the eight books I've read in the past month and a bit, and I'm probably not going to get through them all today, but I'm racing to get at least a few of them logged before I finish my ninth and tenth books (which I'm reading concurrently). Because being behind by eight books is a bit embarrassing, but being behind by ten? That's just plain discreditable.
Now, the bad news is that not only am I not good at following other people's good advice, I'm not even good at listening to myself when I quote the exact same advice. So my memories of some of these books are a bit spotty. But the good news is that I can remember enough to tell you if they're worth reading (in my always-humble-bordering-on-servile opinion). And the even better news is that many of them are worth reading.
Until I Find You
by John Irving (#32)
This isn't Irving's best work (that title goes to either The World According to Garp, The Hotel New Hampshire, or A Prayer for Owen Meany, depending on whom you ask), but it's not his worst, either. It's a somewhat messy, sprawling story, or more accurately two stories about the same set of events. Intrigued? Confused? I wish I could help you more, but I read this two months ago, so anything I could tell you would probably confuse you more.
If you've never read any of Irving's novels, I wouldn't start with this one. But if you have read Irving's best novels (see above) and have a hankering for more, it wouldn't kill you to read Until I Find You. I liked it, anyway.
Stories from the Vinyl Cafe
by Stuart McLean (#33)
Speaking of CBC Radio (have I mentioned that you can download my recent appearance, in podcast form, here? Are you sure I already mentioned it?), I've always had a soft spot for some of CBC's venerable radio personalities. Bill Richardson. The late Peter Gzowski. And now Stuart McLean.
DoppelSis turned me on to McLean when she pressed this collection of short stories on me a couple of months ago, and now I'm regretting that I didn't grab the sequel from her when I had the chance. These stories have a sort of incisive poignance that occasionally reminds me of Alice Munro, but they also possess a self-deprecating charm that Munro lacks.
by Roddy Doyle (#34)
Another winner from DoppelSis. I know that Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha is officially Doyle's great book, but between you and me, while I was technically dazzled by Paddy Clarke, it left me a bit cold emotionally. The Snapper, on the other hand, was warm and funny and clever as all get out. And yes, also charming. I'm a sucker for charm these days.
I was occasionally disturbed by the casual mentions of pregnant women getting shitfaced, but I kept chanting the mantra I use during these kinds of literary challenges: "Different context, different context, different context." It really helps. I may even start using this mantra in my real life.
All right, kiddies. It's late, and I'm tired. You're probably tired, too, so get to bed. I don't care if you're at work or school.
You heard me.