Eau de Library
It's perfume... that smells like... old books?
English Novel taken from a Signed First Edition of one of my very favorite novels, Russian & Moroccan leather bindings, worn cloth and a hint of wood polish.I'm holding out for Parfum du Chick Lit, with its sleek, leathery scent of overpriced shoes. Or Essence of Parenting Book, with its topnote of mingled new-baby smell and cornstarch powder, and a sly hint of used diaper.
[Link courtesy of Cap'n Ganch, who overrode my beleagured irony sensors with the assurance that this is, in fact, for real.]
You’ve Read the Novels (Now Read the Footnotes)
I still have an annotated edition of A Christmas Carol that was given to me when I was thirteen, so you know my fascination with extemporaneous detail goes way back. From an interesting article in The New York Times about the popularity of annotated novels:
A note can be a dangerous thing. Consider The Annotated Lolita, a steady seller ever since it was first published in 1970. Alfred Appel Jr., a worshipful Nabokovian, plods through the text, explaining what, in most cases, needs no explanation. Unwittingly he does an uncanny impression of Charles Kinbote, the mad annotator whose scholarly notes take over the narrative poem in Nabokov’s Pale Fire like a parasite consuming its host.[Thanks for the link, hd!]
The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books
Exactly what it sounds like. This book is a collection of lists of well-known authors' most loved books. Did your brain just implode? So did mine!
There's an editorial review on Amazon, but I prefer the one Karen wrote on her site:
Peder [Zane] contacted 125 of today's best-known and best-loved writers and asked them—or in some cases practically forced them, amid much wailing and gnashing of teeth, it seems—to come up with a list of their favorite ten books of all time. They're all here: Annie Proulx (favorite book: The Odyssey), Ann Patchett (Anna Karenina), Joyce Carol Oates (Crime and Punishment), Jonathan Franzen (The Brothers Karamazov), Jim Harrison (The Possessed), John Irving (Great Expectations), James Lee Burke (The Sound and the Fury), Lorrie Moore (Madame Bovary), Michael Cunningham (King Lear), Paul Auster (Don Quixote), and on and on and on. I feel as though I managed to wrangle an invitation to the coolest literary dinner party imaginable, and talk has turned to books.[Ups to Karen for the link!]
A Conversation at the Grownup Table, as Imagined at the Kids’ Table
When I was an undergrad, I had a professor who used to bring New Yorker cartoons into class and hold us hostage while he explained why they were so gut-bustingly funny. Is it a bad sign that I laughed out loud at this piece?
MOM: Pass the wine, please. I want to become crazy.
GRANDMOTHER: Did you see the politics? It made me angry.
DAD: Me, too. When it was over, I had sex.
UNCLE: I’m having sex right now.
DAD: We all are.
Women's Books Are Too Trivial
Someone's finally found the balls to say what the rest of us were thinking:
Women write too many dull and trivial novels about domesticity, according to Muriel Gray, the broadcaster and television executive.Good points. Personal memoirs are SO dull. Thank god men never write them. And everyone knows how boring it is being a woman. And being a MOTHER? Don't even get me started on those people. Nobody's ever going to win a Pulitzer writing that kind of fluff.
Ms Gray, who is in charge of choosing the most important novel by a woman this year for the 2007 Orange Prize, said too much was written about relationships and motherhood rather than sweeping epics addressing substantial issues."We found too many lazy writers who think that it's enough just to chronicle something going on in their lives. It is mildly depressing."
Besides, everyone knows that if you want a woman's memoir to be interesting, you have to get a man to write it.
Memo to Joan Didion and Jeannette Walls: Get off your lazy asses and write something "substantial."
LATE ADDITION: Girls Suspended Over 'Vagina Monologues'
A public high school has suspended three students who disobeyed officials by saying the word "vagina" during a reading from a well-known feminist play.The real question no one's asking in this controversy is what word the principal wanted them to use INSTEAD of "vagina." Birth canal? Maidenhead? Delicate flower of my womanhood? I need to know.
[Thanks to trophycase for the link.]