Monday, July 21, 2008

The All-Purpose Reading Update

Hey, look at me. I blog. Sometimes. Er...rarely. I didn't feel very talkative last week. Well, I don't even feel very talkative this week. As a matter of fact, I spend most of my time these days feeling just stressed. Changes are happening at work and, while I'm not especially afraid of losing my job, I am afraid of getting forced into a shift that will make me want to quit it. Tomorrow is the day when the changes are supposedly going to be announced, and lacking any sort of seniority whatsoever, I've been feeling like I'm about to get shackled with an especially rotten shift (can you say 4 to midnight? Ew!) and no other available option. Hopefully I'm just overreacting and nothing so rotten will happen, but either way some big changes are about to happen and I fear that even if I end up with a decent shift, I won't work at the same time as half the people that I really like to work with which was the only reason that I took this job so far afield from my knowledge and experience in the first place. At least, hopefully, tomorrow's meeting will put to an end on the wild speculating that has been flying about in the absence of any concrete information. I'm just afraid most of us aren't going to like the concrete information and, in any case, the changes won't have much of an affect in achieving their aim of getting the work done faster, as a matter of fact, it's more likely that the opposite will happen which makes it that much more frustrating.

All right, job whining aside, there have been some interesting book developments. I got my Elle Reader's Prize jury books for the grand prize. That's all 5 of the best ones from each of the months they do it, and since I had the good fortune (or maybe the word I'm looking for is foolish? Or could it be "mixed blessing"?) to land on a fiction and a non-fiction jury, I get not just five books but uh....ten books to read. They're brand new sparkly hardcovers, and they look just delightful. The only drawback being, of course, that I'm supposed to have all ten read by mid-September, and let me just say that the final fiction one, despite looking to be a very good read, is way more of chunkster than I would have expected. Hmmm, maybe I should just quit my job and read - that would save me a lot of strife all around except for the whole not getting a paycheck thing.

So, I jumped in with both feet, using the time-honored "pick a number between one and ten" to choose the first to be read. Augusten Burroughs' memoir, A Wolf At the Table about his twisted, unloving father came out on top. If, after Running With Scissors you weren't convinced that this poor guy's childhood was ridiculously twisted and crappy, this chronicle of the time before the being the kind of adopted child of a nutty shrink should certainly convinced you. As I was reading it, I was sure I wouldn't have the severely ambiguous feelings about it that I've been having about most books, but alas, I do. So I'm letting it marinate for a while in an effort to discern whether or not I actually thought it was any good.

I just dug into the second one, Tom Perotta's The Abstinence Teacher, which was chosen by Somer's husband's creation, the TBR randomizer, a very handy tool for the indecisive. It sounds like it's got a very interesting premise, but I've heard a lot of mixed reviews.

I'm also reading Judith Matloff's Home Girl, a memoir of the author's rehabbing of a decrepit house in West Harlem before it was "cool" to move to that part of Harlem. Turns out it wasn't cool because the street she moves to is like cocaine Wall Street with Dominican drug dealers out in force all day and all night fueling the east coast drug trade, not to mention that frightening addict squatting in the house next door. It's a little bit strange and sometimes funny watching her and her husband embrace the many sides of their crime-ridden neighborhood. I should be finished with it in the next few days, so that review is forthcoming as well.

When the mood strikes I'm trying to hobble through Franklin and Lucy by Joseph E. Persico a book about FDR and all the women in his life and the effect they all had on each other. FDR is one of the most interesting presidents, in my opinion, and I care about this book, but it also sort of reminds me of something that I would have been forced to read in one of my college history courses which kind of puts me off every time I go to pick it up. It's definitely serious non-fiction, the kind that really takes an attention span and lots of time to read. And if there's two things I'm short of lately, they are...well...time and an attention span, which is making this a bit of a challenge.

So, that's the week in reading - turns out I was feeling more talkative than I thought. I never can tell until I sit down to actually write anyway. So...what's on your reading agenda for this week?


  1. This was fun to read, and I hope your job doesn't screw you over! ;) You know, you should just pack it in and go to grad school like me, lol. j/k

    Let's reading week is looking pretty good! I'm in the middle of several entertaining books. And I have a feeling I'll be jumping into The Enchantress of Florence soon. And I desperately need to finish the huge collection of Flannery O'Conoor's letters that's been sitting on my nightstand forever. It makes me tired just looking at it now!

  2. Make sure you post an update when you decide what you thought about A Wolf At The Table... I'm on the fence about getting it and reading it already and waiting for it to come up on my PBS wishlist.

  3. I've had my eye on The Abstinence Teacher so I'll be looking forward to your review!


  4. Hmmm, I'm interested in FDR too, but I also have severe deficiencies in the time & attention span depts. Maybe I'll put that one on the back burner. I'll be interested to hear more about the Burroughs. I had mixed feelings about Running with Scissors too.

  5. I hope everything worked out in your favor at work!

    I always get a smile when I see the randomizer linked in people's posts. I just love that little tool! :-)

  6. I hope things work out at your job. The not knowing can be the worst part. Once you know, you can kind of settle your mind around it, even if it's not the best situation.

    I keep telling my husband I want to quit my job and read for a living. If only it paid . . .

  7. I would like to hear what your take on Abstinence Teacher, since I enjoyed The Little Children.