Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Reading

Summer is the reading season for me. It's never, ever been Winter. Finding the hot weather more oppressive is part of it; there's little to be done about humidity and thunderstorms. Much better to just hide inside instead! And the light! You have the light until very late. I can read without turning on a lamp past eight.

This preference was also formed by the happy ritual of visiting the library every other day once school was out. I'd check out teetering piles of books every week, as many as I could carry. Reading is just my memory of the season.

And the way I honor this as an adult is to choose a single serious novel to read every summer. Something to counteract the frothy frippery. Les Miserables, Crime and Punishment, Lolita, Frankenstein, all summer books for me. This year? Our Mutual Friend. In honor of Lost, in honor of The Unwritten. What will you be reading?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Book Expo 2011

I was only able to visit BEA early Tuesday, for a fleeting couple of hours before work. I basically ran through the Javits Center. And one of the things I was devastated to miss (after every single party) was the Author Breakfast with Mindy Kaling. Mindy Kaling! Luckily, Book Expo is in a sharing mood and posted video of her appearance:

Look for Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) in November.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Amazon Publishing House

This MOBYLIVES post has sent me article-hopping, reading up on Kirshbaum and Amazon. What do you think? Putting aside the state of publishing, the questionable legal/moral aspects of Amazon's efforts has me wondering if they aren't just following the Wal-Mart model? Let's talk monopolies, in the comments.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Erl-King

"The trees stir with a noise like taffeta skirts of women who have lost themselves in the woods and hunt round hopelessly for the way out. Tumbling crows play tig in the branches of the elms they clotted with their nests, now and then raucously cawing. A little stream with soft margins of marsh runs through the wood but it has grown sullen with the time of the year; the silent, blackish water thickens, now, to ice. All will fall still, all lapse."

Friday, May 13, 2011

Colette on Cats

"She's the most intelligent cat in the world and she loves me disinterestedly in spite of the miseries I inflict on her, biting her in her pink ears and making her go through the most complicated training.

She loves me so much that she understands what I say and comes and rubs against my mouth when she hears the sound of my voice. She also loves books like an old scholar, this Fanchette, and worries me every night after dinner to remove two or three volumes of Papa's big Larousse from their shelf. The space they leave makes a kind of little square room in which Fanchette settles down and washes herself; I shut the glass door on her and her imprisoned purr vibrates with a noise like an incessant, muffled drum. From time to time, I look at her; then she makes me a sign with her eyebrows which she raises like a human being. Lovely Fanchette, how intelligent and understanding you are!...You amused me from the moment you came into the world; you'd only got one eye open when you were already attempting warlike steps in your basket, though you were still incapable of standing up on your four matchsticks. Ever since, you've lived joyously, making me laugh with your belly-dances in honour of cockchafers and butterflies, your clumsy calls to the birds you're stalking, your way of quarreling with me and giving me sharp taps that re-echo on my hands. Your behaviour is quite disgraceful; two or three times a year I catch you on the garden walls, wearing a crazy, ridiculous expression, with a swarm of tom-cats round you. I even know your favourite, you perverse Fanchette - he's a dirty-grey Tom, long and lean, with half his fur gone. He's got ears like a rabbit's and coarse, plebeian limbs. How can you make a m├ęsalliance with this low-born animal, and make it so often? But, even at those demented seasons, as soon as you catch sight of me, your natural face returns for a moment, and you give me a friendly mew which says something like: "You see what I'm up to. Don't despise me too much, nature has her urgent demands. But I'll soon come home again and I'll lick myself for ages to purify myself of this dissolute life." O, beautiful Fanchette, your bad behaviour is so remarkably becoming to you!"
- The Complete Claudine

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

20th Anniversary Edition of Vampire: The Masquerade

If you don't already know, the Brooklyn outpost of Shakespeare & Co. is a store of gamers, filled with love for games and game culture. We love Dungeons & Dragons, we love Gamma World, we love Vampire. And guess what's available for direct pre-order? Only the ultra, super, mega deluxe edition of Vampire: The Masquerade. Right? I know! What will it include? Let's take a look:

• All thirteen original clans, clan variants and bloodlines, with their signature Disciplines
• Rules for character creation and advancement from Neonate to Methuselah
• All the Disciplines from level one through nine
• Updated setting to the modern nights
• New full color original art by Tim Bradstreet & other classic “Masquerade” artists
• An “open community play test” development process

Find out more here. And to flesh out your Introduction to Vampire Studies, consider following up with a purchase of the gorgeous Penguin Hardcover Classics edition of Dracula.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Book Pairings

When it comes to gifting stories, it's the insides that matter most. Still, it would be dishonest to pretend not to care how a stack can look, tied together with ribbon. Presentation counts, in varying amounts. Also, these are fun to make!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Brooklyn On My Mind

Photo: Pieter M. Van Hattem/Vistalux
Brooklyn On My Mind:
Writing Fiction and Non-Fiction
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Woody Tanger Auditorium, Brooklyn College

To do this week: Leonard Lopate of WNYC Radio will talk with Jennifer Egan (Look at Me, The Keep, A Visit from the Goon Squad), Darin Strauss (Chang and Eng, The Real McCoy, Half a Life), and Phillip Lopate (Against Joie de Vivre: Personal Essays, Waterfront, Art of the Personal Essay) about writing both fiction and non-fiction. Egan won this year’s National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction for A Visit from the Goon Squad as well as the Pulitzer; Strauss won this year’s National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography for Autobiography with Half a Life.