Wednesday, May 28, 2008

If Everyone Else Can Do It, Why Can't I?

I was happily immersed in So Long at the Fair, a galley by Christina Schwartz (Drowning Ruth) when these two tempting volumes arrived. Don't ask me to choose between Jimmy Buffett and David Sedaris. I was in a quandary. Should I finish the galley and send a quick review off to my regional bookseller association per their request? Maybe I could read just one short essay from the Sedaris book, hustle through Swine Not?, and get back to the other before I forgot the basic storyline. Then again, I could drop the galley, flip a coin on the other two. Maybe I could sell the Sedaris book before the June 3rd street date, thus eliminating that temptation. Nothing seemed right, so I simply decided to do what everyone else seems to do, read all three at once.

***********Even when confronted with chapter upon chapter of reading in college, I always finished one assignment before opening the next book. Just a habit that has stuck with me, but faced with the present situation, I thought it best to alter my methods. So, on Sunday, I strategically placed the three books, and planned the optimum reading time, and appropriate beverage to accompany each. When You're Engulfed in Flames obviously is a daytime book. Come on, you have to admit that the cover is creepy, and although I am totally devoted to David Sedaris, I wasn't sure where a book with cover art like this would take me. I settled in with a cup of muddy coffee, and began reading about the parasite in his mother-in-law's leg. That in itself was hysterical, but it got even funnier after that! My experience has been that David Sedaris is a love him or hate him writer. People who love him will howl at the parasite story, others will be repulsed. There is no chuckling when reading his essays. It is full out gut busting, coffee through the nostrils snorting page after page.

**********Jimmy Buffett is definitely a deck book, and my beverage of choice is definitely not coffee! He is one of my favorite storytellers. He tells wonderful little tales in much of his newer music, also. One of his recent songs chronicles an adventure with his daugher in which they find themselves "straddling the equator". Most of his stories are silly. I like that. They are palette cleansers. Nice, bright, clean little tastes of whimsy, perfect for a breezy Wisconsin afternoon.

***********So Long at the Fair was assigned to late night. Boy, was that a mistake. The plot moves between the past and the present; the characters align in slightly different social groupings in the two time periods, and there is a significant amount of character cross-pollinating (if you get my drift!) to confuse matters even more. I started taking notes...on a basic novel...not one of those complex Russian extravaganzas with hundreds of characters, just a basic, contemporary novel with a somewhat predictable plot (but not predicatbale enough to be made into a Lifetime movie)! David Sedaris' sister, Amy, and other family members crept into the mix making me giggle just a little despite the tragic nature of the current book's plot. My mind wandered to the snuffling, snorting main character from the Buffett book, as well. I can't do it. I just can't read more than one book at a time. I am seriously envious of all of you who can.

**********On Monday, I started and finished The Willoughbys, a playful tween novel by Lois Lowry (The Giver). Delightful! I am fan of the Lemony Snicket books, but this one out-runs them on many levels. The devious plot couples with zany characters who manage to be conniving and engaging at the same time. It felt good to read a book from cover to cover, and so, that is how I will proceed with the three other books. Schwartz. Sedaris. Buffett. In that order. Maybe.


Jacque checked in this week (see blog:Emily and Jacque). She will be leaving NYC where she has been doing AIDS research, and moving to D.C. to start law school and public health studies at George Washington University! I have said this before, but, she continues to amaze me!

Here it is! For those of you who have been concerned about why I don't have a picture of myself on the blog...well, there you go! What's up with that little split frame action at the bottom?