Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool's Day Mystery

Day 51 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project.

Is this an April Fool's Day joke? Amazon has sent me an email asking if I am looking for mysteries and thrillers. That part I understand. A lot of you are reading mysteries and thrillers, so I search for them at Amazon to provide a handy link, and Amazon thinks I read them. (Huge issues of privacy, marketing, and cultural values shall be set aside for the moment.)

But why does Amazon classify The English Major by Jim Harrison as a mystery/thriller? Is it because it has a stalker in it? Or the word "stalker" in the plot summary? Anyhoo.... Dave, one of the SOBs who is reading The English Major for his book group (they call themselves the SOBs--I wouldn't ever call him one!) is also reading 2 other books by Jim Harrison, the ones we had handy at Babbitt's!

April is not necessarily the cruelest month. But it is supposed to be 80 degrees here today, and I do remember a blizzard on April 4 here in a past year. Anyhoo... April is also National Poetry Month, and there will be all sorts of poetry events going on, so 1) attend some and 2) read a book of poetry this month, even if you think you don't like it!

You can hear me read my very short poem "Coyote" on WGLT Poetry Radio today, if you want. You can stream it live today at 10 a.m. or 10 p.m., or hear it as a podcast at WGLT, iTunes, or various other websites that cull radio readings from other sites and gather them for general listeners and special populations.

Anyhoo...

A reading group down the road in Lincoln, Illinois is just starting up, using as its first selection Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. I attempted a conversational mini-interview with the leader of this group, to find out why they were interested in reading this particular book at this particular time...but could not get a word in edgewise. The man preferred to have a long conversation with my boss, right in front of me as I worked, so I quietly typed away, listening for the answer, should it creep into the conversation, which was about business and power, not about books at all.

After Uncle Tom's Cabin, his book group will read Mansfield Park and Jane Eyre. Had I been able to engage the fellow in conversation, I might have asked why they were reading classics by women authors.

"Who's that by?" called the book group leader from the fiction aisle when he went to look for Uncle Tom's Cabin. I let the boss help him.

Do I sound bitter? Snarky? Neglected? Petty? Human? Foolish? Anyhoo...

Perhaps I will retitle this entry "Anyhoo."

And speaking of Jane Austen and Jane Eyre, a nice young woman came in the store last week confusing the two, as I did as a teenager, thinking one was the author of the other, etc. Well, it is hard to keep them straight. So I felt vaguely comforted for embarrassment in the past, and was happy to help her find some Austen and some Bronte! And, speaking of Bronte, there are more then one of them, those writing sisters, and a young woman was pleased to find a nice old hardback copy of Wuthering Heights on Tuesday.

And another young woman was delighted to find, in the window, where we had placed it as soon as it came in, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, one of those wacky intertextual classics & monsters books, this one by Ben H. Winters (and Jane Austen), like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Seth Grahame-Smith (and Jane Austen), or Mansfield Park and Mummies by Vera Nazarian (and Jane Austen). Actually, I see there are two P&P and Zombies books--including Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, by Steve Hockensmith--nay, a whole series of these "Quirk Classics."

And now Amazon will think I want to buy them.

Maybe, when he returns today to have lunch with the boss, I should recommend Mansfield Park and Mummies to the book group leader....

And that's enough human April folly for today.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

aka Simone and Susan will be interested this nice coincidence: I walked into our local kitchen & gift store, and what should I find right up front? The Quirk Classic books mentioned above, and a little boxed set of freaky postcards. These books look like they were really fun to write, as well as read.

(But I did not buy the Eiffel Tower earrings...nor these postcards...)

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