Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mary's List

Day 105 of the “What are you reading, and why?” project, and Mary, “feeling like a book glutton,” will be reading something from this big stack:

1. Still Life: Adventures in Taxidermy by Melissa Milgrom
2. The Professor of Desire by Philip Roth
3. The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel
4. The Ask by Sam Lipsyte
5. Tell-All by Chuck Palahniuk
6. Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart
7. Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter
8. See What I'm Saying: The Extraordinary Powers of Our Five Senses by Lawrence D. Rosenblum
9. How to Be Alone: Essays by Jonathan Franzen
10. That Distant Land: the Collected Stories by Wendell Berry

And then she will move on to another book in the stack! Mary is an amazing reader, and of course now I want to read her stack. At the moment, I mostly want to read See What I’m Saying because it sounds so fascinating! (And it ties right in with something Quentin is reading, which I’ll tell you about tomorrow.)

See What I’m Saying is about the amazing information our senses give us, and how our other senses compensate when we lose one, etc. If I read this book, I can learn to echolocate like a bat! It reminds me of synesthesia, both a medical condition and a literary technique of blending the senses. Some people literally do see what someone is saying, or see colors associated with certain words, or smell things. Because it happens in real life, it can happen in a poem, too, to liven things up or make us “see” in new ways!

And, too tempting, I think we actually have a copy of Distant Land at Babbitt’s, because it is fiction. It is very, very hard to hold on to his nonfiction, which walks out the door as soon as it comes in, if it comes in at all. The time is right for Wendell Berry again, long beloved by reasonable people who love the earth!

If you like Mary’s List, don’t miss Doug’s List, another fine stack.

Dan read Doug’s List and said, “I'm reading Joe the Barbarian from DC Comics. I have issues 1 to 4. I am up to date with the series. I am also reading Audel's Truck and Tractor manual from 1948. And some UFO abduction books."

“Show off,” said Doug.

Dan said, “I always thought that people who could read the classics in the original lingo greco were the real lords of the library. My books have to have exciting pictures and clear declarative present tense language.”

Dan, we have lots of automotive manuals at Babbitt's. And graphic novels. And a fabulous comic book store down the street!

We also have a huge stack of UFO abduction materials and other flying saucer books and ephemera. Sigh... See what I'm saying?


marydee said...

I am just about finished with the Taxidermy book and love it. It begins with the early days of taxidermy when men 'hunted' for museum specimens and just wanted to 'preserve' an animal; and works its way to the life-like dioramas seen in museums today. The characters are quirky and right up my alley. Did you know there is a taxidermy convention every year? How cool is that?!

Franzen's book includes the 'Harpers Essay' retitled here as 'Why Bother.' I think that Franzen can be somewhat heavyhanded and crabby and that he writes for writers much of the time, but this essay is about reading, too. About people who not only enjoy reading, but simply MUST read. I understand that and feel comforted by the notion that other people need books as much as I do.

The Palahniuk book will be next, I think. The cover is all *sparkly* and it's about Hollywood, celebrities and gossip. I think it might be my first Summer Reading Book!

Kathleen said...

Mmm, quirky taxidermists! That does sound good! (Reminds me of that story by Eudora Welty about Audubon...)

Yes, cranky writers addressing themselves to other (cranky) writers, that does sound familiar. But I, too, am comforted by knowing other people are as addicted to book as I am.

(Aauggh, I just bought 3 cheap paperback books by Barbara Pym! More to come on Pym!)

Thank you, Mary!

Larry Rosenblum said...

Thanks for reading my book!

Let me know if you have any questions.

-Larry Rosenblum

Kathleen said...

Thanks for stopping in at the blog! Always nice to hear from the author!

marydee said...

I just read the chapter in Rosenblum's book about blind mountain bikers. Really! Humans using echolocation!