Friday, July 9, 2010

A Return to Dick Lit + Poisonous Berries

Day 151 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and the women's book group is reading The Wishbones, by Tom Perrotta, because Suzie had the excellent idea of reading the first sentence from each of a stack of books under consideration, and Tom won.

So we return to dick lit.

Here is the first line: "Buzzy, the bass player, had a suspended license, so Dave swung by his house on the way to the Wednesday-night showcase."

That was definitely more appealing as a quick summer read, if the group is to meet again in July, on a pontoon boat, than this:

"The Ettrick Valley lies about fifty miles due south of Edinburgh, and thirty or so miles north of the English border, which runs close to the wall Hadrian built to keep out the wild people from the north."

Sorry, Alice Munro, but I promise I will get back to The View from Castle Rock eventually. Likewise, Marilynne Robinson, I will read Home, which we didn't pick because Kim has already read it. You too, Carol Shields, and Unless, which Kim and Janet had both already read.

Most of us want to read something we haven't read before, unless 1) we tend to fall asleep reading at night, and find it hard to finish a book in the time allotted and/or 2) we are a very, very busy pastor off at a big wheely-deal, telling the Presbyterians to ordain gays and allow clergy to perform gay marriages. (The pastor is reading my old, used copy, which was at hand, and I am reading her new, orange copy, which arrived miraculously quickly from Amazon, in a small bulk order, and was left, by Kim, at my front door, between the glass and wood doors, on the 4th of July! So I am reading it now, cringing and laughing.)

Hmm, I wonder if I will think of us now as the "small bulk" book group, the way I think of the local men's book group as the SOBs, because that's what they call themselves. One of the SOBs, conveniently named Dick, came into the bookshop yesterday, but he was not looking for dick lit. He was not looking for anything. He was waiting for his Polish sausages to cook down the street. But he bought a cool book on symbols.

Anyway, Dick asked if I had read Olive Kitteridge yet because he wanted to discuss it with me, having just read it with the SOBs. I said I'd been waiting for a copy to come in, and he said a bunch would come in now, now that the SOBs are done with it. He's right!

And Mary tells us, in a comment here (on perimenopause), that she has "just started reading Jim Harrison's new collection of novellas called The Farmer's Daughter and it's wonderful. I read a review that described his protagonists as 'lusty' and that's exactly right! They are smart and capable and sexually charged. And the rural western landscape is lovely to imagine. Great summer read." (The SOBs also recently read some Harrison.)

As I was telling Kim the other day, I like the idea of short stories or novellas for book group summer reading. People can read what pulls them, turn away from what doesn't, and we can discuss the one(s) we all have in common! Maybe in August!

And now, since you are all waiting, my lantana is blooming and making its tiny blue-black poisonous berries, and re-blooming, thanks to the early rain, the long, hot week without rain, and its own life cycle. Don't worry, I am not going to make any tiny poisonous lantana berry pies.

These are not my lantanas, by the way, but mine look a lot like them. So do the lantana along Linden Street, which used to have a lot of linden trees, including the one I grew up climbing, out on Linden Street Road, the rural extension of Linden Street, now, unromantically given an impossible-to-remember number, for emergency-services reasons. Linden trees are called lime trees in Isak Dinesen....

No links today. I am cranky and lazy, thanks to terminal perimenopause.


Kathleen said...

I don't know why that comma is out there dangling (in some views of this blog entry), and I am too cranky and lazy to figure out how to fix it....

Kathleen said...

Also, I see that I have consistently misspelled poor Tom Perrotta's name in my tags. I blame perimenopause for that, too.

Julie Kistler said...

A poisonous lantana berry pie sounds like a dandy idea for a small-town mystery. Perhaps I should write that one. :-)

Susan said...

I cannot decide whether to blame my hormones or the moon for my strange moods. I have sold an insane amount of lantana this week, because they are marked down to 39 cents a pot in the garden center. They are so pretty, even though they leave me covered in pollen and sneezing like a madwoman.

I am glad you aren't planning to make any poisonous lantana berry pie.

SarahJane said...

That method of choosing seems as good as any! I really don't like Chick Lit, though, and assume Dick Lit would also get a low score. I would like to read "Unless," which I heard is very good. I read "Olive Kitteredge" last year, and found it entertaining but not my cup of tea.

nene said...

Did you know that lantana berry pie will 'parry-menopause'? (joke, kidding)What does a man know?

Collagemama said...

I worry about people falling asleep under Mark Twain's Autobiography.