Monthly Archives: September 2011

September 2011 Reads

That was a random picture of random books from my hard drive. Ahem. For posterity’s sake—what follows is the list of books I read this month. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs. Moondogs, by Alexander Yates. The Long Weekend, by Adam David. How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive, by Christopher Boucher. Everything […]

Starting out, doubling back

I make no progress with Patrick White’s Voss. At the end of every chapter I read, I go back and read it from the beginning, lingering over scenes and passages, adding to the annotations I’ve already littered the margins with. Technically, I am about to begin Chapter 6. But I’ve backtracked so many times, reliving pages—I’ve […]

The Engineheart of Christopher Boucher’s Debut

Dear How to Keep a Volkswagen Alive: What strange creature are you? What manner of sorcery, Christopher Boucher? So very strange, with its own dream-logic and its own contortions of language. It’s a world built on symbolism and puns and metaphors, and everything still makes sense, and it still manages to be affective. Maybe Kevin Thomas’ […]

Typhoon Reading

“When it comes to a good book, the good bits are always worth reading again.” – From The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton by Miranda Neville. I very much agree. No work yesterday on account of the rage of a typhoon. I mostly stayed in bed, huddled under a thin blanket, trying not to touch […]

From reading’s bygone days

There are books you read once and then put away on your shelf. You know that you will never have to read them again, although you may return to them to check certain points or to refresh your memory of certain ideas or episodes. (It is in the case of such books that the notes […]

I cannot, in good conscience, consider this my good book

I loved Simon Van Booy’s short stories. I distinctly remember loving the prose in his collection The Secret Lives of People in Love, give or take a few nausea-inducing missteps of the purple category; I distinctly remember loving how he put his characters in situations that showed best their hearts. These are the things I […]

The Suicide Shop: “Has your life been a failure? Let’s make your death a success!”

#151 of 2011 • The Suicide Shop by Jean Teulé, translated from the French by Sue Dyson [aka Zoë Barnes]. Published by Gallic Books. After the inebriation of the Mawer-Bachelard Tag Team, I needed something not as emotionally consuming. What better book to read next than a French comedy about a suicide shop? Because that’s […]

Dream Houses

Last night was another installment in my misadventures as a halfhearted insomniac, and I decided to roll around in bed with a book—Simon Mawer’s The Glass Room. Perhaps the book can shoulder part of the blame? Because it is a beautiful book, and I’m setting that statement in the digital stone that is this blog, […]

Notes on yet another novel about love

There are works so luminous that they fill us with shame for the meager life to which we are resigned, that they implore us to lead another, wiser, fuller life; works so powerful that they give us strength, and force us to new undertakings. A book can play this role. #134 of 2011 • Enough […]

A prelude to my hysteria

So you wanted angst, huh, Sasha? You wanted heart-wrenching, you wanted overwrought, you wanted devastating; you wanted to witness a love so fierce your hands shook just by holding the book. Go to the watershed of historical fiction, then, considered by “authorities” and many a romance novel lover as one of the best the genre […]