Saturday, April 02, 2005

More ARCs coming/Review/What I'm reading

Hello honorable readers, I'm what you'd call a practitioner of "espirit d'escalier" or staircase wit that only comes to me once its too late or I am on my way out the door.
Definition, compliments of Anu Garg and A Word A Day:
Esprit d'escalier- thinking of a witty remark too late; hindsight wit or afterwit; also such a remark
"Oh, how I regret in the night/With pangs that will never abate/The brilliantly crushing retort/I think of...a little too late!"
In other news, I have another ARC coming my way from Harper Collins, called "Twilight" by Katherine Mosby. It sounds fascinating, but then, you can't really tell much from the publishers blurb. I just finished an ARC called "Toast" by Nigel Slater, which is about a young man who grew up in England during the same era I was growing up, the 60s and 70s. Apparently, Slater is some kind of celeb chef in the UK, but this book is about the people and food of his early years, and I must say it's quite bitter in many senses of the word. It seems to me that most of the autobiographical works I've read from Brits tend to be rather satirical and mean, and not one of the authors seems to like their parents one iota. There must have been a rash of horribly stiff, cruel, cold and snobbish people having children in the late 50s and early 60s in England. And a majority of them had no idea how to cook, it appears. Slater pretty much savages his parents, and is especially viscious when it comes to his mother, whom he shrieks hatred at, and then mourns deeply when she dies of a lung ailment. He's not much happier with his father, who remarries a woman who can cook, but who is also cruel and abusive to poor Nigel.
In other book news, hubby, son and I went garage-saling this weekend, and happened upon an estate sale of a woman who seemed to detest her late mother, and all that she stood for, including all her books, paints and pottery. I had a strong feeling that I would have liked the deceased, as I found many great classics among her book collection. I only bought four, though, because the daughter had everything priced too high. I purchased lovely old hardbacks with their old colorful paper dustjackets still intact, and I managed to dicker her down to 75 cents each. I got Booth Tarkington's "Image of Josephine," Edna Ferber's "Great Son," Alexander Woollcott's (yes, THAT Alex Woollcott of the Algonquin roundtable) "Long, Long Ago" and a more modern book, Bill Brysons "In a Sunburned Country." I also got a lovely quilted bookcover and an Art Nouveu-style pocket-sized mirror. There were so many great books, I really had to restrain myself, but I knew the daughter would want tons for the really great old books. There were two old copies of "The Haunted Bookshop" and "Parnasus on Wheels" by Christopher Morely that I dearly wanted to rescue,too. I found a copy of Antonia Frasiers "Your Royal Hostage" at another sale, along with a cute bookend that has a cow, a pig and two geese on it.
I'm currently making my way through Frank Delany's "Ireland" which is sublime, and "Crystal Soldier" which is, as expected, perfectly wonderful. Today was the first day of the National Writers Workshop, but I feel like I am getting a cold, so heaven only knows if I will make it through both days. But it's always like getting a booster shot to your writing to attend the NWW. This year seems lacking any real "stars" in the writing world, but it does have some veteran editors and some writers whose work I admire. So we shall see. Oddly enough, I had two people whom I do not know tell me that they read the Mercer Island Reporter and enjoy my work. I was amazed at that, and suspected that my mother had somehow paid them off.

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