who the heck knows anything, anyway

Thursday, September 15, 2011

$40 poorer, 3 books (i.e. INFINITELY) richer

This week is so much easier than the last. Watson's a little bit rowdier (the weather is cooler, so he expects us to walk him more than once a day or something. So demanding. Sheesh.) but the house is fairly quiet with Littlest Brother at my grandparents' and Middle Brother down for the count with a nasty cold*. PLUS, miracle of miracles, I've actually been sleeping.

Now for the delicious stuff!

I bought more books yesterday. Hooray!...My wallet is so pleased. They're mighty fine ones, too: ones from My Very Exclusive List. Note: I've only had the chance to read the first one (I bought them yesterday, so, you know, be patient), and, therefore, the latter two can't yet come with my full recommendation.

You ready? There's gonna be some clicky links, so prep the ol' digitus secundus.

First, The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman:

The book is, appropriately, tiny.

I'm going to use my supreme authority on the matter** to suggest that it's a lovely example of magic realism, which, as everybody knows, has a tendency to make me weak in the knees. Magic realism is one of those ever-evolving, "sort-of" genres that you can't really set out to write--some stories have it, and some don't. Simple as that. If you consciously try to do it, you'll probably write some horrible pish. One day, hopefully soon, I shall formalize thoughts on magic realism. And now I will stop deviating from Kaufman's lovely book.

The story is beautiful, the prose is outstanding, and the ending is perfect (incredibly high praise from Miss Picky over here). At only ninety-nine pages, and contained in all of 4" squared, you can (and likely will) read the whole thing in about an hour and a half. It says no more than is necessary without sacrificing detail. Basically, put it on the list of books I wish I had written.

I don't want to risk spoiling the story for you, but you should definitely go to Jen Campbell's blog to take a peek at her lovely interview with Kaufman. Also--extra plug--Campbell's blog is super hella fab, so you should probably just go ahead and add it to your Reader. Seriously. Here's the link and everything. (http://jen-campbell.blogspot.com/)

Next up, NPR darling Swamplandia!, Karen Russell's first novel.

Swamplandia! is the story of thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree, her family, and her family's struggling theme park (where they, you know, wrestle alligators. Like ya do. Ain't no thang).

As those peeps of mine who follow this blog know, I recently finished St. Lucy's Home For Girls Raised By Wolves (Russell's lovely short story collection). I think Swamplandia! will allow Russell to do everything I loved about the pieces in St Lucy's--in short, write a friggin' great story. There is no doubt in my mind that it will be the sort of novel I can't put down--playful language, engaging story (about family! double points!), charming POV, magic realism/folk tale elements (my Achilles Heel. If you shot my heel with a Magic Realist Mythology Folktale Arrow, I would definitely die), etc--so if Russell can pull off a good ending, I will tell everyone to read this. Everyone.

Anywho, on to NUMERO TRES! Busy Monsters by William Giraldi:

I'm pretty stoked to read this. The July/August issue of Poets & Writers had an interview with Giraldi, and I was sold. Giraldi just sounds like an awesome person, in addition to his obvious talent, and I like to support awesome, talented people.

Since I haven't started reading this one, the only info I really have about the story comes from the front flap. To sum up, main character Charles Homar's fiance leaves him to hunt the kraken. He's sad. He decides to hunt mythical creatures, too, and writes about it for a magazine. ...Cryptozoology, guys. How can you say no?

One reviewer even compared Giraldi's work to Nabokov and O'Connor. Simultaneously. Pardon me while I swoon for a minute.


Yeah, that was a good swoon. Daniel had to pull out the smelling salts and everything.

So, see anything you might like? Beholde! Here be links to Powells.com (or I'm sure you could find/order them through your local bookstore)

The Tiny Wifehttp://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9780982525456-0
Busy Monstershttp://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9780393079623-6

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an afternoon engagement with some black bean soup and the Bigtree family.

*I let him stay home from school today. Man, I'm such a nice big sister. ...Hopefully I don't get his nasty cold, though; kid's lookin' mighty haggard.
**I've even TA-ed a class on the subject

(as per usual, all photos by me, k czuba)