Monday, April 13, 2009

three wedding bks, two novels, one bk of short stories, one manuscript, one bk of poetry, oh my!

by Sarah Marine

I feel as though I've been reading at a serious crawl. My current reading shelf includes three wedding planning books, two novels, one book of short stories, one manuscript and one book of poetry.

The guides to getting hitched include The Ultimate Wedding: Workbook and Organizer. The workbook portion contains a super comprehensive timeline & collection of budgetary lists. This is handily attached to a small accordian file, variously labeled Attire, Music, Reception, Flowers, etc. so I can be coddled into organizing receipts and other annoying adult-type things. The second most important tool has been Anti-Bride Etiquette Guide, a book whose title sort of backs up the Alt-Kids Bookseller title recently bestowed upon me by Daniel. I'll own up to it only because I think it's hilarious that there is a subset of people who still use Alt- as a prefix. In fact, I'm going to use it more often. Anyway, this book, for example, tells me that in fact it is okay to have two bridal showers when your parents are divorced and the two tribes of females on either side are as different as a 13digit ISBN and a Library of Congress number. Lastly, The DIY Bride, encourages one to "get your craft on". It's a good book to have when exploring cheapcheap alternatives to more expensive crap people will try to convince you that you need to rent. I generally stay away from anything that involves a hot glue gun, but the boutineer ideas and web stuff were pretty useful.

In the long fiction category, I've been slowly making my way through Keith Gessen's All the Sad Young Literary Men. I have to admit that, in the past, Gawker sort of tainted my view of Gessen. I mean, they generally hate on hipsters and young literary types to an obtuse degree, but they do it in a really smart way. However, Sonya from Penguin was a doll and sent me a copy of the new paperback and I decided to (gasp) think outside gossipy Gawker and give it a go. So far, I am enjoying it. Sam, the protagonist, is hell-bent on writing the great Zionist novel of his generation. He reminds me awesomely of a Dean Young poem in which there is:

some sort of crow so unsure of its
crowness, it thinks it's a stone
just as the stone thinks it's
a dark joke in the withered fields
and has to be so opaque to keep
all its ketchupy light inside because
you never know what sonuvabitch
is hanging around, waiting for a chance
to steal your thunder.

Basically the kid is Jewish and tends to date all these Israeli women only in hopes of appearing more Jewish and capable of constructing a novel about a conflict and region he knows little about first-hand. So, yeah, he's confused.
I'm also into The Great Perhaps by Joe Meno. I am enjoying the varied form. It echoes The Squid and the Whale in a lot of ways. Set in Chicago, Meno looks at the complexities of marriage, siblinghood and the quest for personal '-isms' in an academic family.

The manuscript is my fiance's novel (!!!!!). All I can say at this point, is that it is at once exciting and terrifying to be included in this process.
The book of poetry is Take It by Joshua Beckman. Joshua has shared via email a list of books he is enjoying on his tour- which includes a stop next Monday at Boswell's. I will post it later this week.
The short story collection is Sixty Stories by Donald Barthelme.

Happy Monday!

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