Jan. 4th, 2008

round here

Jan. 4th, 2008 11:24 pm
[Happy New Year!]

It's Friday night and the neighbors downstairs are having a party. It's not particularly noisy, but there's talking and laughing and the clinking of glasses and cutlery, and it's keeping me awake.

And then it suddenly occurred to me that if I can hear them, then they can hear me, or more importantly, my kittens, my clanging around in the kitchen, my sex life, and my impromptu dishwashing karaoke, in that order of frequency and loudness. I feel particularly bad about the kittens. When they're running around after each other, they can be irritating as hell. (One of the holiday visitor cats somehow got on top of the refrigerator this evening as The Boy and I were eating dinner. It was pretty impressive, but we still had to give him the requisite scolding.)

All this boils down to: I'm sorry, downstairs neighbors, and I will try to prevent the bed from squeaking too much or the kittens from pushing any more glasses off the coffee table.

I had a real reason for writing this post, though, and that was to squee about and comment on several new books. It's the semester break, so I've been sucking down everything as non-academic as I can find. This started out with The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss. Go drop everything and read it. Seriously. I actually met the author a while ago and told him I would read his book, and then my manager squeed a lot about it, so I picked it up. It's fantastic. It's the first third of the life story of an arcanist, from his childhood through his early adolescence, and--get this--it has a dragon on crack. I'm not even kidding. I can't wait for the next in the series.

Then I read (or tried to read) Diary of a Bad Year, since I'm a giant Coetzee fangirl. Couldn't get past the first 50 or so pages. It was kind of painful. Maybe when I'm in a different mindset or something, but right now I'm not feeling it, stylistically or in terms of content.

So after that I picked up The Yiddish Policemen's Union, because I'm determined to read Chabon backwards from The Gentlemen of the Road (omg BEST). And it's omg SECOND BEST so far. Because I still can't get over the pure joy of Gentlemen.

Also I Am Legend was really good, with the added bonus of a bunch of short stories in the back that aren't noted at all on the front (the I Am Legend part is half as long as it looks from the outside.) A couple of things irritated me. Mostly the re-use of nouns three or more times in close proximity (I'm still a little scarred by the number of times Matheson managed to put the word "chest" in a single page, because I keep imagining Charlton Heston's chest, which I've seen way too much of, and yeah.) But the story itself was fantastic. Now I want to see the movie.

Finally, I borrowed In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. As an avid cook/baker/lover of all things vegetable, animal, and mineral, I've always been interested in the American attitude towards food, and although I'm not quite halfway through this book yet, it's elaborated on a lot of the things I've always wondered about. Like how hundreds of thousands of cultures around the world can eat vastly different diets and still remain healthy. How scientists and therefore Americans have moved away from things we recognize as "food" (an apple, a carrot, a cut of meat) to things we recognize as "nutrients" (vitamin-fortified, highly packaged, processed edible things.) It's a good read, too--you might know Pollan from The Omnivore's Dilemma, which was a hot seller at Borders a few months ago, but which I have unfortunately not yet read.

So those are the ones I've read and loved so far. I read a few more that I didn't love, but liked enough to finish, most of which I will probably do a short commentary on later. And as it seems now that the party downstairs has moved to a different room, it is time for the sleep.

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