18 September 2010

I have nothing to link these three, except they're all orangish.

Dogfight, a Love Story, Matt Burgess: Billed as doing for Queens what Jonathan Lethem's books do for Brooklyn...sort of, inasmuch as it's both a love letter to the crazy diverse energy of the borough and a borderline-bleak tale of the edge of the criminal element. I found it more competent than brilliant, though; Burgess doesn't have Lethem's way with words. I also found myself trying to explain it to a bank officer in Ridgewood while making a deposit--"Well, it's about a guy whose brother is getting out of prison and he's trying to organize a welcome-home dogfight. It's not going well, which is good"--and wondered if I came off as slightly unhinged. Dude's name was Gift, btw. What a great name.

There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill her Neighbor's Baby, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya: What a great title, huh? A book of scary, weird fairy tales from a prominent Soviet/Russian writer. Really reminded me of the bloodthirsty old folklore I loved as a child--Disney Schmisney, I had the reading skillz for the originals, so that's what I read. (My first Barbie is missing her toes because I cut them off while playing Cinderella. I was five.) A friend & I might stage a reading of some around Halloween.
This was also my first purchase on my whirlwind One-Woman NYC Indie Bookstore Support & Resume-Dropping-Off Tour, 10% off at McNally Jackson. I find myself once again looking for work, a long story I'm not inclined to tell in this forum, and Tuesday through Thursday this week I visited three bookstores a day, featuring exciting subway logistics, some IRL tweep-meetin', and the purchasing of nine books (always use to hate it when people would come into WORD and ask for a job without buying anything, like, "Oh, I would love to work here, but I have no interest in helping the store stay open. Don't worry, they were almost all on sale, or cheapie mass-market paperbacks). BTW, McN J? Want to curl up on your shiny shelves and live there, Mixed-Up Files style.

Life Sentences, Laura Lippman: Never read her before! This was great--an amazing exploration of the shifting nature of our pasts, and the ownership of stories, particularly in our memoir-obsessed current culture. Not all writers can write about writers without seeming self-indulgent, but Lippman does a great job of creating Cassandra Fallows. And she had me in the first chapter with her spot-on depiction of a typical reading, down to the questions people always ask but never think the author has heard before.

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