Friday, September 04, 2009

Oooh Noooooo
I'm working on Saturday, which isn't as loathsome as it may sound. Saturday consists of sitting at the front desk, performing some minor tasks and answering the phone. Which means there are approximately six free hours for reading. And I forgot my book at home (I thought this would be a nice opportunity for quiet time with Walker Percy at the Tupperware Party.) While I contemplate calling home and asking Martha to drop the book off on her way to the toy store, allow me to recommend a few recent gems...

Alien Hand Syndrome
by Alan Bellows
(maybe not what I should have been reading at the doctor's office...didn't bother me - but it might have worried the people in the waiting room. Didn't bother the doctor either, since both of my hands were under one control and I wasn't complaining about Charles Bonnet or Cotard's syndromes. Of course, I didn't this book's help - I ended the visit by inquiring about something I read about in the Wall Stree Journal.)

Filled with fascinating, fun facts presented with humorous accessibility. Whether you are interested in crime, natural phenomena or that edgy disease to mention when calling in sick for work, this is your book.
Did you know that Vaseline can be used to prevent frostbite on your chicken's combs? Do you live in Illinois but never heard of the Mad Gasser of Mattoon? Even if you are familiar with alien hand syndrome - you diagnosed it on 'House' before the docs did - don't think you can't learn something from this book.

(This is also the only non-Michael Jackson related place where I have seen mention made of Diprivan. Did you know it can cause red urine? Michael may have. But I didn't.)

The Financial Lives of the Poets
by Jess Walter
(one of my ALA finds...)

Walter's protagonist, Matt Prior, is the everyman for the current age of recession and financial despair. Though Matt is something of a journalism school Job, his story is not limited to poignancy. It is also hilarious.

Walter has crafted a superb combination of poetic allusion, street 'cred' and modern American family life.
Absurd though not unbelievable and warm without being mawkish. It is also comforting in that no problems of mine can quite match those of the Prior family. Likewise, it is a bit of a cautionary tale for those in reduced circumstances who may be looking for a desperate way to save the day!

Long Past Stopping
by Oran Canfield
Not always pleasant, but I couldn't put it down.
Canfield bares all (if there's more I'm not sure I want to know) in this devastating recovery memoir/cautionary tale.

I never did trust all those Chicken Soup books and the author's scoop on their creator (the author's father) just reinforces my suspicion....

It sounded so interesting, that when I didn't snag an LibraryThing Early Reviewers copy, I put it on my Amazon wish list. And then I happened upon an advance copy at the ALA conference and started reading it while I was on the road home. (no, I wasn't driving) If real life hadn't interfered, I would have finished it in 24 hours. So I guess you could call it riveting.

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-- Michelangelo, quoted in Vasari's Lives of the Artists

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(not all the same child)
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