Monday, May 30, 2005

Did I mention I'm reading The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst, winner of the Booker Prize in 2004. I'm now thoroughly into it and am determined to finish before its final due date. At this point, I'm just over 100 pages in and from this viewpoint only, it appears to be a novel about a man's homosexual blossoming. From what I've heard, however, it promises to be much more than that, so I'm hopeful that there's going to be more going on than this one thread.

The emotions of Nick's sexual activities are amazing to me; how else is a heterosexual woman going to get information about what it feels like for a man to love or have sex with a man? It's a topic I've found impossible to broach with the gay guys I've known. How would such a conversation go anyway? Of course, a fictional character's experiences can not be taken as representative of a large group of people, of course. But all the same, every little bit of info helps.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Whoa--there is not a cloud in the sky. What happened? It's so weird to have sunlight dappling my desk. I'm not sure I know how to cope with it.

I'm so disappointed I can't renew Against Depression by Peter D. Kramer. It's full of startling revelations; I thought I was fairly well updated on new developments in depression research depression, but clearly I was not. I did know about the fact that chronic depression shrinks the hippocampus in the brain, but I was not aware of all the dire ramifications. Dire, from the point of view of a person who wants to keep their brain functioning well into their seventies, that is. I urgently recommend it to anyone who has had more than one depressive episode in their lifetime. I'm determined to finish the book before I return it, that's for sure. Check out the link for the NPR interview with Kramer.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The horrendous weather has everyone down. It's impossible to have a conversation with anyone, from the check-out person to the trash man, without discussing it. Worst May nor'easter since 1967 and it ain't over yet. We have seen the sun only 5 days this month. I'm getting pretty desperate.

I put on hold a few fiction titles to cheer myself up, but the one that most piques my interest is not available from Canton library. Brand new titles do not travel on interlibrary loan for two months. So I've got a wait for Leeway Cottage by Beth Gutcheon. The novel's setting is an island in Maine; that, and the World War II Danish resistance tie-in is tempting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The wind is howling outside our door, the marsh is flooded, the rain won't stop. I spent all afternoon holed up at Starbuck's hammering away on the laptop. Very cozy and very good for work. The sun will shine soon enough and I'll have a hell of a time keeping at it.

This week's issue of Publisher's Weekly arrived today, and while I was waiting for dinner to finish cooking, I scanned the titles of some new fiction that will appear in July. Here goes: First Love, This Dame for Hire, Looking for Peyton Place, Dearly Devoted Dexter, Mad Girls in Love, Heart's Desire--I'm not making these up! Guess I better start buying spring titles for my summer reading because there's no substance in this week's issue.

I couldn't resist buying The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism by Megan Marshall. I don't have it on my lap at the moment, but I recall there's--is it 100 or so--pages of footnotes. I'll check and report back. In any case, I love a juicy work of history with scads of notes that open all sorts of tangents that lead to new discoveries. Not only that, the lives of the Peabody sisters--Elizabeth, Mary, and Sophia--reveal so much Massachusetts history. Fascinating.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Everyone is complaining about the cold, damp weather, but I haven't minded it yet. I'm so involved in two of my own projects that I'm glad there's no gorgeous weather compelling me to play hookey.

I found a 2002 fiction title at the library that has slipped by me until now. The Stars Can Wait by Jay Basu is a short novel about a fifteen-year-old Silesian boy living in German-occupied Poland in 1940. Basu's imagery has been grabbing me, although I feel less sure that he's in control of where he's going with the story. (I'm half-way through.) It's Basu's first novel; I'll give him a break. The author blurb on the cover says very little about him and notes that he was born to an Indian father and a half Polish, half Russian mother. Does that piece of information serve as a credential for writing the book or what?

Ahhh! A googling reveals that The Stars Can Wait was nominated for the Los Angeles Book Prize. It's also now available in paperback.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Played all day. Had fun." This is a direct quote from my first diary, written when I was an eight-year-old. Actually, this is what I wrote every Saturday and every summer day for an entire year. It wasn't until later that I discovered that I could talk about the things that happened to me and my feelings about them.

I'm waxing on about this today because I really played all day and had fun, the first time in eons or so it seems. Ken had a job in Somerville and I tagged along so I could do a bit (well, a lot) of browsing at Porter Square Books, a newish, independent bookstore, owned and managed by the former managers of the Concord Bookshop.

I finally settled on buying Jenna Blum's Those Who Save Us, now in paper. I've had it out of the library twice, and each time I've been unable to get to it in time because of my crazy schedule these past few months. I'm intrigued because Blum interviewed Holocaust survivors for four years for the Shoah Foundation. So, yes, even though the novel deals with the Holocaust era and themes as so many have before, I'm curious to see what she does with the story. Webdelsol has an interview with Blum.