Saturday, April 05, 2008

Sunday Salon: Nostalgia

I spent some time last night looking through old files of mine, searching for a poem I had written back in my poetry writing days, an ode to books. Actually, I think that was the title, An Ode to Books. I did not come across it, but I did find some other interesting work I'd written long ago: two love poems to my then-boyfriend-now-husband, a short story, a couple of starts to stories I never quite got off the ground, more poems, and bits and pieces from a journal I used to keep, angst and all. I always find it interesting to read some of my old writings. They seem so familiar and yet so foreign at the same time. I went between, "I wrote that? That's crap!" to "I wrote that? That's really good!" And no, I am not going to share. I have not given up on that poem though. I think it may be hidden in the closet somewhere.

I am just about finished reading a short story collection by Kevin Brockmeier, and many of the stories touch upon choices made throughout life, reflections on the past and the direction lives have taken. I love the author's writing style. His descriptions catch feelings quite well, and there is a moodiness about his stories that matches my mood these days. Or maybe that's just me projecting my feelings onto the book. I do that sometimes.

I received my first issue of The Strand not too long ago and still haven't done much beyond flip through it quickly. There is an interview by one of my favorite authors inside, and so you would think I'd be more motivated to read it right away.

Reading Quirk: If a book has a cover with a person looking outward, even if just a face, I have to turn it over when I set it down; otherwise, I feel like the person is watching me.

Several new books have found their home among my stacks. They were welcomed with open arms, although I think a-book-not-to-be-named was a bit put off by the new additions. He threw a bit of a tantrum, in fact. Not a pretty sight. Repeated reassurances seemed to do the trick, however, and now they're all the best of friends.

Recent Acquisitions:
The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper (ARE)
Tarnished Beauty by Cecilia Samartin (ARE)
Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult (ARE)
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (ARE)
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Moshin Hamid (recommended by Wendy)
Small Favor by Jim Butcher
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell (recommended by Jenclair)
Soul Circus by George P. Pelecanos
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell

Books in, books out . . .

Thank you to all who participated in my Buy a Friend a Book Week drawings. I do not often give away books, but when I do, I enjoy it, especially sharing the excitement with the recipient. I actually had the opportunity to give away two other books to friends this past week, duplicates I had received unexpectedly, which added to my pleasure at being able to share my books with others.

On to the winners . . .

Amy of Park-Avenue Princess is the lucky winner of The Cove by Catherine Coulter.

Chris of Book-a-rama is the lucky winner of An Angel of Forgetfulness by Steve Stern.

Congratulations, Chris and Amy! I hope you enjoy your books. I will be posting another giveaway tomorrow for those who may be interested.

I had planned on getting a start on the laundry right about now, but it looks like that may have to wait. My sleepy dog is resting his head on my shoulder, and I hate to disturb him just yet.

Happy reading everyone!


  1. Forget the laundry, you've got books to read! :)
    It's a strange thing to go back and read your writing isn't it? I have tons of journals and every once in a while I'll dig through them and see what was so important back then. Anyway, I hope you find your poem and that you'll share it with us.

  2. Kudos to you for looking at your old writings. I bet you have some gems in there, and I hope you find that long-lost poem.

    Happy Sunday!
    Jill =)

  3. I know just what you mean about your writings feeling both foreign and familiar! I do the same thing - and I won't share some of my early stuff either!!!

    I hope you enjoy reading The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

  4. I wrote when I was in high school, but when I started taking all of my college courses I quickly learned how much I didn't know. I haven't written anything [creative] since. Hope you find the poem, though, and would love if you shared.

    Tantrum, eh? Hubby came into my office the other day, looked at my bookshelf, and asked--are you ever going to read these books again? I got defensive and asked, so what if I don't...they are mine. One day I think I'll have to part with them [the "read" books], but I can't bear to now.

  5. It's horrifying for me to look back through my journals, but I do like glancing over my fiction and essay writing. Those trips down memory lane can be rewarding and horrifying by turns.

    I allllmost bought The Reluctant Fundamentalist online at B&N the other day. Thinking seriously about going back to snap it up.

  6. Iliana - I wish I could let the laundry go! Haha Hubby took it out for me so that was one less thing I had to worry about. I'm planning on curling up with my book shortly and finishing it off.

    I discovered my diary from back when I was 10 or so a couple of years ago and it was quite amusing to read through. The things I would get worked up about . . . LOL

    Jill - I am sure I will find it. I can't imagine having thrown it out. I hope you have a good Sunday too!

    Wendy - Some things are better left in their folder, unseen by the public eye. Haha

    Thank you for the book recommendation! I had planned to wait for the paperback version, but when I saw it on the remainder table at the store for only $4, I figured it was worth getting right then.

    Trish - My poetry back then was so basic. I have never had the gift of words that the best poets do. I do better with writing stories and vignettes, I think.

    I think my husband is more concerned with my growing unread collection. He doesn't mind my spending money on books, but he does like to see me reading them. Sometimes though, it doesn't look like I make much progress. :-S

    Andi - Some of my adolescent and early college journals are almost painful to revisit. I don't do it very often, as a result.

    Get the book while it's discounted. It's cheaper. ;-)

  7. I've been adding alot to my shelves lately too. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox looks really good!

  8. Hi:)You know it is funny, when I look at something i wrote or painted a long time ago I sometimes find it is so much better than my memory let on, I am surprised and get a little boost, and no, like you I will not share to shy for this.

    As far as connecting with a story line, I believe the books we like the most touch our soul or emotions, something within us.
    What is the name of the book you are mentioning, it seems I would like it.

    I am trying to find a photo of Wolf :)))

    A friend e-mailed me about Oliver's layed-back picture and wrote: "It is a boy"!!!!!! well this is the way most Jack Russells sleep or lay down, their paws are so short, like little drumsticks. I'll leave it at that, people actualy fight about what they are supposed to look like, long legs, short legs, markings the point the AKA refused to represent them. I love Oliver just the way he is ;)

  9. Ohhhhh, you have the new Jodi Picoult! I really enjoy her writing.

  10. Congratulations to the winners!

    I hope you like Black, Swan Green; it was one of my favorites last year.

  11. I feel the same way when I go through my old works at times too, Wendy! Most of the times, I've a good time laughing myself off because I couldn't believe I would write things like that, be it good or bad. ;P

    Looks like you've some great reading days ahead of you... and I can't wait to read Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult. I swear it has been calling my name a few times. ;P

    Finally, congrats to the winners!

  12. Jaimie - I thought so too after reading Jenclair's review of it. I was so glad to find it on the remainder table. :-)

    Madeleine - Isn't it interesting that we have such low opinions of our past work? It's a relief to know I have some talent, at least. Haha

    The Kevin Brockmeier book is called The View From the Seventh Layer. I was able to finish it this afternoon. It was such a good book.

    My dog sleeps like that too, on his back, legs up. It's so cute. Oliver is lucky to have you!

    J. Kaye - I've enjoyed the few books I have read by her. Someday I hope to say I've read them all. :-)

    Jenclair - I've heard such great things about it. I kept passing it up though, not sure I wanted to read it myself. I couldn't resist the bargain price though. Figured that was a sign. Haha

    Melody - It's fun to go back and review some of my old writing. I like reading my husband's old stuff too. He thinks I'm silly. :-)

    I hope I will be able to start reading more. Things were starting to settle down, but not so much now, I'm afraid. We'll see.

  13. I'm the same with book covers looking at me :)
    Thanks for visiting by the way. I've added to the Nick Cave posts, with a bit more on his thoughts on writing. He was very interesting.

  14. I share your sentiments, Wendy. When I look back at my own 'work of art', sometimes I cringe, sometimes I thought they're pretty insightful. LOL.

    I saw those titles you mentioned at Kinokuniya but fought the urge to buy them all. I really must exercise self-control. Going on book-buying spree is soooo much fun, you know what I mean...

    Thanks for all the books give-away! CONGRATS to the winners too! :D

  15. Thanks for mentioning The Strand Magazine! I did not know about this publication. I just subscribed ... can't wait!

  16. I hope you enjoy it, Terri. This is actually my first issue, and I'm really enjoying it now that I'm actually reading it. :-)

  17. How did you get your blog so elaborate? You have so many pictures and frames and just pretty stuff.

    I enjoyed reading some of your posts and I may check some more out once I have time.

    Feel free to check out my blog

  18. Joe - Thank you for visiting! I get a lot of html help from my husband, I admit. I will definitely stop by and visit your blog.

  19. I too just acquired "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," and I wish that I had time to jump right into it. Meanwhile, "Black Swan Green" was a book that I started out luke-warm about, but I over the course of it I had a total conversion experience. By the end I was utterly fascinated and very impressed.

  20. Ariel - It took me a while to finally add Black Swan Green to my TBR collection. I am glad you found it worth reading in the end. That's good news for me. :-)


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