The kids were in charge of Halloween "decorations" this year. They surprised us with these Lego Pumpkins! (Double click for the big picture). When you live in a house full of lego-maniacs, happiness is a toothy blue pumpkin.
You scored as A classic novel. Almost everyone showers praise upon you for your depth and enduring relevance. According to your acolytes, everything you say is timeless, erudite and meaingful. Of course, none of them actually listen to you. Nobody listens to you at all, but it's fashionable to claim you as a friend. Fond of obscure words, antiquated notions and libraries, you never have a problem finding someone to hang out with. The fact that they end up using you to balance their kitchen tables is an unfortunate side effect, but you're used to being used for others' benefit. Oh the burden of being Great.
Don't miss "Upstairs at the Square" tonight at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in Manhattan (33 East 17th Street at Union Square). Tonight the innovative reading and performance series will pair Nell Freudenberger, author of the new novel The Dissident, and pacesetting jazz-rock musician Howard Fishman (Village Voice Best of NYC: "Best Cabaret Act for People Who Don't Like Cabaret"), hosted by the ever-cool award winning journalist Katherine Lanpher (look for her memoir Leap Days: Chronicle of a Midlife Move, next month). This free event starts at 7pm. Stop by if you're in the neighborhood.
On Saturday night Politics and Prose welcomes our former professor Richard Bausch back to the area to read from his 10th novel Thanksgiving Night. (NYT review here)
Sunday afternoon actress-turned-novelist Meg Tilly will be at P+P to read from her novel Gemma.
Politics and Prose is also planning their annual trip to Mexico. This year the group returns to what the guidebooks call “The Colonial Heartland.” The Spanish conquerors, if nothing else, did build beautiful and graceful cities, including: Guadalajara, now Mexico’s second largest city; Guanajuato , the silver city; San Miguel de Allende, a charming small town restored in part by North Americans who have settled there; and Pátzcuaro , a Tarascan Indian town in the state of Michoacán to visit the Monarch butterfly sanctuary. The itinerary is still being tweaked, but if you're intrested contact the store for more information.
Olssons Books and Records kicks off their annual Cook Book Sale this weekend in advance of the holidays. All Cook Books, including signed copies of Michel Richard's Happy in the Kitchen, are on sale.
As for us, we will be playing host to our book club this weekend here are chez Booker. Ishiguro'sNever Let Me Go is up for discussion and we plan on using Mary Shelly's Frankenstein and the word "parthenogenesis" together in a sentence.
Books on our To Be Read pile for the weekend include: Seven Loves by Valerie Trueblood, Truth and Consequences by Alison Lurie, and the ever-spooky Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (recently reissued by Penguin Classics).
Where's our Rooster? For those of you who are wondering if our most Crucial Rooster has flown the coop, we're here to tell you she's doing fine, though incredibly busy working her tail feathers off trying to accomplish world domination through poetry.
For those in NYC, you can catch our elusive Rooster tomorrow night at the Stain Bar in Brooklyn where she will be reading as part of the MiPO Reading Series.
The rest of us can look forward to the Crucial Rooster coming home to roost next month when she returns with her annual holiday shopping guide.
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For the inquisitive students we met Monday night at American University: What kind of literary discourse can be found on the internet? We direct you to the Litblog Co-op where guest author Sidney Thompson answers all your burning questions about the art of short story writing.
Here's Barry Hannah on Sideshow, Thompson's story collection: "Thompson's wonderful stories prove that often the best way through to the meaningful anarchies of this world is classical restraint. It's beautiful to see the short story hanging tough as a bright form beneath Thompson's hands."
And that's just for starters. We are sure there are plenty of other links from those sites that will keep you busy clicking through the afternoon.
More Award News: Ten Writers Receive Whiting Awards, recognized for "their extraordinary talent and promise" with $40,000 grants from the Whiting Foundation.
Yiyun Li,A Thousand Years of Good Prayers Charles D'Ambrosio, The Dead Fish Museum Micheline Aharonian Marcom, The Daydreaming Boy Nina Marie Martinez, Caramba! A Tale Told in Turns of the Card Patrick O'Keeffe, The Hill Road
Poets Sherwin Bitsui, Shapeshift Tyehimba Jess, leadbelly Suji Kwock Kim, Notes from the Divided Country: Poems
Playwrights Stephen Adly Guirgis, The Little Flower of East Orange Bruce Norris, The Pain and the Itch
The Sun reports: "This year's winners are an exceptionally diverse
group. Ms. Li was born in China, Mr. Bitsui on the Navajo Reservation
in Arizona, Mr. Marcom in Saudi Arabia, and Mr. O'Keefe in Ireland."
It's Sideshow week over at the LBC. Join us today as author Sidney Thompson stops by and answers your burning questions about the art of the short story. Stop by and join us!
Tonight at Chapters don't miss author Emily Wu reading from her memoir Feather in the Storm: A Childhood Lost in Chaos. Ha Jin says about this gripping memoir, "This rich, unique, heartbreaking narrative is ultimately a testimony to indomitable human tenacity and vitality." For those who found Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress to read like a fable, this memoir provides a much darker and far grittier story.
Poet Tao Lin, who wrote the now infamous Friend of the Happy Booker report about the tightness of Benjamin Kunkel's pants, sends word that his collection You Are a Little Bit Happier Than I am is now available from Action Books.
We've got plenty more to add here including notes from our trip, current reading list and last night's visit to American University. Stay tuned!
After nearly 30 years living in New York's Hudson River Valley, my mother pulled up stakes and moved to a 100 year old farmhouse in the wilds of Pennsylvania. So this weekend we're packing up the car and heading for the blue highways of Pennsylvania's bucolic back roads. We're planning on leaf peeping and getting off the beaten path with the car packed to the brim with road snacks, maps, and books on CD. We've got Summerland, written—and read!— by Michael Chabon, queued up for the boys, and Louis Menand's American Studies for the grown ups. (We had a great road trip this summer listening to Donald Sutherland read Old Man and the Sea on our way to the Outer Banks—and the kids thoroughly enjoyed Tim Curry's emotive take on Snickett's Ersatz Elevator) .
Before we head out the door and hit the dusty trail, we thought we'd pass along a few links that made us smile. Literary? Not so much. But certainly fun for a Friday afternoon.
Do try this at home: Montage-a-Google— Create your own montages based on google keywords.
If you haven't been one of the 5 million to view these Chinese students singing Backstreet Boys, you owe it to yourself to click here.
Monk-e-Mail: Give your monkey some Hamlet and let the fun begin!
Home Design based on your Astrological sign? We don't make this stuff up, we just report it.
WTF: Jeffrey? Jeffrey? Obviously we're just not hip enough to understand the whims and caprices of high fashion. Thankfully, we've got the Project Rungay boys to explain it to us. ( Related Item: Chicago Trib interview with Tim Gun)
BRAD LISTI is the author of the Los Angeles Times bestselling novel Attention. Deficit. Disorder. (Simon & Schuster, 2006) and a creative writing instructor at Santa Monica College. He tends to be highly caffeinated. At present, he resides in Los Angeles, California, where he likes to spend time with his girlfriend, foraging for sustenance and contemplating smog. He can be found online right here and right here. And under normal circumstances, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WORK MORE, SLEEP LESS, (AND TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF)
I teach creative writing at Santa Monica College.
Every semester, without fail, someone will raise a hand and ask me about time management.
How do you manage to get your writing done while also working two jobs?
How do you balance creative pursuits with other formal obligations?
Generally speaking, here's how I tend to respond:
Work more. Sleep less. (And take good care of yourself.)
I often tell my students to take good care of themselves--to eat well, to exercise regularly--because a person who does these things has a tendency to function better while sleep-deprived.
"Be health conscious," I'm essentially saying, "so that you can be better at being unhealthy."
"Don't drink too much caffeine," I'm essentially saying. "Freebase it instead. And then go rollerblading."
Writers, of course, have often been noted throughout history for their tendency towards over-consumption. Too much booze, too much dope, too much sex, too much everything.
In my opinion, though, we don't get nearly enough credit for our phenomenal levels of under-consumption.
Most writers I know are borderline starving. We're barely able to pay our bills, much less consume anything.
And most writers I know don't consume nearly enough sleep.
We're a bunch of walking zombies, juggling multiple jobs. Our bloodstreams are thrumming with homemade double lattes and ten fluid ounces of high-fructose corn syrup. And yet for the most part, we manage to remain semi-articulate, and sometimes even affable.
The current fiction bestsellers at Politics & Prose, a local independent bookstore.
1. Charles Frazier, THIRTEEN MOONS 2. Claire Messud, THE EMPEROR’S CHILDREN 3. William Boyd, RESTLESS 4. Edward P. Jones, ALL AUNT HAGAR’S CHILDREN 5. Irène Némirovsky, SUITE FRANÇAISE 6. Alice McDermott, AFTER THIS 7. Anna Quindlen, RISE AND SHINE 8. Cormac McCarthy, THE ROAD 9. Michael Connelly, ECHO PARK 10. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, HALF OF A YELLOW SUN 11. Neil Gaiman, FRAGILE THINGS 12. John LeCarre, THE MISSION SONG