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Sunday Salon: the Solid Post

November 28, 2010

The Sunday Salon.comMy hands have stopped being in pain! I’m hoping this is for reasons unrelated to my ban on typing, so I’m going to write up this post (my Sunday Salon posts are usually the longest of the week) and see what happens. On Friday, I participated in a cultural event for the first time: I bundled up in a few layers, grabbed a novel, borrowed my sister’s camping chair, and arrived at Best Buy at 1:30 am to sit in line in hopes of getting a Nook for $99. I was already awake (I’d gone to bed at 6 pm on Thanksgiving, lol), and so I just sat and read and wished I’d brought a thermos of tea until 3 am, when Best Buy employees slowly began handing out various tickets. At that point, one of the guys in line asked me if I was enjoying my book and I chatted with the group around me until the guy with the Nook tickets arrived around quarter to 4. I was thrilled to get one, then headed home to drink some tea and celebrate on twitter. Around 6, I headed back to Best Buy, waited in a really long line while reading some more and avoiding the news camera and finally got my Nook in my hot litle hands! So, for about three hours of me reading (which I would have been doing anyway), I saved $50! To be more precise, I saved my parents $50…you see, the Nook is a Christmas gift. So I can’t tell you anything else about it (I have so much will-power I didn’t even open the box) for another month. Except that I’m thrilled at the idea of all of the out-of-print classics I’ll be downloading for free! Did anyone else stand in line for a Nook? Most of the people around me had no idea what I was talking about, hehe.

Moving on to the actual books I read this week! :) As reflected in my title today, most of these reads were really solid (what I consider ‘four stars’ in my mental scheme), which was nice. First up is The Age of Dreaming by Nina Revoyr. For the vast majority of this novel, I was in heaven. It opens in L.A. in the 1960s, when an older Japanese man receives a phone call from a journalist interested in silent films. You see, Jun Nakayama was one of the biggest stars of the earliest Hollywood era, before suddenly ending his career in 1922. After that, the book alternates between Nakayama’s reflections on that time and developments in the 60s. The whole story is told through his eyes, and his voice is pitch-perfect. For almost the entire story, Revoyr leaves it up to you to read between the lines and see what was really going on (Nakayama is, among other things, determined that racism didn’t really affect his career). She wonderfully evokes the headiness of Hollywood just being born, the quirky experiences of silent film shooting, and her characters felt very true to the era (Nakayama also mentions real Hollywood stars, such as Mary Pickford, but his studio and fellow actors and directors are fictional). Her prose is just stunning (dare I call it literary?). The plot also moves along at a good pace, as she teases us with hints of a scandal and Nakayama’s present-day concerns that the journalist will find out about it, and until the last 30 pages I was convinced this was going to be one of my very favourite reads of the year. But then, Revoyr must have gotten nervous, and rather than trusting that the reader will pick up on things, she spelled them out. All of a sudden, Nakayama comes to a realisation about the racism he hadn’t seen in earlier memories, as well as a few other things I won’t talk about here. These personal revelations didn’t really feel true to Nakayama’s character, and it disappointed me as a reader. The book is still really good, and I found the vast majority of it absolutely breathtaking, but I do wish Revoyr hadn’t stumbled at the end. Despite my disappointment, I will definitely be reading more of Revoyr in the future: she has two other novels and if they’re half as page-turning and beautifully written, I’ll be happy. Also, she’s the second author published by Akashic Books (motto: reverse-gentrification of the literary world) that I’ve read lately, and I’m getting more and more curious about their backlist. So I think you’ll be seeing a list soon of Akashic titles I want to read! ;)

I then finished up Mario Vargas Llosa’s book about Les Miserables: The Temptation of the Impossible. This is my second Llosa experience, and I enjoyed it far more than my first (which was a novel The Bad Girl that reeked of chauvinism at best and misogynism at worst). As an unabashed Les Mis fan, I loved watching Llosa analyse the various tools Victor Hugo used to make the book such a giant. And as a reader without any literary academic background, I learned quite a bit. Perhaps most fascinating for me was Llosa’s discussion of narrators, comparing the narrator Les Mis to that of Madame Bovary, published around the same time but one of the first ‘modern’ novels while Les Mis is undoubtedly a classic. My favourite was the last chapter, in which Llosa talks about the power of fiction, in a variety of contexts including why totalitarian states ban a lot of it. There were several passages that really resonated with me (I shared one of them on Friday), and I even teared up a bit during a couple parts (that I plan to share in the future). But really, I loved every chapter, and it made me look at the book with even more love, an informed love. If you’ve read Les Mis and want to know more, I highly recommend this one!

I’m a bit nervous to talk about this next book: Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons. I’m afraid what I’ll have to say is a bit blasphemous, but it took me over a hundred pages to really start enjoying it. Until then, I was pushing myself to keep going, sure that it must get better. In Cold Comfort Farm, I had immediately connected with Flora and I enjoyed her adventures trying to reform her crazy relatives. In Nightingale Wood however, all of the characters start out a bit mousy…in fact, I had no idea which one was supposed to be the heroine. I’m sure that Gibbons did this intentionally, and it’s an approach that I love in Jane Austen (Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, anyone?), but for me it got off to a rocky start. It did eventually pick up, and I especially enjoyed Tina’s story. Gibbons includes a lot of digs at ‘types’ of people, particularly those of middle-class English society, which made me giggle, and once I got over that initial hurdle I was quite happy to be reading it! I wonder if those early pages suffered in comparison to Cold Comfort Farm‘s bright beginning, and if my expectations simply needed a bit of an adjustment. I did end up loving several of the storylines, in which characters who feel their lives have been wasted end up reinventing themselves (as you might imagine, those plotlines always give me hope). And there were a couple scenes that had me laughing hysterially, with my mother wondering what I could be reading. But I think it could have been cut down to 300 pages (instead of 380) without too much of a loss, and it didn’t live up to Cold Comfort Farm (for me at least). Anyway, I can’t wait for Penguin to issue more of Gibbon’s backlist, so I can see more of her writing.

Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers by Stephanie Wellen Levine is one of my favourite reads of the year, and I’ve read quite a few books! When Levine was in graduate school, she decided to spend a year living in a Brooklyn Lubavitcher Hasidim community interviewing the teenage girls to find out what their lives were like in such a strict community. This book grew out of that, but it doesn’t have even a hint of ‘dry’ academic writing. After an introductory chapter in which Levine describes different ‘types’ of girls in the community (as perceived by the girls and teachers themselves, just like we have stereotypes in our high schools), most of the book is made up of in-depth profiles of different girls. It felt like I was right there chatting with them, and I adored getting to peek into such a different lifestyle. Levine has the perfect approach for me: respectful but not fawning, unwilling to get caught up in generalisations or stereotypes, and a feminist concern for all modern-day American girls. I seriously loved every single page, often nodding my head up and down or smiling in recognition, and I was crushed when I finished it and discovered this is the only book Levine has written. I want more! In case you can’t tell, I highly, highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys good nonfiction, or is interested in women’s studies, or teenagers, or different cultures. Also, Levine mentions several books on contemporary American teenagehood, which has inspired me to work on a booklist for that too (particularly since I might be teaching middle schoolers soon!).

Why Translation Matters by Edith Grossman was an impulse grab from the shelves, and I fully expected to love it. But I did not. Rather than be a celebration of translation, it’s more of an angry defense of it/attack on people who don’t value translation, which alienated me despite my inherent interest in the topic. Grossman comes off, quite frankly, as cranky, and while some of her complaints are certainly valid (it’s a shame that only 3% of the books published in the US are translations, with the UK having a similar percentage), they lacked nuance. For example, in all of her talk about how translations opens up new cultures, Grossman seems oblivious to the fact that writers from different cultures sometimes write in English since they were colonised by the British. I can read Indian authors, Nigerian authors, and Jamaican authors (to name a few) who write in English, and I think that this is just as culturally enriching and broadening as reading a translated work. She also failed to convince me that translators are actually writers, who ‘write’ the book in a new language. Yes, I see how translators ‘write’ in the prose sense, but they don’t create the characters or plots or setting that are also integral to novels. Their work is important and artistic, but it’s not the same thing as being an author. And even in the prose sense, I question whether the translators ‘create’ the style in the new language (at least when translating prose) or try to match it…there seems some kind of difference there (without taking anything away from the incredible work of translation) that Grossman bulldosed over in her rant about book reviewers. The last two ‘chapters’ (there is an introduction plus three chapters, all based on lectures Grossman gave at Yale), which focus on Grossman’s actual experiences translating works, were much more interesting, but at that point I already had a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I’m glad that I read this, because it gave me food for thought, but I wouldn’t precisely call it an enjoyable experience, or a book filled with the love of translation.

The Salt Roads was my second experience with Nalo Hopkinson. I must say, I didn’t love it as much as The New Moon’s Arms (and that’s still the one I’d recommend to those interested in giving Hopkinson a try), but I still enjoyed it. It’s more of a ‘concept’ novel, which I think is why I didn’t fall head-over-heels in love. The book moves between three countries and time periods (18th century Haiti, 19th century France, and Roman-era Egypt), in each case following a woman of the African diaspora. Interspersed with these stories in the larger story of a goddess, trying to figure out who (and what) she is as she keeps being ‘caught’ in the lives of the three human women, and her attempts to make their lives better. The final storyline, feauting Roman-era Egypt is introducted quite late in the book and was the weakest part…I think I would have loved the book if Hopkinson had stuck to just two human storylines (plus the goddess). As it is, she spread herself a bit thin. Nevertheless, her prose is just as wonderful as I remembered from The New Moon’s Arms. And I’m in love with the ideas of the book, even if their execution wasn’t perfect! Several kinds of love, both emotional and physical, are explored within the novel; two of the main characters have woman lovers. Two of them are also prostitutes, so there are a few steamy scenes. But they didn’t feel extraneous, and I found them quite well done. Sex is partly about power, and in the bedroom these women, who were towards the bottom of their societies, seemed to find empowerment. It was neat to watch them take control! There were so many intellectual ideas Hopkinson explored, most relating to power and love; I don’t have space to talk about them all, but when I finished the book I was left with a lot of food for thought. All in all, while the book wasn’t perfect, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I can’t wait to read more of Hopkinson’s back list!

My right hand is getting a few twinges, so I’m going to wrap this up for now. But as you can see, I had quite a good reading week, and I’m hoping that trend continues! Now I’m off to spend the rest of my morning curled up with some books…I’m almost done with Translation Nation and in the middle of Purge. And I’ll be opening up my Google Reader a bit later; I can’t wait to be able to comment again!

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76 Comments leave one →
  1. November 28, 2010 8:07 am

    Woo hoo, congratulations on snagging such a good deal for your parents! I don’t have the patience to stand in those lines.

    • November 30, 2010 1:15 pm

      Thanks! I don’t think I’d do it again, but it was fine with a book. ;)

  2. November 28, 2010 8:15 am

    I am amazed whenever I hear stories about waiting on line for sales items. Not that I don’t want or even need sales purchases, but the waiting on line is reminiscent (for me) of college registration. Yes, indeed, back in the Olden Days (1960s), and before computer registration, we had to wait on line to register. And if we didn’t get the prerequisites we needed, we would literally burst into tears (some of us, anyway).

    But I like your plan of reading while waiting on line.

    I hate when it takes 100 pages or more to connect with a book. I’m glad you finally enjoyed it, though.

    Here’s my Sunday Salon:

    http://accidentalmoments.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/the-sunday-salon-happy-holidays/

    • November 30, 2010 1:16 pm

      How interesting! I’m glad I didn’t have to wait in line for my registration. :)

  3. November 28, 2010 8:17 am

    The Age of Dreaming sounds good. I’m going to look for it. Your description of it reminds me of The Book of Illusion by Paul Auster a little. I loved that one. I’m also interested in Grossman’s book even though you did not like it so much. I often lament the fact that so little is translated for the American market. I see your point about how many cultures write in English at least part of the time, but that still limits what reader’s can be exposed to.

    Think about how many books are published in languages other than English each year. Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, French, Russian and so many others. These are all cultures with a rich literary tradition that does not include writing in English. In the U.S. I often feel restricted to American culture. Granted, that’s a very large pool to swim in–America’s a very divers place. If reader’s open their reading circle to all literature published in English, they’re swimming in a much bigger pool, but they’re still limited to the former British Empire.

    Translation is the only way to make the world your swimming pool.

    I’m sure you’ve already tried this, but C.J. uses a dictation program when he types stuff up on the computer. He’s just a very slow typist. This has helped him speed things along.

    • November 30, 2010 1:17 pm

      I haven’t heard of The Book of Illusion!

      I definitely value translation; as I said, I agreed with Grossman’s lament that only 3% of the books published are translated. And I read quite a few translated books each year! It just annoyed me that she kept referring to English-language books as if they’re only written by Americans and Brits. ;)

      If my hands keep being cranky, I’ll definitely look into a dictation program! I love typing, though, so it’ll be hard.

  4. November 28, 2010 8:28 am

    Congrats on getting such a good deal on the Nook. But I don’t know if I could wait a whole month after getting my hands on it! I had no patience.

    • November 30, 2010 1:18 pm

      Thanks Christina! I’m unemployed, so if I didn’t wait I wouldn’t have one at all. ;) I did really want to open it up though!

  5. November 28, 2010 8:56 am

    You always have such a wonderful array of books that you read! I have never stood in line for hours like that for anything; it sounds like you had a lot of fun doing it. And, hours of reading, as you point out, makes it that much better. I hope you enjoy your Nook when you finally open it on Christmas!

    • November 30, 2010 1:19 pm

      It was actually quite fun! hehe I hope I enjoy my Nook too: can’t wait for those classics. :)

  6. November 28, 2010 9:10 am

    Double yay’s today = hands feeling better *and* getting the Nook. (I have a Kindle; Mom bought it for me after being awarded Teacher of the Year and it’s neat to read to be able to zap a book in milliseconds).

    Last year I did the Black Friday stint at Walmart. Di & I wanted a new television (flat screen, ours was archaic) for the house. Lord, was it ever an event. I don’t like to stereotype, but you know that website where they take pictures of people of Walmart (?), well they could have hit their quota for the year. Seriously. People were grabbing boxes of cookies off of the shelves and just eating them and putting them back. All I kept thinking was, “who in the heck are these people?” I had my book, thankfully. :)

    Also, I just recently got myself a twitter. I sent a request (ReadingThruNite) to you. Please be my tweeting friend, lol. :D

    • November 30, 2010 1:22 pm

      Your mom rocks! :) I don’t think I’d ever be brave enough to do Black Friday at Walmart (in fact, I’m NEVER brave enough to go to Walmart, lol) so more power to you.

      And I’m following you on Twitter now, lol.

  7. November 28, 2010 9:33 am

    You’ve had a go at lots of intriguing books this week. Nothing magnificent, sadly, but some satisfying reads. That’s nice.

    Here’s my Sunday Salon post: http://readerbuzz.blogspot.com/2010/11/sunday-salon-thankfully-reading-weekend.html

    I hope you will stop by.

    • November 30, 2010 1:47 pm

      Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers was magnificent! :)

  8. November 28, 2010 9:36 am

    Eva I’m glad your hands are feeling better! Hopefully it continues and your twinge doesn’t last long! I too (believe) I’m getting a Nook for Christmas (well let’s be honest I am getting one) and while I was kind of apathetic I’m getting more excited as it gets closer!

    I’m sad to hear about Why Translation Matters, it has been on my TBR list since I saw it online.

    Have a great Sunday!

    • November 30, 2010 1:49 pm

      Thanks Victoria! Yay for fellow Nook recipients (and lol @ your pretending to not be sure if you’ll get one)…I honestly had no interest in ereaders at all until last month.

      I think Why Translation Matters is worth a read for the last two chapters (and it’s quite short); it just wasn’t as marvelous as I expected. So you could still give it a try!

  9. November 28, 2010 10:24 am

    I’m glad your hands are feeling better, and I hope it’s nothing to do with your typing ban. When I had tendonitis and couldn’t write or type anything, I was extremely unhappy. :p And congrats on the Nook! I’m a bit jealous and thoroughly impressed with your willpower in not opening the box.

    I’ll bear in mind what you say about Nightingale Wood, which I am definitely going to read. If it doesn’t thrill me right off the bat, I will nevertheless persist.

    • November 30, 2010 1:49 pm

      Boo to tendonitis! And you should send a letter to Santa. ;)

      I can’t wait to see how you get on w Nightingale Wood.

  10. November 28, 2010 10:32 am

    Lots of great reading Eva. Congratulations on picking up the Nook! Obviously I’m in the Kindle camp, but I’ll still give you my congratulations as any ereader is fun, I think :) All of the books sound interesting for different reasons but Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers interests me the most. I’ll have to see if I can find a copy here.

    • November 30, 2010 1:51 pm

      I didn’t realise there were camps! lol Are we going to have to ballet-rumble a la West Side Story? My thought process pretty much went: Nook is on sale for $99. It can support the types of files freely available online. Nook it is! ;)

      I think you’d definitely love Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers: I hope you can find it!

      • November 30, 2010 4:36 pm

        Heh nah we’ll just trade friendly jabs occasionally and all in all share book love. Much more fun than ballet-rumbles. Because there is reading involved :)

      • December 1, 2010 10:14 pm

        I demand a ballet rumble. Also singing.

  11. November 28, 2010 11:53 am

    I’ve been keeping an eye out for your post about The Age of Dreaming since you mentioned it on my blog but didn’t tell me the title! I’m excited to read it…I have no idea why I’m so obsessed with books about movies right now but this one sounds like a good way to jump into the fiction side!

    I also really wanted to read Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers but for some reason my library doesn’t have it. Boooo. I guess our libraries aren’t the same after all :-P

    • November 30, 2010 1:52 pm

      I’m sorry I didn’t mention the title! lol I’m such a book tease. ;)

      Awww: maybe you can ILL Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers? It was definitely awesome enough to be worth the extra hassle.

  12. Beatriz permalink
    November 28, 2010 12:26 pm

    Just for the sake of a better intercultural understanding:

    In most South American countries* it doesn’t exist the concept of middle name. There’s a first and second name (or even a third and fourth if the parents are really creative), and a first and second surname, the first (and the most important) being the father’s surname and the second, the mother’s. So, if you want to refer to someone like MVLl by his surname, you should say Vargas or Vargas Llosa, but never just Llosa. Ditto with Gabriel García Márquez ;)

    * One of the exceptions is Argentina, that only considers one surname (the father’s), I believe.

    • November 30, 2010 2:01 pm

      Thanks Beatriz! I knew that most South Americans had two last names, but I assumed the father’s name was the last one and the mother’s name was kind of like a middle name. So now I know! In Russian, when speaking formally you don’t use a person’s last name: you use their full first name and their patronymic (so they don’t have middle names either). It’s interesting how different naming conventions can be!

  13. November 28, 2010 12:43 pm

    I’m not sure I could have done that “wait in line for the Nook” thing … good for you! I will be interested to hear what you think of it. And your willpower — wow. I’m getting an iPhone for Christmas but when it arrives next week I’m going to start using it right away!

    • November 30, 2010 2:02 pm

      lol! My mom has pretty strict views on Christmas presents. ;) But we open all of our family gifts on Christmas Eve, so at least I don’t have to wait *quite* as long.

  14. November 28, 2010 12:45 pm

    Glad to hear your hands are better. And congrats on scoring a Nook! :)

    That’s really too bad about Grossman’s translation book. I guess I can understand that she’s fed up with people’s attitudes but that doesn’t really help matters. I prefer reading the original and it’s a great incentive to learn more languages, but I can’t imagine not reading translations (but then, Germany has one of the highest percentages of translations).

    • November 30, 2010 2:03 pm

      I can’t imagine not reading translations either! I can understand where Grossman’s coming from too, I just wish it hadn’t felt so much like a rant.

  15. November 28, 2010 12:56 pm

    Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers looks fascinating! Thanks for bringing it to our attention :)

  16. November 28, 2010 1:34 pm

    What you said about Grossman’s Translation book reminded me of my reaction to a book written by a teacher that I read earlier this year. I have the utmost respect for the teaching profession, but when the author started off the introduction on the extreme defensive, it just rubbed me the wrong way. It’s sad to be alienated (to use the apt term that you did) when you are actually in support of the person’s cause.

    • November 30, 2010 2:04 pm

      The same thing happened to me with one of the books on Islam I read this year too (Memories of Muhammad)…I want to be like: where was your editor to tell you how you sounded?! lol

  17. November 28, 2010 1:34 pm

    Ooh, the Nook should be an awesome gift! Ereading is surprisingly enjoyable and I actually suspect you will like it a lot. It’s much easier to hold an ereader and I can do it one handed, plus it’s easier to read in any position. I can only hope that you’ll feel the same way. It’s not as nice as a real book, but it comes in handy quite often, especially when you want to read free classics. :) I’m glad your hands are feeling better and I hope they stay that way!

    Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers has immediately caught my attention from the books you’re discussing here; sounds just like what I’m interested in these days!

    • November 30, 2010 2:05 pm

      I think I’ll enjoy the ereader too! Especially since I don’t have an mp3 player, so I could actually listen to audiobooks on the go w/o burning them to CD first. lol

      Definitely track down a copy of Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers: it’s awesome!

  18. November 28, 2010 2:19 pm

    Congrats on scoring such a good deal on a Nook!

  19. Ashley permalink
    November 28, 2010 2:53 pm

    Wow, you are very determined to stand in line all that time! Count me as impressed. My favorite thing about e-readers is that you can add to your library without taking up shelf space (when my family and friends asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said books they responded ‘where are you going to PUT them!?’). Well, that and all the Edith Wharton books I can read for absolutely free~. Do you think that you will do an ereader-review after you have officially received it, or do you think you’ll just stick to books? I only ask because I’m a bit curious about the Nook; a friend of mine got a very early model that she had a lot of problems with, but I think they’ve ironed out the kinks since then.

    The Age of Dreaming is definitely going on my TBR-list. Your description makes me think of The Remains of the Day (it’s the unreliable narrator, I think), which I love. Do you think the comparison is fair? Either way, I hope to read it. And I was glad to see your review of Mystics, Mavericks… as well – it’s been on my TBR list since you included it on one of your reading lists.

    Oh, and now that you have a Nalo Hopkinson-friendly library system, I’ll talk up my favorite of hers, The Midnight Robber, with a bunch of caveats (feel free to skip this paragraph if you’re not interested :-)). For one, it’s scifi, and I know you’re not really into that (oh dear, I’m afraid I’m going to be ‘that one girl who keeps going on and on about science fiction!’ in your mind ~_~), and for another there were some very disturbing themes that I hadn’t known about going in, and caught me by surprise. However, what I loved about it was that imagined a planet that had been settled by people from the Caribbean, meaning that it had a Caribbean culture, and even robots spoke in the Caribbean style. Plus it had a sense of seeing a folklore hero created that reminded me a little bit of The Hummingbird’s Daughter. Anyway, I will stop blathering on. Thanks for a very interesting Sunday Salon!

    • November 30, 2010 2:26 pm

      I’ll definitely do a review of my Nook! :) And I’ll review the ebooks I read of course…I probably won’t mention the format (I don’t usually mention when I’m reviewing an audiobook) unless my blog readers are curious. I hope they’ve ironed out the kinks! I bought a 2 year contract, though, so if necessary I’ll just keep pestering Best Buy. ;)

      One of the blurbs on The Age of Dreaming compares to Remains of the Day: I think it’s a fair comparison except that Ishiguro trusted the reader all the way up to the end while Revoyr wimps out at the last minute. lol

      I definitely want to read The Midnight Robber! It’s not that I’m anti-sci fi, I just don’t seem to gravitate towards it. lol I trust Hopkinson will pull it off: the premise sounds really neat! And I LOVED The Hummingbird’s Daughter.

  20. November 28, 2010 3:56 pm

    Congratulations on your new baby Nook.. I will have to get some kind of EReader eventually… I’ve been importing boxes of books from North America (Amazon, I’m living in Shanghai) which is such a waste of shipping charges. For someone who loves tech, I’ve been a total luddite with the eReader thing. The nook sounds totally cool ;).

    • November 30, 2010 2:26 pm

      I’m a luddite re: e-readers too! Although, if I lived overseas I think I would’ve been an early adopter.

  21. November 28, 2010 5:01 pm

    I’m impressed with you for all that standing in line. I try my very best to avoid all the big retail stores and shopping malls between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I cannot stand the crowds!

    I haven’t read Nightingale Wood, but I’ve heard others say they didn’t find it as easy to get into as Cold Comfort Farm. It took me two reads to really love CCF, so I get that!

    • November 30, 2010 2:30 pm

      I’m not a big crowds person either: after Best Buy I came straight home!

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who isn’t head-over-heels for Gibbons.

  22. November 28, 2010 5:14 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear that you didn’t like Grossman’s book! I was really looking forward to reading that one, but I trust you. I do have to defend her a little bit though, in the sense that translation is, in a way, a creation of something entirely new. I don’t know exactly what she said about it, so I can’t say for sure, but you often do have to create something new for a translation. I wouldn’t say this is the case for every piece of literature that is translated, but a lot of times there simply isn’t an equivalent and you have to be very creative. I think it’s an art, akin to writing, that isn’t exactly the same, but still probably deserves the merits that Grossman is asking for. I get annoyed too when people tell me there’s no point in reading translated poetry or books, because it’s just not the same anyway. That totally misses the point. Not sure if I’m going to pick that one up. It would be better if it wasn’t a rant.

    Also, I second what Beatriz said! He’s Vargas Llosa, but I would disagree that that’s always the case. It’s not. Depends on the author and the name, but usually when you see 3 names, go with the last two as a rule of thumb.

    • November 30, 2010 2:32 pm

      I think you’d still get enough out of it to justify a read Lu!

      I agree that translating is an art and that it requires a lot of creativity and merits a lot of respect…but I don’t think it’s exactly the same as writing a book, if that makes sense. I don’t mean to devalue translation at all, or imply that a robot could do it!

      Thanks for the heads up on Vargas Llosa. I really need to study Spanish already! ;)

  23. November 28, 2010 5:40 pm

    Glad to hear your hands are better! I didn’t do any black sales friday this year but last year we did as we wanted to get a good deal on a washer and dryer – such excitement. haha. Well we were moving into a new house so it was worth it :)

    How awesome that you got your Nook. I bet you can’t wait to use it!

    • November 30, 2010 2:33 pm

      Yay for a washer and dryer! Those can get expensive. :)

      I’m counting down the days until I get my Nook and already planning my first downloads. lol

  24. November 28, 2010 5:50 pm

    Matt almost went to Best Buy to get me a Nook, but decided against it. I am still only so-so about ereaders, but the idea of having all those classics readily available (and free) is incredibly appealing. The Nook would definitely be my choice of those available and I’m looking forward to how you feel about it once you are using it. ;)

    I went shopping early in the morning for some other deals and it was not nearly as much fun this year as it has been in the past. By this point its a tradition for my mother and I to go, so I go more out of obligation than for shopping.

    I’m sad that the Grossman book was so disappointing. I’ve been waiting for your review, since I have begun to realize the importance of translations. What a bummer!

    • November 30, 2010 2:36 pm

      I was so-so until I thought about all of those classics! lol I’ll fill you in once I’ve had it for awhile. ;)

      Also, I think if you’re really curious the Grossman book is worth a read. It just isn’t great. (I feel like I should have made that clearer in my post!)

      I understand the shopping tradition thing: I used to go with my roommate! :)

  25. November 28, 2010 7:00 pm

    I’m so glad your hands are better. Waiting in that line! There must have been some amazing conversations happening. I’m adding the Levine book to my library list. Have a great week, Eva!

    • November 30, 2010 2:57 pm

      There were definitely some interesting characters! ;)

  26. November 28, 2010 9:09 pm

    yay, congrats on getting the Nuke and I applaud you for not opening the package for another month. In India you have to wait in long lines for everything :) But I don’t remember standing in line for something so fun. The Nightingale Wood cover is awesome.

    • November 30, 2010 2:59 pm

      Wow: I don’t think I could handle 4 hour lines on a regular basis! :) And I love that Nightingale cover: Penguin’s been rocking it lately!

  27. November 28, 2010 11:57 pm

    Ooooh, you’re going to love your Nook so much :D I love mine!!

    • November 30, 2010 2:59 pm

      I didn’t know you had one! Eva=oblivious

  28. November 29, 2010 2:58 am

    Blarg, I’m sad to hear about the ending of THE AGE OF DREAMING. You know I love 1920s Hollywood, so I was hoping you’d enthusiastically endorse it. It sounds like it could still be worth it for the bulk of the book, though.

    • November 30, 2010 3:00 pm

      I am enthusiastically recommending it! The ending doesn’t ruin the book, it just makes it less than perfect. ;)

  29. November 29, 2010 9:22 am

    Congratulations on the Nook! I too don’t mind queues as long as I’ve got a book with me:) I’ve been hearing a lot about Akashic Books too but I don’t think I’ve read anything by them yet.

  30. November 29, 2010 9:24 am

    I hope you love your nook as much as I love mine! Have you thought of names yet? ;-)

    • November 30, 2010 3:01 pm

      I have been brainstorming names! But I’ll have to wait until it’s out of the box to make my final decision. ;)

  31. November 29, 2010 12:15 pm

    Glad your hands are feeling better (until the end of the Salon post, anyway!) … what a deal on the Nook (and what an adventure getting it!). Like Jill said, you must think of a name – mine’s Pippi …

    • November 30, 2010 3:02 pm

      Pippi’s such a cute name! :) I’ve been brainstorming…there are so many choices though! lol

  32. December 2, 2010 12:11 pm

    I got a Sony Reader on sale at Borders, also for a Christmas present. My dad said he could just wrap the box and let me have the Reader now, but I resisted! I’m so excited!! I’ll be downloading all those free classics with you. And library ebooks! Ooh! I’m getting all excited over again!

  33. December 2, 2010 5:05 pm

    I heard the same thing about the Grossman. So disappointing, as I was looking forward to it! And I remember really enjoying Le Mis so sounds like the Llosa would be interesting.

  34. December 7, 2010 6:52 pm

    So happy to hear that your hands are better Eva!

  35. December 19, 2010 1:32 pm

    Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers is one of my favourite books of the year. It has just stayed with me. Both the stories and the style were perfect.

Trackbacks

  1. Housekeeping Odds and Ends (including a chance to vote!) « A Striped Armchair
  2. Library Loot – December 15 « Mother Etc.
  3. Favourites Reads of 2010 « A Striped Armchair
  4. Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers « Ardent Reader
  5. Mystics, Mavericks and Merrymakers; An Intimate Journey Among Hasidic Girls – Stephanie Wellen Levine « Mother Etc.
  6. Harlem is Nowhere by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts (thoughts) « A Striped Armchair
  7. The Pirate King by Laurie King (thoughts) « A Striped Armchair
  8. Virginia Woolf’s Nose by Hermione Lee (thoughts) « A Striped Armchair

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