Sunday, April 1, 2012

Books And Stuff

I worked in the garden. I weeded. I hoed. I mulched. I lied about listening to the birds while I worked in the garden. I was really listening to a book on CD. Rain Gods by James Lee Burke. I have to tell you- Burke can write. He can really, really write. His characters in this one are just superb. Or, it may be the fact that the narration was done by a completely superior actor, a man named Will Patton. The narrators of audio books can make or break a book for me and it is rare to listen to a book this good narrated by someone who is this talented.
I mean, I'm picky. I have written, I have acted. Not very well on either score, but I sure as shit know the real thing when I hear it, when I read it. Burke is a dark writer. There's obviously been pain in that man's life and he uses it. He uses his pain and he uses his ability to see people as multidimensional and he is able to transmit mood and image, weather and hope and fear and pain and thirst and despair. He's real good at despair.

I don't know. Maybe I'm not a good judge of literature. I'm probably not. I'm just tired of struggling through writerly books and getting to the end and thinking, "Well, that's fifty hours of my life I'll never get back."

I just finished another book that I read with my eyes that I was SO glad to finish. This one wasn't writerly, I suppose. It started out well but then it got draggy. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Also- I kept finding weird obvious holes in the narrative. Stupid things but they made me wonder what in hell an editor's job is exactly. Like- a couple is sleeping in two beds, separated by a space between them. This is made clear. Next thing you know, they are somehow together, pulling each other close. No one said anything about anyone getting up and joining the other in bed.
This seems sloppy to me.

I'm about to start reading another book that I'm extremely excited about and have great hopes for because everything I've read by this author has charmed me or made me think or both. Alexandra Fuller. I even wrote about one of her books a long time ago. I just went back and scanned that post and it's also about Jason Mraz. That post is here if you have any interest at all. Anyway, this new book by Fuller is called Cocktail Hour Under The Tree Of Forgetfulness. It is another book about her family which she wrote about in Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight and I loved her honesty, her humor, her love in that one. So I'm excited to start this new one. Oh yes. I am.

God, I love to read. I remember pretty much the exact day I learned to read and I've not quit since then. Probably most of you are like that too. I could no more go to bed without at least reading part of an article in The New Yorker than I could go to bed without brushing my teeth. Like you, I am sure, I hoard books. I make sure that I have extras just in case. (Of what, I am not sure- a nuclear holocaust? A Farenheit 451 situation?) Of course, as I grow older, this is not so much of a problem. I can pick up a book I've read and reread it and it will almost be as if I've never read it at all.
I am listening to Nora Ephron's book, I Remember Nothing on CD in my car, narrated by her (which is always a joy- to hear the book read by the author) and she is the same these days.
I suppose that before I die, I will just be rereading the same book over and over and over again, completely content to do so. I hope it's a good book. Perhaps David Copperfield or Great Expectations. Or maybe even Little Women. I could spend the rest of my life with those four sisters, I think.
Yes. Any one of those would do nicely as a never-ending read into death.

Well. La.

Mr. Moon is home from the island. They caught grouper. I think I am going to cook some for our supper. Pecan-encrusted, I believe. I may make a casserole out of last night's brown rice and broccoli and mustard-shrimp with an egg and some milk and a little cheese. I might go cut the one tiny, pathetic head of cabbage in my garden to make a cole slaw. I will make tarter sauce from olive oil mayonnaise (have you tried that stuff?) and capers and dill relish and chopped onions. We shall have lime slices and Crystal hot sauce on the table.

I think I will chop up a bit of a collard leaf in teeny tiny pieces to give to my baby chicks. Some of them are already growing tail feathers! Amazing! I can't wait until they are bigger and I can take them outside and set them in a floorless box with a screen lid on it during the day so that they can begin to scratch in the dirt for bugs and tender shoots and yet be protected and safe.

How'd I get so damn lucky?

I don't know. But I am.

You can bet on that. Fresh grouper, baby chicks, a big old handsome husband, grandsons, really cool and funny and awesome kids, a new book to start tonight, and you. You who are reading this when you could be reading Great Expectations or anything, anything at all in the whole wide world.


I mean it.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. You should go look at my facebooks and see what I made us last night. You will shit your pants.

  2. That's funny - I always keep what I think of as extra, or backup, books too. It bugs the hell out of me when I'm reading a book where there are discrepancies or typos. Half the time I'll quit reading the book for that reason. Really, there is no excuse for an editor to miss stuff like that.

    It sounds like you had a good day. Good here also. It has been wonderfully beautiful this week and I'm loving it!

  3. I've been reading The Hunger Games Trilogy pretty much nonstop. But first I read Bonfire of the Vanities and after I finish THG I will probably reread A Prayer for Owen Meany for the 2305th time since it just got Kindlelized and my paper copy is falling apart. In between times I'm rereading House of Leaves and Cynthia Huntington's new bool of poems and Montgomery Maxton's old book of poems and the new Paris Review.

    And I'm so fucking hungry you just wouldn't believe it.


  4. Rubye Jack- I am so glad that it is beautiful where you are. We are all book stockpilers, aren't we?

    Radish King- For real food? Oh god. That worries me to death. I'm serious, baby. I am.
    But if you mean for books, I understand.

  5. Daddy B- Well, I didn't shit my pants but I was honestly shocked. As I said, "Quorn" is not a word and I'm pretty sure it's not real food either.

  6. Just read "A Visit from the Good Squad" by Jennifer Egan. I know I'm way behind the cultural times, it came out in 2010 to much acclaim. Have you read it? I think you'd like it.

    Glad the mister is home with some grouper. Sounds like a lovely dinner and evening you have mapped out. Enjoy! x0 N2

  7. No, I meant for food. Not up to driving to the store so I've been living on fruit smoothies except I ran out of yogurt and bananas and also roasted vegetables but a person can only eat so many of those before you die inside. I ended up eating the last of the frozen tamales which flew out of my mouth like Jesus ascending.


  8. God, I really love a good book post. I finished reading The Family Fang and Jeannette Winterson's new memoir which I really liked -- both of them. I also read a mediocre novel by Olaf Olaffson -- I've already forgotten its title. I'm now reading a book about the Titanic, some kind of historical novel that is already pretty lame, and I don't know why I downloaded it on the old Kindle anyway. I love Alexandra Fuller - haven't read her latest, though. I might delve into some Anna Karenina, if you can believe it --

  9. Reading "Great Expectations" over and over would be pretty fine, actually.
    I'm going to go do some more reading right now. My current book is "The Tender Bar."

  10. Mmmmmm......Grouper Season.


    It has been so long since we have visited the House of Moon.

    Aus and I should make a pilgrimage. Maybe June?

  11. I am adding that first book- the one on cd- to my amazon list now. I trust your recommendation completely. I mean, if you like it, it doesn't matter if it's 'good' because it IS GOOD if you like it. That is the thing about arts.

    I loved Don't Lets Go To The Dogs Tonight but wouldn't read it again for a long, long time. It's so, so, so sad. When that little babe drowns in the duck pond I was sobbing. That poor girl..and Alexandra, who was left to 'watch her' at that age.

    I digress.
    Love from me, here in San Diego.


  12. Books are a constant companion, and have been for as long as i can remember.

    And i still have my dog-eared, half falling apart copy of Little Women. May reread that one next, it's been several years.

  13. i completely love james lee burke, although i've stuck to his dave robicheaux series. waitingly patiently for july and his next one.

    i love his characters and stories and because of the way he writes, i feel as if i've been to southern lousiana even though i have not.

    and you're 10000% dead on. the man is truly gifted with the ability to write.

  14. Going out for Grouper Wednesday. Reading Junger's Perfect Storm since I found it at a garage sale. I hope the seas are fair Wednesday.

  15. N2- Haven't read it. I'll try to find it at the library. Thanks!

    Madame King- That does NOT make me happy. No, not one bit.

    Elizabeth- Life is too short to read books that don't make us happy or at least think. That's my opinion. And it's too short not to re-read the books we love because there is always more in them for us.

    Denise- Is it good?

    Omgrrrl- Maybe so!

    Maggie May- I get my audio books out of the library. I get almost all of my books out of the library. Otherwise, I'd be broke. Yeah, Fuller's first book was heartbreaking but damn, it was good. This new one is about her family, too. She sure came from writerly fertile ground, didn't she? And she sure knows what to do with it.

    messymimi- I still have my original "Little Women" too. It is like the portal to another world.

    Dottie- I had never read any of this series but now I want to read more. I am glad you think he's a good writer because some people don't. His anger and violence used to scare me away but now I've grown up some and for whatever reason, I can handle it better and respect how he uses them.

    Magnum- I think I gave that book to Mr. Moon. Go hit some grouper, man! It was good! I'll be hoping for calm seas for you.

  16. Books... What is there to say? I grew up in a book store. Lived and worked in it till I was 23 years old. Knew every book and where I could find it in the store. It's a thing creeping in your blood. Without the books the world would be a sad place...

  17. Burke is one of my favorite writers. He has a lot about AA and alcoholism in his books because he is a member of AA, sober now for a number of years. I have read everything that he has written. Good books!

  18. I think Burke is a magnificent writer. As is Stephen King's, I think Burke's real theme is the fractured family, how it breaks, and with what patient love families of the heart are reassembled.

  19. Photocat- So you have lived most of our fantasies? Sigh. Awesome.

    Syd- YOU BROKE HIS ANONYMITY! Haha. As if one couldn't figure that out from reading his books. Bless his heart. He writes from a place of knowing.

    Pamela- Do you think? For me, Burke's writing is mostly about self-forgiveness which may be the hardest kind of forgiveness there is. And yes, how new families can be born of common experience, common hearts, even (and especially) if those hearts have been fractured. And need and deserve forgiveness.
    You know, there are some books by Stephen King that I just love. His The Talisman (co-written by Peter Straub) is all about saving his mother and I see that in many of his books.
    We really never do get over our childhoods, do we?

  20. That is so weird that you're reading Alexandra Fuller, I JUST finished a book of hers called Scribbling the Cat, which I bought eagerly after reading Don't Let's go to the Dogs Tonight which I read years ago and loved like crazy.

    Scribbling is not quite as good but I enjoyed it.

  21. Actually, he broke his own anonymity. See:

  22. Deirdre- Yeah. Scribbling was sort of weird. Didn't you feel like she was just totally in love with that guy?

    Syd- I know. Good link! I always wonder about that- when people break their anonymity. It seems like the Sacred Rule not to.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.