It’s Monday, What are you reading?

Once again it’s Monday and I finished Novella Carpenter’s Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer over the weekend.  The review is typed up and I’ll be posting it tomorrow.  I’ve decided I need to get better at spacing my reviews out over regular intervals rather than in random clumps.   I loved this book.  So much that I’ll say it again –  I loved this book!   But more on that tomorrow.

For anyone who missed it, I reviewed Michael Pollan’s book Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education last week.   I’m not sure how the book was conceived, but it reads more like a journal than a book on gardening.  There’s something about his style of writing that reminds me of Thoreau or May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude.  It was my first time reading Pollan and he definitely doesn’t disappoint – which is pretty amazing considering all the hype surrounding him.

What’s the link, besides growing stuff, the use of colons and emphasis on “education” in both titles?  Novella Carpenter was Michael Pollan’s student at Berkley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

It’s the last week of January, and by rights the last week of my month of gardening books.  But I’m not quite finished.  There’s still one or two stragglers on the list I’d like to share.  So I’ve decided to extend the celebration into the first week of February (what the heck – it’s a short month anyway) so I can get to a book by Gertrude Jekyll I wanted to include.

So please check back in… and don’t forget to stop by J. Kaye’s to find out what everyone else has been reading.

It’s Monday… it’s still Monday….

It’s Monday and, well, my tea is cold.  That kind of says it all, doesn’t it?  I’ve been trucking through Second Nature by Michael Pollan.  I want to get back to my reading and finish it up today.  But it’s sooooo good I feel it’s only fair to share.

As for passing animals, there’s no shortage of these.  The scents and hues of ripeness in the garden set off a scramble for its fruits – preparation for winter being the animals’ agenda as well.  The woodchucks and raccoons, deer, squirrels and moles rouse from their summer lethargy and pitch themselves into one last great battle for the season’s spoils. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins by all rights mine they consider up for grabs, and their autumn assaults can rival the frost’s for destructiveness.  The last year I planted corn, I hadn’t harvested more than a half dozen ears before a gang of raccoons climbed the fence one night and threw a raucous party on my tab.  They toppled every cornstalk, ruining the crop yet not eating it all – half-chewed ears littered the garden like empties.  It looked as though they’d take a bite or two from an ear, fling it over their shoulder, and then reach for another.  They stomped through the beds, ripped the tops of the leeks and beets strictly for spite, and then deposited several turds – large, impudent turds – smack in the middle of my beds.  Compared to the cat burglaries of deer and woodchucks, this looked like the work of the Manson family.

And you thought your day was looking bad.

Say what you want about Pollan, his writing is always evocative.

Of course, if gardening isn’t your thing I posted a short review of City Life by Witold Witkowzyski over the weekend for all you city slickers.  So enjoy the rest of your Monday!  And don’t forget to take a look at what everyone else is reading over at J. Kayes’ Book Blog.

It’s Monday… & January is Gardening Month!

Yeah, yeah… it’s cold and windy and snowy out here on the East Coast.  Probably not everyone’s idea of perfect gardening weather, but stay with me on this for a minute.   Seed catalogs have started arriving in the mail.  I went out and bought some graph paper to figure out what’s going where.  No weeding needs to be done yet.  Sure no planting either, but we’ve got the glass is half full mentality over here at BookSexy.  And what better way is there to beat the cold than to start planning a Summer vegetable garden?

With that in mind I posted my review of Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer last night.  And I’m 43 pages into Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education by Michael Pollan (2 out of 3  gardeners say they prefer colons over other marks of punctuation).  The authors have radically different writing styles, but both are wonderful reads.

And as for the Seed Savers Exchange Catalog – I’ve been through that at least 5 times.  It’s now got more dog-eared pages than the Christmas edition of the Sears catalog did when I was 10-years old.  Keep your White Christmas, this is what I’m dreaming of…

Tomato, Cream Sausage

Catalog #1314 (a.k.a. Banana Cream) A unique colored variety.  Bred by Thomas Wagner.  Creamy white to light yellow sausage-shaped fruit, very productive bushy plants do not require staking.  Meaty, nice sweet flavor, great for salsa and for a fabulously colored sauce!  Determinate, 80 days.

And don’t forget to visit J. Kaye’s Book Blog to see what everyone else is dreaming about.

It’s Monday! What Am I Reading?

on_mondaysAnother Monday is here and a literary awards week is behind us.  So what did everyone think?  I’ve never read anything by Hilary Mantel, though I already own Wolf Hall.  This weekend I went out and purchased two more of her novels:  A Change of Climate & Vacant Possession.  Both books are described as black comedies on the back cover – perfect October & November reading in my opinion.  Strangely, it never even occurred to me to look for something by Herta Mueller, even though I was at my favorite used bookshop of all time (Carroll & Carroll, Booksellers in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania) and spent a few minutes discussing the new Nobel laureate with the owner.  His verdict – who was last year’s winner?  I responded: I have no idea.  He nodded, Exactly.

Added to the Mantel stack were a few random books from Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael series.  I’ve never read Peters, but a lovely couple who bought a bag of my books at a garage sale this past summer recommended her.  (And if you can’t trust random people who show up in your garage, in the rain, to buy your old paperbacks – well I ask you, who can you trust???)  What’s neat about the Brother Cadfael series is that it takes place during the English civil war, approximately 1139, between King Stephen & Empress Maud.  This it the war which immediately preceded Henry Plantagenet’s rule – for all the Mistress of the Art of Death fans out there.

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood is finished, and the review will be up this week.  This is by far my favorite book of 2009.  So much so that after listening to the audio book I bought the hardcover.  The search is now on for “new” used copies of Oryx and Crake to force on family, friends & unsuspecting strangers passing me on the street.  (Remember, there will be a quiz).

My current nightstand steady remains Eating Air by Pauline Melville.  This is one of those books that has me wishing for a blizzard, a log cabin in Maine, and enough food to last a week.  Barring that, I hope to finish by Friday.

Until then, my review for Amphibian by Carla Gunn went up over the weekend.

And for even more recommendations, please don’t forget to check out J. Kaye’s blog.  Happy Monday!

It’s Monday? What Am I Reading?

Another Monday is upon us…  *yawn*.

Fortunately, this week should be a bit more exciting than most:  October is the month of book awards!

  • October 6th – 2009 Man Booker Prize Winner Announced
  • October 8th – Nobel Prize for Literature Announced
  • October 13th – 20 Finalists for the National Book Award are Announced (come on guys – you couldn’t come up with something snappier???)
  • Also, we missed the Scotiabank Giller Prize Longlist (thank you to KevinfromCanada for making us aware of Canada’s prize.  It seems all of North America needs to work on marketing our literary awards).

The winners of The National Book Award and the Scotiabank Giller Prize will be announced in November.

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Amphibian by Carla Gunn

As for my personal reading – I’m hoping to post reviews for Dan Simmon’s Drood and Amphibian by Carla Gunn this week.  Both were great, though very different, books.

I’m in the middle of The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, which is better than even I had hoped (and I had some high hopes for this after reading Oryx & Crake).   I know the reviews keep saying that this book can be read as a stand alone, and in its way it can.  But I very much recommend reading Oryx & Crake, either before or after The Year of the Flood, because it adds another layer to the story that it would be a shame to miss.Eating Air by Pauline Melville

Also, I’ve just begun reading Eating Air by Pauline Melville.  (This is a review copy I requested from the publisher, Telegram Books).  It’s out in the UK, but I have no idea when it will be released in the States.  I’ve been picking it up and carrying it around all week because it makes me so happy.  The dust jacket is beautiful and the book itself is the perfect proportions (I’m a big fan of short, squat books).  And the writing is stunning!  Hopefully, I’ll have a review up soon.  For now, here’s a teaser from the book’s first two paragraphs –

I want to tell the story of these extraordinary events without drawing attention to myself or implicating myself in any way.  I was involved only in the most tangential way, I can assure you – more by association than anything else.  These days it is possible to be locked up for even hinting that terrorism can be glorious or for having the wrong friends and courts don’t take into account the law of unintended consequences.  So it’s sotto voce for me.  To be on the safe side I have to present the truth as fiction.

I prefer to write in cafés.  I move around.   The Head in the Sand café in Camden Town is my current haunt.  Every morning the proprietor brings me a glass of rum steeped in hot peppers, a black coffee, two dishes of grilled peanuts and my newspaper.  I wear dark glasses with the right, coffin-shaped lens knocked out to make sure, in these lean times, that no-one steals my food.  The place is a little down-at-heel but I like the sludge-olive décor and those trendily scuffed wooden floors, bentwood chairs and the menu chalked on a blackboard behind the counter.  Who am I?  I come from Surinam.  My complexion is cinnamon.  I am as slim as Barack Obama.  My style is that of a graveyard dandy; black hat, black coat and a silver cane – it’s possible to dress like this in London without attracting undue attention.  Oh… and I think highly of myself which is always good for one’s health…

Please don’t forget to go to J. Kaye’s Book Blog to see what the rest of her friends & followers are reading.  Happy Monday! *strrrretttch*