Saturday, November 22, 2008


It's been an incredibly long week, but also a very satisfying one. I have no idea when, but I've been doing rather a lot of thinking. Also, a lot of getting things done. I've had a lot of homework, and I have a college application due in a week, so with one thing and another I haven't had much time to stop.

After I finished Storming Heaven last weekend I needed a book to read until I got the new Senior Lit book, so I picked up Old Books, Rare Friends, by Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine B. Stern. I haven't finished it yet, but I find it extremely and unfailingly pleasant, interesting, and thought-provoking. The authors are friends and partners in the rare book business, and this is their combined memoirs, both of their lives and of their adventures in books. I've decided I have to read more biographies of people in the early to mid 20th century, because it's a fascinating era to me, and it becomes even more fascinating when I have a particular person to view it through. Plus, I adore any books about books, and this definitely qualifies. Also interesting is the fact that these are the women who originally discovered Louisa May Alcott's pseudonymous penny dreadful stories. Over all it has points that make me think (in somewhere about the middle of my torso) of 84, Charing Cross road. I suppose it helps that they went to 84, Charing Cross Road on their first book-buying trip to London, but apart from that it's a bit of recognition--two more people who also love books.

I have to say it's a good book to read alongside Bastard Out of Carolina. Not that they have the least bit of common ground, but that Old Books, Rare Friends is so pleasant and Bastard Out of Carolina is so unpleasant. I have to admit I don't like Bastard Out of Carolina very much. It's not to do with the subject matter, really, or even the fact that it's not a very comfortable book to read. It's also not to do with Dorothy Allison's writing, which is really very good. It just doesn't have the same resonance for me that other books have--though it has certain elements of autobiography about it, which intrigued me in The Kite Runner and in The Things They Carried, it doesn't pull me in like those books did for that reason. It doesn't have the sense of being epic that, for example, Storming Heaven had, and which is one of my favourite qualities in books (the epic parts are the only parts of books that ever make me cry, and I can't really explain what I mean in this case by epic). Neither did it have a good sense of being completely ordinary (because it's not). Over all, though it is interesting, it has not managed to convince me that what it's saying is something I want to be reading. Anyway, I am kind of underwhelmed, while simultaneously being a little overwhelmed by what it is saying. If that makes any sense.

I'm going to start work on my Senior Lit essay, which has suddenly become very difficult because I have two different ideas I want to write about. Am I a ridiculous overachiever for really wanting to write both?

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