Thursday, May 19, 2005

Three separate book-buying sprees

in the last week or so (one online, two bricks-and-mortar), a sign of end-of-semester stress as usually I am a library-user and rarely buy books in hardcover. But it means some good-quality light reading coming up. Just finished the one I was DYING to read (this book is going to be a big thing, I think): Martha O'Connor's The Bitch Posse. This is an amazing novel! I really, really loved it--seriously, it's like what you'd get if you asked Joyce Carol Oates to write the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Books... (I love JCO in general, and I'd say that Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang is one of her very, very best.) Anyway, The Bitch Posse fully lived up to my high expectations. Aside from everything else, I'm the exact right age for it (I'm about to go and put on Doolittle, I love every song on this album but "Hey" is my particular favorite, seriously takes me back to 1990....). Another thing I really liked was the rather delicately handled series of literary allusions--usually I sort of HATE literary allusions in page-turner-type fiction, they are often horribly pretentious--but this novel is really steeped in exactly the things I like, and glimpses of other literary texts come through in a great way that you wouldn't notice or bother with if you didn't like things like this, but that are really appealing if you do: Macbeth of course, and The Eumenides, but also the starling that's from Sentimental Journey by way of Mansfield Park and Goblin Market (I had a children's book version of this, illustrated by Ellen Raskin, that I loved when I was little) and my favorite "Who killed Cock Robin?"

There's an excellent "Backstory" by O'Connor up at M. J. Rose's blog about publishing; read it if you are having a disheartening time trying to find an agent and/or publish your first novel.


  1. hi jenny davidson, i need light reading that relates in any way to peru. any ideas?

  2. It's a long time since I read it, but I LOVED Mario Vargas Llosa's novel "Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter." That's my main Peru pick. I wouldn't be surprised if you went to one of those mystery bookstores if they could tell you about some detective novels set in Peru. Benjamin Kunkel has a forthcoming novel about Ecuador, if that's of related interest?

  3. Thanks -- Llosa is on my list, but I wasn't sure of a good place to start. I will also check out the Kunkel. Thanks again.
    -kaplan (in DC)

  4. I agree with your Vargas Llosa recommendation; The Storyteller is another one of his novels that I particularly liked... Jenny, I'm glad to hear that you liked The Bitch Posse - I ordered it and am eagerly awaiting its arrival!