Monday, August 29, 2011

Morning update

The Magic Circle has just been emailed to Kathy in its for-now-final version. Very glad to have it off my desk for a bit, though these books always come back at you for more revisions even in best-case scenarios...

I'm here in Cayman just for a couple more days, which will give me time to do some bits and pieces of 'work' work that I'd like to sort out before I'm back in New York (flying home Wednesday evening, settling myself back in and then going to Philadelphia over the weekend to celebrate my niece's second birthday and retrieve my little cat from my mother's house): a couple letters of recommendation, a couple conference-paper abstracts, a journal-article reader's report.

Light reading catch-up:

The two 'Dick Francis' novels that have appeared in the last year, the first a collaboration between Dick and his son Felix and the second Felix's first solo addition to the family franchise. Crossfire was pretty weak, but Dick Francis's Gamble seemed to me stronger. Really I will read any book published under the Dick Francis imprimatur...

Lee Child's Kindle Single Second Son brought a huge smile to my face, only it was over much too quickly! It reminded me of the mystery stories of my childhood, Encyclopedia Brown and Sherlock Holmes and Dorothy L. Sayers and G. K. Chesterton; there is a highly artificial simplicity that results from the compression of a mystery plot into that short form, it is not psychologically realistic but it is nonetheless attractive to me.

Robert Lipsyte's piece in last week's NYTBR sent me back to the book of his I read when I was a kid, One Fat Summer (it holds up very well), and then to a newer one that I also liked very much, Raiders Night.

I absolutely loved Tow Ubukata's Mardock Scramble! Thanks to Nick Mamatas for the recommendation; it is a book that has almost everything I like (including a really fantastic long sequence in the middle concerned with the psychology and tactics of professional gambling in a casino).

I think I will save my thoughts on Gravity's Rainbow for a separate post.

Really I'm looking forward to school starting, not so much the meetings and letters-of-rec aspect of things but getting back into the classroom; I'm teaching the seminar we require of all our incoming MA students for the first time, and will be interested to see how that goes. I'll post that reading list here once I have taught the initial class - it would seem to me very unfair to those students for the internet to see it before they do! Also: a new undergraduate seminar on Swift and Pope!

The combination of novel-finishing and then some sort of minor stomach bug that afflicted me Saturday have thrown me off re: exercise, but I am heading to the gym shortly for a treadmill run. Haven't heard whether the Camana Bay pool has reopened this morning as per the original schedule, but it would be good if I could get in a pool workout in the next couple days. I'll see if I can't hit a TNYA workout on Thursday evening in New York; the Chelsea Piers pool is closed all of this week for refurbishing, unfortunately, and I think the Columbia gym isn't open either, it is the evil season of pool closures universally!


  1. Just stumbled across your blog. I teach college as well, so I exactly what you're going through - taking advantage of the last week of reading before the papers come in, before the workload gets crushing. Here in California we began our semester last week, so I had to hurry to finish Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, and Scott Turow's Innocent. But come Christmas break, I'll be back at it!

    William Doonan