Sunday, July 18, 2010


Back in Cayman, which means among other good things that I am back in the land of wireless internet! I find myself really discombobulated when I don't have regular email access, especially when I'm still trying to make appointments and see people (it's different on a true vacation); I look forward to a return to regular blogging, too, as it's one of the main ways I keep myself on an even keel....

Yesterday morning I had one more bookstore splurge - I had forgotten to pick up my copy of The Bacchae at my office the day before, so I went to McNally Jackson (plausibly the best bookstore in Manhattan, and only a couple blocks away from where I was staying) and bought a Penguin Euripides but also couldn't resist a few other things: True Grit, which I have been meaning to read for ages, and The Blind Side and also a book that I devoured in mesmerized fascination over the course of the later afternoon and early evening and that I heartily recommend to anyone with an interest in the topic, Randy Frost and Gail Steketee's Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things.

My New York subway reading (mass-market paperback is the convenient size!) was John Twelve Hawks' The Dark River, which I found goofy but which I had almost finished by the time it dawned on me how fed up I had become with it, so I read the last of it anyway (but it is not really my cup of tea - wish I did not waste my time with stuff like this!).

Two much better books occupied my attention during today's travels: Kate Atkinson's When Will There Be Good News? (several major implausibilities, including the fact that multiple characters have the exact same verse-remembering habits and repertoire and the mother's farfetched superpowers, but very enjoyable regardless) and Nick Flynn's Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (at times I resisted its allure, but it's undoubtedly a remarkably compelling story).

Catching up on old New Yorkers at G.'s place, I liked Ian Frazier's Talk of the Town piece on marginalia in the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library:
Nabokov’s handwriting (in English) was small and fluid and precise; in books that he took exception to, such as a translation of “Madame Bovary” by Eleanor Marx Aveling, his correcting marginalia climbed all over the paragraphs like the tendrils of a strangler fig.


  1. "Penguin Euripides" had me thinking of "Clydesdale Hamlet"....

  2. I had no idea the Coen brothers were remaking "True Grit" until I clicked your link. Can Jeff Brydges fill John Wayne's saddle? He's the Dude, not the Duke... we shall see.