Friday of Memorial Day weekend, official beginning of summer. Welcome! We’ve been waiting for you.
In honor of summer, I will most likely make devilled eggs this weekend—it’s a superstition thing—as well as have some sort of cookout. You have to, right? The next couple of weeks are chock-full of activity and events. Tonight, my husband’s cousin graduates: next Friday, my cousin does. (Hello Zach and Emily!) Then there’s my birthday (gulp), various social events, work things, and our wedding anniversary…it comes fast and furious, people, so I’m just hoping to hang on for the ride. The summer always moves quickly, doesn’t it? Maybe that’s why I’m always so wistful for it. It seems like it never lasts as long as I want it to.
But anyway. In honor of Memorial Day, and because I am way too tired already to write something amazing—witness yogurt entry from yesterday—I thought I’d finish out the week with the book meme that’s been going around. Here goes…
1. Total number of books owned?
Off to a bad start: I have no idea. Hundreds, although my collection is constantly shifting, as I get a lot of new books to consider for review for the paper, many of which I eventually give to the library. I’m a firm believer in passing books on, so the only ones I keep are those that are really important to me. I have two bookshelves up here in my office, jam-packed full, as well as one in the guestroom and several stacks downstairs in my closet. The first four books I see at a glance at the shelf beside me are: Jill McCorkle’s Final Vinyl Days, Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Suzanne (total camp, love it), Fannie Flagg’s Coming Attractions (now retitled Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man) and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. I assure you the rest of my collection is equally diverse.
2. Last book bought?
Ah, this one is easier: Melissa Bank’s A Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing, which I just picked up this week. I read it years ago, but wanted to re-read it, as I’ve recently gotten my hot little hands on a copy of her new book, The Wonder Spot, which comes out next week, I believe. Girl’s Guide is still just so good. Every once in a while I have to put it down, sigh, and shake my head. If only I could write like that. If only!
3. Last book I read?
The Twins of Tribeca, by Rachel Pine. She used to work at Miramax, and it’s a novel about a woman who takes a job at a studio headed by two brothers, based in Tribeca….which is an awful lot like Miramax. The book is even published my Miramax books! I thought it was fun, as was trying to figure out who all the celebrities in the novel were actually based on. Good beach reading. Even if, um, you’re not at the beach. Right now, I’m reading Girl’s Guide (see sighing and shaking head above), after which I am planning to move onto Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book. Again, variety. I’m all about it.
4.Five books that mean a lot to me?
Only five? Oh, God, this is going to be hard.
1. A Prayer For Owen Meany, by John Irving. I love this book. I don’t know how else to put it. It’s brilliant, and funny, and heartbreaking, and I stayed up so late one night finishing it, then walked around in a daze the next day, still recovering. I also took it with me when I went to Toronto to the set of How to Deal, because I was totally nervous, and just having it with me made me feel better. So good.
2. Fair and Tender Ladies, by Lee Smith. Lee is a friend of mine, and I used to work for her as a personal assistant. When I got the job, I’d read most of her books, but not this one. Then one weekend, I picked it up and read it, and it was so amazing that the next time I saw her, I just felt totally dumbstruck around her, stupid and stammering. She kept saying, “What?” and I couldn’t tell her because I would have looked like a total loser. But it blew me away. Wow.
3. Coming Attractions, by Fannie Flagg. My mom bought me this book when I was twelve or thirteen. When I read it, I decided I wanted to be a writer. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, and quirky, and it just struck something in me. I still have it (see above) all tattered, with its original title. Love it.
4. The Accidental Tourist, by Anne Tyler. It’s hard to pick just one Anne Tyler book, but if I have to, this is the one. I just think she’s incredible. One of those authors that makes writing look easy—and in third person!—when it just so is not. When I first read this, I went to the library and was so excited to see how many other books she had out, over a dozen. I read them all. It was an Anne Tyler summer. (I’ve also had a Pat Conroy summer, after I read Prince of Tides.) There’s nothing better than discovering you love an author AND that they have stuff you haven’t yet read. It is the best.
5. Otherwise Engaged by Suzanne Finnamore. You know how sometimes you’ll be at a certain point in your life, and read a book, and it’s just the perfect thing, just what you need? I read this book right about when I was getting married, and it just struck a chord with me. I love the way Suzanne Finnamore writes, plain and simple: these little sentences that carry such weight. The Zygote Chronicles is equally good. I admire Suzanne Finnamore so much that the other day, when I saw a blurb she’d one on some other book, I was jealous. Jealous! So sad. But true.
I know already, even as I type this, that the minute I walk away I’ll think of another book I should have listed. It’s so High Fidelity of me, I hate being locked in to any one list. But that’s it for now, as of this moment, 9:19 am on Friday, May 27. Anytime following, it could change entirely.
For the last part of this meme, I’m supposed to pick five people who have to fill it out, but that feels a little pushy, especially for a holiday weekend. So if you want to do so, please do. If not, not. Okay? Okay.