Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Catching up

Hi everyone - I'm finally catching up here and checked out "Whores" at the library. It was only available in large print font, but oh well, it makes the juicy parts even juicier! I read about 50 pages last night and I'm really loving it. I haven't read the other posts yet since I'm not done with it, but as soon as I am I'll read them and contribute more. Nice to be here with all of you.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Love and Memory

It was hard for me to read this book and not think of the character as being some side of Gabo himself. I liked the way that as the character falls more and more in love with Delgadina his memory becomes more vivid and he is able to recollect and reflect upon his life. The description of the whores seemed metaphorical as beautiful and lovingly as he describes them. So I struggled a bit with the metaphore and it occurred to me that the whores were works of art or in this case fiction and Gabo is reflecting back upon his own melancholy stories that provided him fame, fortune and recognition, by opening up their pages to the world. If not for these, he would have remained in his own eyes at least, a mediocre journalist, as the main character describes himself.

Still, there is a problem with treating fiction as nonfiction, but didn't it seem like there was more to these melancholy whores?

In any case, it is a story, and those crazy funny lines can be savored like a glass of wine and a wedge of cheese for the pure flavor and intoxication. I liked this book very much and will read it again and again especially because it can be read so quickly.

Thanks Jen for a great pick!


Friday, March 24, 2006

Crazy-Wonderful Lines from "Melancholy Whores"

I have to be honest. At first, I didn't think this novel would be appealing, especially at $20 for such a small book (with 115 pages no doubt). However, I do have a Borders discount and once I got into it, it's really quite amusing. It was slow at first, but I do want to share my favorite lines (that Jen refered to as "crazy-wonderful". Page 15: "I never had intimate friends, and the few who came close are in New York. By which I mean they're dead, because that's where I suppose condemed souls go in order not to endure the truth of their past lives." That just cracks me up! I cannot find the other line that stood out, but I will post again if I do. Happy reading, folks!

Greetings & Salutations: A Not So Formal Introduction...

Witty Women of Words
Good evening, Ladies (at least it's evening where I come from)! After two glasses of wine tonight, I will now introduce myself. Not that I need wine to write a post, but I'm just warning you in case I sound a little loopy, or have a lot of typos, hence the informality! First of all, I want to thank Jen for inviting me to this forum and I look forward to getting to know everyone. I have enjoyed reading your posts thus far.

Who am I??? Easy enough question to answer: Wife to Steve of 10 yrs this September, Mom of Sean (10) and Ethan (11 months), Art Teacher (going on 4 years), and Life-Long Learner of whatever sounds good at the time! I'm an open-minded individual who will try anything once. I do enjoy reading, but honestly, don't take the time to do it as often as I wish. To tell you the truth, with a baby, it's been difficult to find a quiet moment to stay awake long enough to process what I've read. I think that being in a group that will hold me accountable to finishing the book will motivate me to read more often. When I read the posts about what is currently on your nightstands, I felt inadequate to you all, as I had NADA on my nightstand!! Oftentimes, there will be a parenting or cooking magazine, or an attempt to read a classic such as Wuthering Heights, but usually nothing. I do have the Whore book and have read almost half of it, which is good for me considering I only average about 5-10 pages a day! I like to read before I go to bed, after I've tucked in my boys, so sometimes I begin to fall asleep after the first few pages and then have to read them again the next night!

Here is a little more about myself & my interests: I'm a herp hobbyist with about 2 dozen turtles who live inside and outside our home, several toads and some newts. Steve primarily takes care of these critters, but I enjoy keeping them. I LOVE to shop and spend money I don't have!!! I love food and love to cook. However, I am pretty health-conscious and make a habbit of preparing flavorful, yet nutritious foods for my family. My favorite food to have prepared for me is sushi and other Japenese cuisine. Of course, I do have an appreciation all kinds of other foods. I also enjoy exercising and staying fit. Lately, I've been walking or jogging with the beautiful weather we've been having, and taking my boys with me. I am determined to be bikini-ready by summer, but we'll see!! I love to travel when I get the chance, and immersing myself in foreign culture. Lately, I've been attempting to garden to loose my brown thumb! I weeded and mulched over spring break and am currently researching plants and flowers to plant that will thrive in our zone. I recently planted a climbing rose and cannot wait to see how it will do! Eventually, I would like to have a veggie garden, but we'll see. I also enjoy decorating our house, which we've lived in for 2 1/2 yrs, making collages, and photography.

I have to tell you, with my wine (which is usually a hearty red) I had the most sublime cheese. It's called Shropshire Blue or Orange Stilton. It was very rich and pungent, and extremely good if you like blue cheese and sharp cheddar, which I love! The moldier (or more blue) the cheese, the better! I also love the blue cheese stuffed olives in dirty martinis-the dirtier the better! Yes, I love sharp, rich, complex foods and drinks. Especially Mediterranean-style! In fact, I think I will go get another piece of cheese and top my glass off, then I will post my comments on the book so far. Cheers to everyone, and thanks for reading my long post! I do tend to write mini novels sometimes, but I will try to stick to the point. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Who ARE these Witty Women?

Who are we? And how are we all related?
Well, I invited Jen, Ann, Mary, Kelly and AMQ. AMQ invited Mel and Erin. And Erin invited Gayle. Jen invited Caryn. And so our happy little group continues to grow. If you have other friends you’d like to invite, just let me know!

(When I showed this to my officemate she said, “Wow, a graph theory problem.” We’ll talk about that later.)

Where are we?
All over. From Texas to California to Montana to London. We can create a Frappr map to show us. Here’s what one looks like – this is actually a map for The Absent Minded Professor. You can map yourself by following a link and adding your name and a picture, if you like. When you’re viewing the map, you can click on a map pin you and learn about the member who lives there. Take a minute and try it out – it’s fun and easy. Just follow the link on the right called ‘Our Frappr Group’.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Following Jen's lead...'s my intro/post.

I'm Ann. I know Jen, Mary and Karon from college - (respectively - roommate, suitemate and see Jen's post). I'm now a family physician in the Air Force (for a few more months) living in Florida. I have a 3 year old daughter and a one month old son (born 2 months prematurely when I was at a conference in Colorado last month... a very long story). My husband is a stay-at-home dad, and also is a reservist in the Air Force (a "Hurricane Hunter").

So, my nightstand (nomadic as it is these days) contains only Zadie Smith's "On Beauty" - I heard her talk on NPR and thought she sounded intriguing (like Mary, I can't spell either!). These days, I mostly only get to read while attached to the other inhabitant of my nightstand... the breast pump. Moo.

I've been so inundated by medical stuff for so many years, that this is a welcome forum for more right-brained interaction! Yay! Thanks so much Karon for the invite! ( And, btw, concerning your Everquest post... the IRS has decided that acquiring and selling islands in cyberspace constitutes taxable income.... yet another NPR factoid from my commute to work.)

Are yal still on the Gabrial Garcia Marquez book?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Bedside Table (AKA Night stand)

Oh I love those English-American linguistic differences, but I knew exactly what you meant by night stand:-)

I have just scared myself, pulling out all the books hiding in, on & around my night stand (my piano is also an extension of the nightstand when I run out of space). So in no particular order there is last couple of issues of UK Vogue, latest Jamie Oliver's Italian cook book, if you've never caught this guy, he's a UK Celebrity Chef and a fine one at that, Kings & Queen's of Britain (I love this book, it a small reference to all the monarchs of Britain), The Lion in the North (history of Scotland), In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great - Michael Wood, Herodotus - The Histories (can you see a theme developing here?), Alexander Dumas - The Man in the Iron Mask. Mark Ridley's Mendel's Demon & a whole host of various pianoforte books (from Beethoven to the Beatles). Oh and of course our latest read too.

And to add something different into the mix, I am currently listening to Johnny Cash's American IV: The Man Comes Around. I went to see "Walk the Line" last week, what an amazing movie. I'm totally getting into Johnny Cash now, the guy is just so cool, but not quiet as cool as Ray Charles. Have a top weekend :-) I am off to a freestyle jive night this evening to blow away the cobwebs of the working week.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Eco and Me

Still trying to show you my dog and me. He's my furry shadow and loves to chase deer.


Ever Heard of EverQuest?

EverQuest is a massively multi-person online role playing game or MMORPG. In this game, players create a character, earn money, buy property, magic wands, etc and generally try improve their position in the ‘world’. The game has become so popular that players sell their accomplishment (swords, potions, land,…) on eBay. Some companies in China actually hire kids to play the game and then sell the make-believe items the kids acquire. Another company, a maker of a different game, turned this model around by auctioning off key pieces of property themselves. One island went for $30,000. And the player who bought – for real cash – has already turned a profit by selling or leasing mineral rights, hunting rights, etc. People – who are way more addicted to the internet than I am – ‘live’ in this synthetic online world. Many people spend over 40 hours a week playing these games and another large group plays every chance they can get.

I’m learning about all this in a new book I’m reading called Synthetic Worlds: the Economics of Online Gaming. It came in my Amazon package with The Whores.

AMQ – we can exchange Graham Greene novels if you like! I agree, Reading Lolita in Tehran is excellent.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Here I am...

Karen, thanks for the reminder. I would probobly have gone on reading all the interesting posts for weeks... On my nightstand is a compilation of Strawberry Shortcake shorts, just little teasers really, and a mechanical pencil. I just finished 'The Broker' and am reading 'Freakanomics' which everyone has to read right away, just a great book. Also, have four renovation mags and the best all time magazine 'Dwell', a must have for the modern woman. Usually an old sippy cup or two and an empty wine glass depending on what kind of day I am having. Looking forward to reading with everyone - heads up, I am a terrible speller, will make all kinds of dyslexic mistakes, but don't feel sorry for me. I am comfortable with my flaws.
Love ya.

Night Stand

The last two issues of the New Yorker...interesting article about the resurgence of absinthe. Scary article about Iran and nukes...And a great short story called the Bone Game...for some reason reminded me of Thom Hughes

Public Library

Hi, all I feel like I'm sneeking up on you since I havent really introduced myself yet. I did however just set foot inside the public library, after years of absence. They were wonderful. I have just recieved an email that my Portuguese Language tutorial cds are ready for pick up. I'm so excited, I wish I knew how to say "ciao"

It's only 115 pages.

That's my shameless attempt to convince all those girlfriends of mine who keep telling me they don't have time for a book club to try this book at least. It's so can you not? Plus, it's filled with crazy-wonderful little sentences like, "The house, like all brothels at dawn, was the closest thing to paradise." So, yes, there is a lot of 'manness' in it, but...

For those of you out there for whom this novel's brevity is not a selling point, read some more of Gabo's work. I picked up his autobiography (currently sitting on my nightstand). A momma can always hold out the hope that there will be time enough to get to it before our discussion has moved on to something else.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Chaos on the Nightstand

Everything seems to accumulate there! Multiple pairs of reading glasses, Netflix disks, hand lotions, wine glasses, coffee cups...maybe I should get out more!

"In the Shadow of the Wind"...I don't want to finish it because I will miss my characters too much!
"Reading Lolita in Tehran"...I've read it twice so far and will probably have to read it again. It's so beautifully done, and complex!
" de Kooning An American Master" A bio of the painter..fascinating!
"To Timbuktu A journey down the Niger"...Haven't read it yet...but given to me by a young man who really loved it.

The latest issue of Science magazine, an old issue of In Style :-) Typical of me...a bit out of date...

One of the best books that I read last year was "The Quiet American" by Graham Greene. Completely absorbing. I definitely want to read more of his books, this was the first I had read.

One of the worst books that I read this year was Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. Stale plot, empty characters, and sophmoric. Anybody else read it?

Jen...I would love to get together next time you are in Bozeman...or perhaps we will meet this summer in Austin!


Monday, March 13, 2006

My Nightstand (and a Plug for your Local Public Library!)

I just finished my nightstand book, The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, last night. I highly recommend it--it's a true account of the author's unexpected and devastating loss of her husband; sort of a deconstruction of grief and the grieving process. Very interesting to be expecting the birth of my baby girl literally any minute now and to be reading about loss. Also on my nightstand: Parents magazine and the latest issue of Vanity Fair. My sister gave everyone magazine subscriptions for birthdays this year, and her pick for me was Vanity Fair, which I have really enjoyed, along with my other guilty pleasure, InStyle. I love relishing a new magazine. I always flip through it, page by page, in sequential order, until I reach the end. Sometimes it takes awhile with my hectic life, but I never skip around until I've paged through the whole thing once.

Memories of My Meloncholy Whores is on my hold list at the branch of the San Antonio Public Library close to my house and should arrive in a couple of days. Y'all have GOT to join (and support) your local library. I am such a fan! In case you haven't stepped foot in a public library in years (I hadn't until recently), everything is automated now. It's amazing! I go on to the library website, tell them to reserve a copy of the books I want, and then go pick up a stack of books reserved for me when they are ready (usually a couple of days). If it is taking me a little longer to read the book, I can recheck it on line. If it's something I can't get into, I take it back and get something else. If it's something that I would never read again, I don't have a copy shoved on a shelf in my house. Sometimes you have to wait awhile for the title you want (it took a long time for Didion's book to come in for me because it is so popular), but it's easy and it's FREE. And they have audiobooks, DVDs, and CDs to boot. I was an amazon addict. Now I'm a public library junkie.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

What's on YOUR Nightstand?

I am still waiting for my package from Amazon to arrive. I’m making do with small teasers by Jen and reading what’s already on my bedside table.

One of these is Graham Greene’s Travels with My Aunt, the only book he has “written for the fun of it,” he says. It is the story of an aging, lonely, retired bank manager, who generally prefers dahlias to people, and who meets his aunt for the first time at his mother’s funeral. At his aunt's insistence they explore the world from Paris to Istanbul, traveling with hippies, criminals and CIA agents. I’m not sure where Aunt Augusta’s adventures will take them next or whether they will once again be able to escape the trouble they create, but I'm looking forward to finding out. It’s an excellent book; I highly recommend it.

Also on my nightstand is Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady. I pulled this off the shelf during a recent frugal spell, when I refused to buy anything new. (I think I bought this at a used bookstore in college.) I'm a sucker for the language, and I don't mind the interminable descriptions, but I am truly captivated by the characters. They are so convincingly brought to life that I can imagine having afternoon tea with them at my home, where they would no doubt look down their noses at my furniture. Their disgust at being forced to sit on a futon, or worse a bean bag, would be palpable. I find myself rooting for our heroine, wishing she’d accept this marriage proposal instead of that, but she fails to heed my advice. When I tire of life's goal consisting of successful match-making, I set this book down and move on to a third.

The Economist magazine sits there ruffled and partially read, as does Texas Monthly and Southern Living. You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the girl! There are also a couple of books on writing, Zinsser’s and King’s. And right now there’s a new book relentlessly beckoning me, which I struggle to resist. It’s Allegra Goodman’s new novel Intuition. You might remember Allegra’s other books, insightful stories about the lives of Jewish families in America. This one, however, is altogether different. It is set in a research lab, where intriguing and sympathetic characters purportedly struggle with the ethical complexities of their work. So far, it’s received rave reviews.

With Graham Greene’s novel almost finished, and UPS claiming that my Melancholy Whores won’t be here till Friday, I just might succumb to temptation and follow my Intuition.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Karon told me to...

move my introduction from a comment to an actual post, so here it is again in all it's glory.

Hello everyone. I'm Jen, art teacher, mother of two girls (2 and 5), stepmom to another (7), and wife to one sexy Dominican man. I've known Karon since our college days at Trinity when I found her 'helping' Mary with her math homework. I love my family and like my job, but intellectually I've got the stuck-in-suburbia-can-we-chat-about-something-other-than-our-kids blues and am truly looking forward to this reader's group.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Good Morning Folks

Hi I'm Mel, I live over the other side of The Pond just outside of London with my sister and my cat Jake. I used to work with Karon & Anne Marie. I've always got a book with me, and I think I am reading at least 3 at anyone time. In fact I don't think there has been a time when I have not had at least two books on the go. I once read a Wilbur Smith novel cover to cover on a flight from Sydney to London :-) I'm currently reading "Watching the English" by Kate Fox, which is an anthropologist's guide to understand us English folk. Right must go order that book from Amazon.

and the title is...

Hi Ladies (and Steve).

Karon left it up to me to choose the book for our first month. You need to know that I'm a recovering magical realism addict and all the pressure of such a choice caused me to fall off the wagon and choose a book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Here's the synopsis.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Memories of My Melancholy Whores: A consistently delicious fable about an old man who wants to sleep with a virgin before he dies. Upon recruiting a 14-year-old, he can't bear to wake the exhausted girl and gradually falls in love with her. She sleeps through every one of their trysts, which only causes his love to grow.

Hope you enjoy it (or not--maybe the discussion will be better if you don't).

Amazon has cheap used copies.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Hi, I'm Kelly

I'm a wife, mom (to a two-year-old daugther and due ANY DAY with our second daughter), stepmom (to twin 7-year-old boys who I have known since they were 3 1/2), and labor & employment lawyer living in San Antonio, Texas. I have always had a passion for literature and look forward to reading with all of you!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

My name is Karon

I'm a college professor in sunny San Diego. I love to read, but my real forte is math.


Please introduce yourself to the group.