Book Recommendation: Laurie Colwin Really is So Good

I was stuck on ferries and buses and the SkyTrain today, coming back from a few days with my parents, and decided on a whim to re-read Laurie Colwin’s Happy All The Time (apparently The Crying of Lot 49 and To A Mountain in Tibet–the books I’d meant to read–were not quite doing it for me). I have a crush on someone, and my current emotional state is “it probably won’t work out, but at least I’ve discovered I’m not actually dead inside,” and Happy All the Time suits that perfectly.

I first read this a few months ago, and it totally holds up on a second go-around. It’s a wonderful romantic satire; it really is just so much fun to watch two men face their confusion and helplessness when confronted by two women who are truly individuals, and not merely “women.” Colwin’s wit is so sharp, and yet so warm. There is a great heart, and a great optimism, to this book that is totally at odds with the current socio-political mood, and yet it remains utterly beguiling.

Also, Happy All the Time is one of the few e-books I own (I really do prefer paper, but the iPad comes in handy now and again), and at the end, it has a fun little biographical section with photographs.

How perfect is this sullen teenager look that Miss Colwin is rocking? Of course you’d be utterly scornful of your mom seeing you off on your tour to Europe while your dad snaps photos like a freakin’ dork.

Home Cooking is marvellous, too, and now I need to read everything Laurie Colwin has ever written.

Link 37: A Good List of Good Long Books

This round up of 26 Very Long Books Worth the Time They’ll Take to Read includes my all-time fave, Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon. Calling it a “glorious mess in a career of glorious messes” is a very, very perfect description.

(And yes, I’ve read enough of the books on that list to make me feel just a little smug.)

Vacation Reading

So, apparently I’m going on a trip next week! I still can’t quite believe it’s real… although you’d think all the hours I spent scouring the internet for the perfect resort (and the hour I spent at Swimco pouring myself in bathing suits) would maybe have proved it to me. The trip is a birthday present from my unbelievably generous parents, and I am just so grateful to them. They left the choice of destination up to me, and while a trip to an all-inclusive isn’t normally my thing, once my mom suggested it, I decided to embrace the luxury. This is my chance to enjoy something I’d never pay for myself. On Monday, I head off to the Dominican Republic for a whole week at the Excellence El Carmen resort in Punta Cana!

Here’s what I’m going to read while I’m away… books

The Hothouse by the East River by Muriel Spark. Selected because Muriel Spark, and because it sounds creepy and fun. Plus it’s a nice slim volume for slipping into my bag.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. I haven’t read enough Woolf, and that’s something worth fixing.

Fonzie, Fonzie Superstar by William Johnston. My friend Meg sent this to me for my birthday. If nothing else the cover is 10/10, and I’m sure it’ll be a fun read when it’s too hot to think.

The Old Patagonian Express by Paul Theroux. I like Theroux. I like trains. Picking this one up at Pulp Fiction was a no-brainer.

A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit. I did consider getting Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me but decided that I didn’t need to die of a poolside rage stroke. This Field Guide seems like a more appropriate vacation selection.

I want to dig into all of these right now, of course! But first there’s laundry, and tidying, and packing…

Link 24: On Gin

Recently, something I read (a post on Mason Dixon Knitting, maybe?) linked to the blog Desperate Reader. I wasn’t super interested in that particular link, but the blog name and tone set my spidey senses tingling, and I was pretty sure a scroll through the archives would pay off. And boy did it ever: a whole series of gin reviews, paired with books! How perfect!

At the moment, I’m enjoying a bottle of Unruly Gin from the Wayward Distillation House–sent over on my birthday by my oldest brother (thank you, Andrew!)–but once that’s run dry and it’s time to refill the tantalus, I am definitely going to take a close look at DR’s picks. Hopefully some of her UK-based choices will be available in Canada.


Link 10

First off: happy screams that Jane Marie is on The Hairpin! There is a The-Toast-dot-net-sized hole in my heart (that is, a gaping chest wound) since the site shuttered earlier this summer, but The Hairpin has had some good moments lately, and seeing Jane Marie back there is a good one.

Second: I totally scoffed at the concept–after all, I wear a lot of denim–but the sketches and outfits look cute.

Third: but does she only draw thin women?

I’d like to flip through this book once, but don’t feel the need to own it.

You Might Actually Want This Book About How To Wear Jeans (The Hairpin)