what are you reading now
How They Were Found by Matt Bell, The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson, Judith Thurman’s biography of Isak Dinesen, instructions on how to cook a turkey without poisoning anyone.
last book you finished in a single sitting
Kate Walbert’s A Short History of Women. It really is short. And very lovely.
book you borrowed and never returned
I adhere to Polonius’s advice and never borrow nor lend books. Though I buy a lot of books as gifts. I am a dog-earer, a spine-cracker, a snacker-while-reading, so I don’t dare borrow anything. I also try to be familiar, but by no means vulgar.
most scribble-ridden book in your collection
All of my books are scribbled-in and post-it-noted. The one most bedecked is probably Dracula, simply because I teach it a lot and I find it inspires confidence in the class if a sheaf of multicolored notes protrudes from the book. I used to keep all of my lecture notes and discussion prompts and historical asides written into the back pages of the book and when they got too long for that, written onto notecards that perpetually drifted out of the book and ended up all over campus. Then I remembered I had a computer.
book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone
I often load my coffee table with self-help books (What Would Keith Richards Do?: Daily Affirmations from a Rock and Roll Survivor), cleaning manuals (The Pixie Solution: Tips on Relationships, Sex, Death, and Keeping the House Clean), and cookbooks (The Bacon Cookbook: More than 150 Recipes from Around the World for Everyone's Favorite Food) just so people think that at least I am making an effort. Actually, I don’t have a coffee table, but if I did, this would be my strategy.
best thing you’ve read online recently
SYNAPSE: The Weblog of Catherine Bloom by Alex Rose. I’ve been sure for a while that hypertext is dead, but this is reviving my youthful fancies.
most anticipated upcoming release
I just ordered My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales, edited by Kate Bernheimer, boasting an amazing line-up of writers. I also can’t wait to read Karen Russell’s first novel Swamplandia! She is doing interesting stuff with absurdity and fable.
recommended reading list:
Books Featuring Sex Scenes between Cyborgs and Humans
- He, She, and It by Marge Piercy—romance meets circuitry and virtual space. Strangely affecting.
- Looking for the Mahdi by N. Lee Wood—a female journalist passes as a man and cozies up to her android companion in the Middle East. What more could you ask for?
- The Diamond Age by Neil Stephenson—this is a stretch, but one of the characters does disappear into an organic/electronic tube-womb-tunnel thing that keeps him in state of orgasmic bliss for ten years, so I’m claiming it. Plus, it is one of the most inventive coming-of-age stories out there.
- Neuromancer by William Gibson—of course.