My cousin and I are in a Turkey Trot race.
We’re racing to finish two science fiction books between now and Thanksgiving.
That’s because I recently bought two hardcover SF novels, William Gibson’s The Peripheral ($28.95) and David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks ($30)..
“I can read them and then give them as Christmas gifts,” I said chirpily to the clerk.
But then I had a spark of genius.
My cousin Megan and I are competing to lessen our cooking responsibilities. The loser has to “make” the pies. That means picking them up at the Village Inn.
“It will be a blast,” I said confidently.
Megan, a librarian who flaunts the fact that she doesn’t read (“Librarianship is just a job”) and mocks Library of Congress classifications (“The Luminaries is shelved in the mystery section”), does in fact read science fiction.
She even went to WorldCon, a science fiction convention, a few years ago in Chicago. “It was a drunken weedy blast.” She dressed up as a character from an SF novel, went to a panel on “Are you a Dickhead?” (about Philip K. Dick), did science fiction origami, and toured the Science and Industry Museum.
William Gibson is a fast,brilliant writer, and. I adored Zero History, an SF thriller about postmodern marketing, fashion brands, and corrupt American military contractors. It is the third of a trilogy, but can be read as a standalone.
And David Mitchell’s new novel, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize this year, is a shoo-in for folks who belittle science fiction but will read anything reviewed by James Wood. In other words, it is a perfect Christmas gift.
I’m also reading Proust, so I’ll be very surprised if I win this contest, and Megan reminds me that she has a full life watching TV, though our favorite “Selfie” was canceled.
Who will win?
Probably both of us, or none.
Laurie Colwin News: Laurie Colwin’s brilliant books, among them her novel Happy All the Time and her charming cookbook, Home Cooking, have been published as e-books by Open Road Media. Check out their webpage on her life and work.
I wrote of her masterpiece, Family Happiness:
Those of you who have read Laurie Colwin’s wonderful fiction and charming cookbooks will understand what brings me back again and again to her masterpiece, Family Happiness. This slender, quirky novel is a comic version of Anna Karenina, as might have been written by Jane Austen, with many comic twists, much confusion, and ultimately triumph for the heroine.
William McPherson, author of the American classic, Testing the Current (NYBR), has written a harrowing essay about poverty in old age at The Hedgehog Review. Since his retirement from The Washington Post, he has descended into poverty.
…Like a lot of other people, I started life comfortably middle-class, maybe upper-middle class; now, like a lot of other people walking the streets of America today, I am poor. To put it directly, I have no money. Does this embarrass me? Of course, it embarrasses me—and a lot of other things as well. It’s humiliating to be poor, to be dependent on the kindness of family and friends and government subsidies. But it sure is an education.
On a lighter note, here is a charming Abebooks article about a 20-year-old book club in Vancouver.
And here’s my question: Why did my favorite new sitcom, “Selfie,” get canceled? Entertainment Weekly analyzes it.
And here is a link to my favorite episode of “Selfie”: