Saturday, August 19, 2006

T.C. Boyle, John Cheever, and other tidbits

I recently picked up a copy of The Stories of John Cheever at my local used bookstore and placed it in my very large TBR pile. Since then I have picked it up multiple times with every intention of getting started, only to be distracted by another book, work, mischievous pets, bill paying, etc. During my car ride home from work on Thursday, I heard the following on NPR: On Learning to Appreciate John Cheever's Stories by T.C. Boyle. The Tortilla Curtain being one of my favorite books, I was immediately intrigued by what Boyle had to say. I particularly enjoyed the following quote:

"Few prose writers can touch Cheever for the painterly precision of his descriptions, and the reward of them too -- his characters, locked in the struggles of suburban and familial angst, regularly experience moments of transcendence and rebirth in nature."

Boyle's quote, combined with my retired-English teacher father's advice, after teaching for many years in those Westchester suburbs Cheever writes about in several of his stories, has convinced me to move Cheever's collection of short stories to the top of my TBR pile once again.

After reading Danielle's blog this week, I've been motivated by her to crack open some of those classics that I too have been acquiring, but have never made the time to read. Trips to the library this week have added The Count of Monte Cristo to my pile as well. I also picked up a copy of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I have The Moonstone on reserve. Next, I will be trying to get my hands on a copy of Bram Stoker's Dracula.

While at the library, I also managed to find a copy of The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World, after reading about it on another blogger's site. I was very happy to see that The Boston Athenaeum made the list. I have been meaning to get there for months as it is within driving distance of my home. As soon as their weekend hours start up again this fall, I will be making that visit and hopefully purchasing a membership. The pictures in the book are amazing- I will probably buy my own copy just to have on display in my living room :)

Another book I came across this week was Read it and Eat: A Month-by-Month Guide to Scintillating Book Club Selections and Mouthwatering Menus. Considering I am in two book clubs, and actually just hosted one last night, I grabbed this off the shelf for future menu ideas. A fun book, with a good selection of genres and recipes to accompany each month's selections. Perhaps another book I may want to own. Last night's book club read The Memory Keeper's Daughter, which begins in Lexington, Kentucky. If I had known about Read It and Eat sooner, maybe I would have served some Kentucky bourbon pecan pie, instead of my usual cheese and fruit platter and chocolate brownies. There's always next time I guess.


Danielle said...

Excellent classics selections! :) For once I can actually say I have read them all and loved them! I am especially a Wilkie Collins fan!! I have heard good things about John Cheever, too. I am trying to read more short stories, so I will have to check him out. And the kentucky bourban pecan pie sounds yummy!

Courtney said...

Ah, I think you will really enjoy Dracula. It's one of my all-time favourite vampire books (what do you expect, really? It is like THE vampire book). I did find it a little frustrating at times to read the women's points of view, because of the period the book was written and the fact that it was written by a man... Just the way some things were perceived or phrased.... but other than that, it's such a fabulous book.