Sunday, November 25, 2007

A bookish update

I'd love to post about knitting, but (1) I haven't finished much of anything, and (2) I can't post about anything I'm working on, since I'm mostly working on gifts.

But I have been reading a great deal! Multiple two-hour flight delays really help one run through the books. I am now up to eight 33 1/3 books read this year (almost 1/3 of the total books I've read), the most recent being Scott Plagenhoef's about Belle & Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister. If you like Belle & Sebastian, this is worth picking up, even if you've read This is Just a Modern Rock Story (which I have); it's more a history of being a fan of Belle & Sebastian back in the early days, and how finding out about them is different than how people find out about bands these days. For an editor at Pitchfork, Plagenhoef's awfully down on the cycle of discovering music online.

I read David Lodge's The Art of Literature and Francine Prose's Reading Like a Writer concurrently, switching to a few sections of Lodge after finishing a chapter of Prose's book. They're both guides on writing that favor examining passages of famous works, with Prose a little more focused on close reading (chapters focus on words, sentences, and paragraphs, while Lodge's sections break into things like "irony" and "aporia"). I'm not yearning to become an author, but I love reading well-written how-to books, and books about how to write are more likely to be well-written than, say, books about transformations of random variables. Though if you know of a well-written book about those, I'd appreciate it if you could let me know.