Utah, Here I Come! or Three Things

First of all, I’m heading to Salt Lake City, Utah for the fourth Winter Institute bright and early tomorrow morning. The ABA (American Booksellers Association) began this conference four years ago as a chance for booksellers to meet each other and to learn without the chaos of Book Expo. I’m pretty excited to be going, even if I have to get up at 4:30am for my flight. The most important question of course is what books will I bring with me to read? Here’s what I’m bringing:

I’m torn right now because I’m in the middle of Lilith’s Brood by Octavia Butler (see sidebar) and really enjoying it. Her work is so dark! And I have to complain about the cover, which makes it look like a romance novel. The reawakening of the human race by an alien race after humans annihilated themselves is not exactly a romance.

Second, I disagree with Michiko Kakutani’s review of T.C. Boyle’s new book The Women in the Times today. She calls it dreary, a “small, cheesy paint-by-numbers soap opera”. I can’t say that I liked all of the characters in the book (yes, I know they’re based on real people but they’re still characters in a novel) but I didn’t find it either of those things. Also, why is she reviewing it now? It’s got a strict on sale date of February 10th! That’s very annoying for booksellers who have to field all the requests from customers for a book they can’t sell yet.

And finally, John Updike?! What? I’m shocked. I wasn’t aware that he had lung cancer. I don’t know what to say.

4 thoughts on “Utah, Here I Come! or Three Things

  1. Emily Russo Murtagh

    I’ve only read 17 pages of THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, but I’m hooked. 100 pages into THE SELECTED WORKS OF T.S. SPIVET. I’m liking it, but am not as engaged as I’d hoped to be. Reserving final judgment until I finish it.

    Happy reading.


  2. John

    Have a great trip Megan. I’m not going this year unfortunately. Enjoy the dinner with Peter Rock and let me know what you think of My Abandonment!

    The cow will be ready when you return…




  3. ed

    Granted, THE WOMEN does have its problems (the third part doesn’t possess the zest and wonderful bite of the first), but Michiko is completely off the mark with that review. It’s a complete misread even by Michko standards. The whole point is that the novel is told from the perspective of an unpublished novelist translating an apprentice architect who wasn’t there to observe it all. Which is interesting, because we never really have a sense of Frank’s cruelty, EXCEPT through this third-hand/fourth-hand perspective. A game of Chinese whispers (or possibly Japanese whispers). The sadness of Miriam becomes as gargantuan as the gossip hounds on the trail. And elitism that is likewise distilled from the result. That reverence for a cruel man can be filtered through so many prisms says much about the great power of FLW’s shadow, and the way that history offers a constant corrective impulse.


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