Friday, April 21, 2006

My New Affair

It's true. I tried to get into Steinbeck in the past, but just couldn't. I'm not sure why. Just one of those things. I remember reading the short classics in high school (The Pearl; Of Mice & Men), but it all stopped there and they were required reading. A few years ago I purchased The Grapes of Wrath. It is still on my shelf. Maybe I read one or two pages once, but wasn't moved.

How can I explain then that I've now fallen for him?

I was at Borders a few weeks back and browsed his section of the store. The books all looked lovely - the titles, colors, and different editions. I purchased Cannery Row. I started it earlier this week and just finished last night. My new affair is official. I was swept away by the language, the depth and poignancy of the characters, the California landscape...

Yesterday I browsed his area at my workplace. I brought home To an Unknown God and Travels with Charley: In Search of America.

I do hope the affair continues. I've been so busy lately and feeling a bit numb and overwhelmed. When I sit outside with Steinbeck though, I feel like the real me. The true book gypsy.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Murder, Revenge, and Electronic Resources

Joyce Carol Oates' use of language is often wonderfully dark and poetic. I read her first for her use of lanuage and second for the dark undercurrent. I couldn't resist buying and reading The Female of the Species: Tales of Mystery and Suspense. Reviews I have read on this new collection often comment on Oates' ability to show how the "weaker" sex may be the darker - in terms of murder and revenge. Not sure that I agree. Nearly all of the females in these stories were first victimized by males, but there are those who simply act on their own.

Two of the most chilling and well-crafted stories are the final ones: "Angel of Wrath" and "Angel of Mercy," with the latter, a tale of a nurse who finds it necessary to perform God's work in the hospital, being, dare I say it, delightfully disturbing. "Hunger," a story that follows the tragic repercussions of a woman's extra-marital affair, is full of all the suspense, tragedy, and longing that makes you unable to stop reading. I wouldn't pick this up if you are feeling depressed, unless reading such things somehow helps your own psyche.

Using a completely different area of my brain, I read, processed, evaluated, and submitted my review of Vicki L. Gregory's Selecting and Managing Electronic Resources: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians (2006) to Serials Review. Overall, the manual would be a great addition to a new electronic resources librarian's bookshelf. What I reviewed is the revised edition, which has been updated enough to justify the purchase. One plus is the significantly enhanced bibliography that I've already dug into a little.