My Polysyllabic Spree

So, why did I buy the books I bought this weekend? Well, I made a planned stop at Half Price Books in Round Rock on Sunday, though I didn’t have any specific books in mind to buy. It was one of those let’s-see-what-I-can-find moments that makes book-buying so fun. All of the books I bought Sunday are novels that I hope to read at some point in my 100 novels reading project.

Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham: Last year at about this time I read a review of this novel in the Austin American-Statesman and the review intrigued me enough to generate interest in reading the novel. I like Cunningham’s short stories, but wasn’t quite as floored by The Hours as, say, the Pulitzer committee was, though the film version was well done. At the time I read the Statesman’s review I was dating someone who read a lot of horror and fantasy and science fiction, and I was interested in getting back into reading science fiction. Specimen Days is supposed to have some elements of science fiction in it. So, we’ll see what comes of it when I get around to reading it.

Guided Tours of Hell by Francine Prose: This is a book on Jane Smiley’s 100 novels list in Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel. I love Prose’s work. Last fall I read her novel Blue Angel about sexual harassment on campus, and it’s bitingly funny, a strong satire of relatively contemporary campus sexual codes and some interesting observations about relationships between men and women in general. I’m looking forward to reading Prose again. And what a perfect name for a writer.

How to be Good by Nick Hornby: My friend suggested Polysyllabic Spree and loaned it to me and set me off on this additional reading project. I thought I’d try one of Hornby’s novels and add it to my 100 novels list. This particular book appeared to be fairly recent. I’m also curious now as to why I keep typing "Horny" rather than "Hornby"?

Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry: I just finished reading McMurtry’s collection of essays on Texas In A Narrow Grave. The first essay in that collection is on the filming of Hud, which is based on Horseman. I want to read the novel and then rent the movie and see which I like. I also plan to reread The Last Picture Show at some point, a novel that’s immensely important to me; it unveiled my ambivalence toward small-town Texas, particularly the small town in which I spent the longest amount of time, Academy. The movie is also one of my favorite films. I think it’s beautifully done.

What I’m reading now: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, as part of my 100 novels project. The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby, loaned to me by a friend.  



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