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Thursday, October 18, 2007

What I'm Reading

I decided to add the "Library Thing" widget to my sidebar, which I freely admit to pilfering from Jessica's blog. Every so often I've toyed with the idea of blogging about the book I'm currently reading in order to demonstrate how eclectically hip I am, and since this is one of those rare instances when I'm not in the midst of a Asimov/Harry Potter/Tom Clancy book I thought this would be the perfect occasion.

I'm in the middle of The Amazing Story of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, and I have to confess that all I knew about him prior to reading this book was that his wife, Ayelet Waldman, got into some hot water a few years back for writing that she loved him more than their kids.

After spending some time with this book (which means little since I'm such a slow reader), I'm starting to develop an attachment to Chabon of my own. This is a great, great book. I don't really know what it is about, but it makes me feel proud. Proud to be an American, where anything is possible, where you can get off a boat with nothing in your pocket and build an empire, proud to be a Jew, Europe's purge of which led to the end of culture and enlightenment on that darkening continent, proud to have grown up as a scrawny New York kid who read and drew comic books.

This book seems to be about all of that, and maybe more. It's about the American Dream. And at this rate, I may actually finish it in less than six months!


BrooklynWolf said...

Cool! I wasn't aware of LibraryThing, but that's exactly the sort of tool I've been looking for. For a while I've wanted to put up a list of books that I've been reading.


The Wolf

Fern Chasida said...

Hey there - I'm a voracious reader and I love library thing too. I read Chabon's Yiddish Policemen's Union which I didn't like. Everyone who saw me reading it though said did you read Kavalier and Clay. No. So over the summer I read it and enjoyed it very much. It's long but worth it.

Shira Salamone said...

It's the "car culture." I've always said that I wouldn't get a darn bit of reading done if I didn't spend half my life on the subway.

On the other hand, auto owners get to listen to music during their commute without the subway's commotion in their ears.

RaggedyMom said...

My mother read it, and I remember her really liking it. I do really enjoy books that are uplifting like that. Unfortunately, these days, I fall asleep if I read anything longer than a magazine article like "How to Check Your Child for Ticks".

I'm proud that your 'Proud' sentence is 63 words long.

Jacob Da Jew said...

You have so much crap on your sidebar, it took me 3 seconds to find it.

Maybe you should let the PT run the blog for the day.

I'm sure she'll clean it up nicely.

PsychoToddler said...

BW: Don't say I never gave you anything.

Fern: Welcome to the blog! The only reason I started reading the book is because someone gave it to me.

Shira: Very interesting point. You make a good argument for mass transit.

RM: To call it a long runon sentence would be inaccurate. It's really just a series of long, disjointed sentence fragments. But hey, grammatically correct text is Bohring.

I also have trouble staying awake when I read. Maybe I shouldn't try to read. In bed. On shabbos. After a big meal. And a few glasses of wine.

JDJ: Everybody's a critic!

the apple said...

My mother also really liked Kavalier and Clay, except she was surprised to see that it's about the Holocaust (she had asked someone to recommend a book that *specifically* didn't have any Holocaust stories, but the person missed that part of the request I guess).

I thought Michael Chabon was married to the woman who wrote The History of Love. Weird.

yellojkt said...

Because you don't have enough in your sidebar yet.

I've tried to read "Kavalier and Clay" a couple of times, but just can't stick with it.

Baila said...


Just to let you know that when I started driving to work I started to listen to books on tape--and loved it. Now I'm not working and miss listening to my books.

Doctor Bean said...

I have an idea. Have a poll about what to drop from your sidebar.

There are a couple of things there that were sweet thoughts at the time that may have outlived their utility.

PsychoToddler said...

Well, I could get rid of the Theme Song. That thing hasn't worked in months! Although I put some work into it (like 10 minutes as I recall) and I'd like to find a similar widget that actually works. But that wouldn't solve your problem.

Is there a way to make the labels into a drop-down menu?

I'm not getting rid of any of my self-promotional stuff!

All of the other things near the top are modules that people told me I "need to have at the top."

(You may have noticed I moved the web ads to a banner)

... Is the Window to Our Soul said...

Do books on tape count?

Ralphie said...

This book always sounds like it would be right up my alley. But for some reason I could never get it into it.

If only I'd learned to read.

Speaking of your Library Thing widget, how was The Hebrew Kid? My daughter loved it, and was excited to walk by the house of the author a few shabbats ago...

PsychoToddler said...

Jaime: Count for what? Reading? Beats me. It's literature though. I guess whatever you can add to Library Thing counts.

Ralphie: I guess the book really speaks to me on many levels. I happen to come from that background. I have a European family that was very cultured and was utterly destroyed by the Nazis. Can you imagine what kind of contributions my family could have made if left alone? The ones that survived are incredibly talented.

My father was one of those kids who sold newspapers on the corners in NYC. He read comics voraciously. He had a business printing trading cards. I recall finding sheets and sheets of those things in the basement as a kid. He always had one scheme or another.

And yes, I used to draw my own comic books, and I sold them to unsuspecting classmates.

I just love everything about that book. So far. I'm only half-way through. I like how the real-life story of the pair is almost as unbelievable as the stories they publish. But isn't that the point?

I just got Robert Avrech's book so it's next on the queue. Expect a full review soon.

I'm toying with the idea of letting Iguana (my 11 year old) do a review. What do you think?

Shira Salamone said...

That's a great idea! I hope Iguana thinks so, too.

Ralphie said...

I second the Iguana notion.

As for the sidebar... you have a little room on the left as well, you know...

m in mke said...

What is up with the gratuitous web ads? PT never needed them to make money before; wasn't MSB and Kabbalah paying the bills?

PsychoToddler said...

Shira: I'm just not sure if Mr. Avrech would appreciate a review by an 11 year old who thinks that Strong Bad is the epitomy of sophistication. Then again, I'm not sure if he'll appreciate a review by a 41 year who thinks Strong Bad is the epitome of sophistication.

Ralphie: I'm toying with the idea of expanding into the left column, but I'm not sure if that will screw up my formatting.

Mort: The web ads were in the side bar for quite some time, but everybody was whining about how much scrolling they have to do (how much effort does it REALLY take, hm?) so I moved it up to the top.

And to answer your question, sadly, my sales of Rock of Sages are pitifully low and do not pay for my server fees. And I have yet to receive a dime from Snocap so I opted out of that.

Anyone who wants the Kabbalah albums can email me privately.

BTW you're still tagged for that meme.

mort said...

I know. But transcribing my thoughts to Word or Notepad and then converting to HTML and then uploading to my webpage server - well that takes a lot more time and effort than simply pecking away on a keyboard in Blogger or what have you. Do you really think simplicity would convert me?

PsychoToddler said...

Well it certainly makes a good argument for itself.