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Literary Loft

This is a continuation of the topic Literary Loft.


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Jan 24, 1:39pm Top

The continuing stoooooory....

Jan 24, 4:36pm Top

Thanks, SP.

Jan 30, 8:09pm Top

Super tired and kind of unsettled (for no good reason) so it was fabulous to come home to book packages.

Both Largesse of Sea Maiden and Slow Days, Fast Company are perfect selections. Thanks particularly for the Babitz. I feel like I'm part of the Babitz/BB crew now.


Jan 31, 3:41pm Top

My work is done!

With that, we close the very squirrely Guardian book Swap, Epiphany 2018. Happy reading to all.

Jan 31, 3:53pm Top

And thank you for your leadership, Ms Lauren! May we all have epiphanic reading experiences!

Who wants to join me in reading the Eve Babitz book that we all now own?

Jan 31, 4:24pm Top

I do! I read 70 pages last night in a minor state of ecstasy (seriously -- she's smart and insightful, and gossipy, and witty and knows how to work a sentence). Pus, since the book is strongly rooted in LA it served as an antidote to the -35 (literally - I'm not even counting windchill) weather outside. I read for awhile, then contemplate her fabulousness while stroking the pink cover, read, and repeat.

Lauren, you are wonderful. Thanks again for organizing this. LuAnn and Lauren, thanks for doing double duty on books. I love them all.

Feb 1, 9:56am Top

I'm in. And it was my pleasure, truly.

LuAnn, The Milkman arrived this week. Many thanks.

Feb 2, 4:23pm Top

Thanks all! Im reading the Babitz now and it is great. My past seems so drab in comparison, like I wasted my youth!!

Edited: Feb 2, 4:27pm Top

Mine would not be threesomes with beautiful people and drug fueled car trips up the coast. More like Thelma Lou and Helen Crump buy a nickle bag from a guy with a missing front tooth in Grammercy Park, who takes it out of his sock...

Feb 3, 4:38pm Top

I was wondering why it was taking so long for my indie to get me the new Richard Power book. Called up, and found out that apparently there is a paper shortage! Yikes


Feb 3, 4:46pm Top

>10 cindydavid4: I think that's why my order of the new Edward Gorey bio is still backordered.

Feb 5, 9:37am Top

FYI, Amazon has kindle edition of Babitz’s Black Swans (stories) for $3.99. Don’t know for how long...

Feb 9, 9:53am Top

Life has been kicking my ass the last six months or so, so I know I've been less chatty here than usual, but I have to put this somewhere, and Bookballoon seems like an apropos place.

My dad has finally transitioned into retirement. It's something he's mentioned so often in the past without actually doing that I stopped paying attention to him on the subject. But now it has happened.

One of the first things he said to me about it was "now I have more time to read." Apparently, he has listened wistfully for years to the extended conversations mom and I would have about the books we were reading, the authors we had discovered, the literary subjects that had grabbed our attention. "I've always wanted to read all those books about the presidents you two were talking about," he told me last fall -- meaning Chernow on Washington and Hamilton, McCullough on Adams, Ellis on Jefferson. For most of his professional life dad's reading has been technical-- information technology articles--or leisure -- fast fun hard sci-fi space opera stuff. But I discovered he's been keeping a quiet list of "books Nicki and Jamie (my mom) talk about that I want to read" and now he's started on that list.

So the last few phone conversations my dad and I have had (I have to talk to my folks at least once a week) have been, to my shock, as much about what we are reading as what we are doing. Lately about Spillover, and other books about evolutionary theory and molecular biology. We talked for over an hour about books -- with dad doing most of the talking.

I mean, I always knew there was that guy in him -- the guy who just likes to learn new things. But I hadn't really grasped how...I dunno, constrained it had been to the demands of professional obligations. Suddenly he has all these other things he wants to talk about. When I finally hung up the phone I just sat there, overwhelmed.

Just when I thought I couldn't love my parents more.

Feb 9, 12:44pm Top

That is so great, Nicki.

Feb 9, 3:54pm Top

Wow, and wonderful. New horizons for your dad.

I, too, love "fast fun hard sci-fi space opera stuff."

Feb 9, 4:46pm Top

That's extraordinarily sweet, Nicki.

Feb 9, 10:04pm Top

I enjoyed that, Nicki. It's similar to what I'm experiencing with my dad since my mom passed. He used to be so resistant to foreign movies, but now he's really into them.

Feb 9, 11:52pm Top

Dad died on Valentines Day 1999 at 89, not unexpected but horridly traumatic because the impact always will devastate. I grew up in a reading household ... but it was not any sort of intellectual home. Mother devoured bodice rippers and gothic mysteries. Dad was all about westerns as befits a lad born on a ranch in northeastern Washington state in 1910.

I started reading with those books. Tired of the bodice and gothics around age 12; tired never of Westerns which I read still but, these days, good ones are hard to come by.

Feb 10, 10:54am Top

One of the really interesting things about talking to my dad about books is that he seems to be embarking on a process of changing how he reads. Reading is no precisely longer goal-oriented, like when you have to digest information to pass it on to others or complete a task. Nor is it exactly "escapist" -- meaning, I think, reading without having to do much thinking or absorbing at all.

Instead, dad seems to be relearning how to read deeply, where the point is to surrender himself to the book, instead of forcing it to surrender to him. Being a methodical kind of person, he rates how "well" he reads by how many pages he gets through, and told me he felt "slow" because he was taking so much longer to read a book. That set us off into a long conversation on the different ways we read or have trained ourselves to read, and I ended up talking to him about what it felt like to go from a retail bookstore job, where I had to read a great many books quickly, with a view to summarizing them and recommending them (or not) for many different kinds of customers, to a work-at-home situation where I was much more free to read as my inclinations dictated, without having to justify or convince others why such books were worth reading. I told him my reading, in terms of the number of books I finished, dropped to a third of what I would read as a bookseller, but I didn't feel like I was reading less, just reading more intensively. It was really quite an amazing conversation to have with my dad, to be honest. We've never really talked like that before.

Edited: Feb 10, 11:49am Top

My dad passed away my last year in college. He was always reading, and always encouraged me to read whatever I wanted. I regulary peruse his shelves reading all sorts of other books that were probably over my head, but it didn't matter. We'd go to bookstores all around town. We had some great conversations, and when I cried in the middle of Grapes of Wrath, he said we could read it together and talk. I remember in HS when he told me he read Love Story! It surprised me coz that wasn't something he normally would have read, but he said he did because I loved it so, and it moved him greatly. He introduced me to How Green Was My Valley which I reread so many times And I remember being in Jr Hi 'secretly' reading Valley of the Dolls and later he asked me to let him borrow it, he wanted to try it! Over the years I discovered books that I know he would have loved, and I can never talk with him about it

So tho I am a bit envious and a little sad, I do love all of these dad posts, cause its letting me remember him. Thanks

Feb 10, 11:42am Top

I love that your reading relationship—and clearly your overall relationship—with your dad is changing and growing as he gets older. I really miss both my parents, because both were very literary but I never really had the chance to seriously talk about reading and books to them before they declined. I had more of a chance with my mom, but her gradual dementia coincided with my growing seriousness as a reader and I feel like I missed out (she's not dead yet, but thoroughly unable to hold a conversation, much less read).

I did get to go through the process of growing as a reader with my son, though that's not so unusual—I imagine most reading parents do. But it was a total joy to see him become the strong and serious reader he is now.

Feb 11, 7:36pm Top

>21 lisapeet: I did get to go through the process of growing as a reader with my son, though that's not so unusual—I imagine most reading parents do.

Heh. A couple of weeks ago my brother posted a piece on his blog, "Snufkin's Rucksack" (I love the name) called "My Sister's Bookshelf"


about all the books he used to filch from my room. Mom and Dad saw it and told me "we were over the moon we'd raised kids who loved to read so much they stole books from each other."

Edited: Feb 11, 10:25pm Top

Hi,everyone Haven't been here in a bit but have interacted with several of you on FB. Didn't know where to go but want to pursue Virago reading we discussed on Facebook a few days ago Anybody?

Feb 12, 11:05am Top

As you know, my younger son is incarcerated and one of the things we can send him are books. He's never been much of a reader - to but it mildly - but there is a LOT of down time in the pen and he's been going through thrillers by the week, which is fine by me. I'm sending a steady stream through amazon.

I was never sure he could even follow the plot of a book so it's very gratifying to have a James Patterson novel described in some detail. I'm wondering if new neural pathways can be formed, esp when there is no cell phone to get in the way and distract.

I was taking to my dad yesterday who told me he is hoping to 'change Miles' reading trajectory' to fiction about the transition to young adulthood. First up, was a copy of Catcher in the Rye. He was also looking for a copy of Studs Lonigan .

I decided not to tell Dad that he really had no control over what Miles' is reading or thinking (can you tell I''m in Al Anon) but I did have a quiet laugh to myself when I got off the phone. Studs Lonigan? Has anyone read that novel since 1963?

It's very sweet, really, and to be honest, maybe a little James Farrell will do the trick!

Feb 12, 12:24pm Top

That IS very sweet of your dad. Happy to hear that Miles is reading--it can only make his life better. If there are particular books that he's looking for, please let us know!

Feb 12, 12:38pm Top

Love these stories and envy that opportunity. I never had that with either of my parents (mom is still here but the relationship is strained and she mostly reads Christian literature and books “ without all those dirty words.”

But I did have this with my late mother-in-law and here nearly ten years since her passing it is still one of the things I miss the most. I loved both giving and receiving books with her.

Feb 12, 1:14pm Top

Lauren, we should take this off-LT but we get a shit-ton of YA novels at LJ, and I'm happy to send stuff along if you give me a few guidelines.

Feb 13, 10:34am Top

Lauren, that is sweet of your father, if not necessarily the most effective approach (I rebelled against my mother's guidance until she literally couldn't guide me anymore). There's nothing wrong with trying! Your son will have more than enough time to read lots of things, and hopefully you all can gently guide him in a direction that will help him in so many ways. Never give up! :)

Edited: Feb 19, 8:49pm Top

How booksellers live (in a perfect world that looks exactly like New Orleans):


Check out that bed. I want it.

Group: BookBalloon

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