My Favorite Lit-Blog Things: April 7, 2011

D.G. Meyers writes powerfully about cancer and living with the disease while discussing In the Valley of the Shadow by James L. Kugel.

On a lighter note, A Rat in the Book Pile has Extreme Reading #12 which features Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, a personal favorite.

Interpolations has happy new things in his life. “But please know that this hurts me a lot more than it hurts you. And this is the only time that this dumb-ass expression is true.”

Kevin from Canada pans The Afterparty and gets a visit from the author and the author’s dad. Great stuff in the review and do not miss the comments.

Kinna Reads adds to my TBR with a 1964 short story collection from Mozambique.

Keep cool but care.” Quote from Pynchon’s V courtesy of Pechorin’s Journal.

Triple Choice Tuesday features on of my favorite bloggers: Steph of Steph & Tony Investigate! Happily, I have read two of her picks, so the TBR grows only slightly.

Speaking of Steph, she has a post on a book exploring (recommendations) website. On a similar note, GoodReads purchased Discovereads and their book recommendation algorithm which promises to be “Netflixy” and, therefore, much better than Amazon which suggests you try more Coetzee if you like Coetzee.

Of course, you can also just follow the preferred route around here: Get new and interesting recommendations from bloggers you trust, like Whispering Gums who introduces several writers from Tasmania worth checking out.

10 Responses to My Favorite Lit-Blog Things: April 7, 2011

  1. Steph says:

    I hate Amazon’s recommendation system. It’s totally balls (to use the technical term). While YNR has some of the same pitfalls, I find it’s been far more helpful than many of the other similar sites. We’ll see how DiscoverReads works!

    Also, which of my 3T picks is now on your TBR? The Rehearsal?

    • Kerry says:

      I agree re Amazon’s recommendation system. I like an alternative because, like someone said about you, I sometimes have a tendency to get “as much enjoyment out of making lists of books I wanted to read as I did actually reading said books”. Or, at least, I really like making lists of books I want to read…and I can get through, like, 50 books in an hour that way. So, I am looking forward to what GoodReads does with DiscoverReads. Still trusted recommendations are best, which is why….

      Yes, The Rehearsal by Catton makes my list because this is a book I would unfairly judge by the cover (probably). I had heard about it, but it never caught my attention. Yours is one of the recommendations that goes far with me. Catton is on the list! (I loved Warren’s All the King’s Men a lifetime ago and felt underwhelmed by One Hundred Years though parts of it stick out vividly. It was better than I realized at the time.)

      • Do a google on covers for The Rehearsal, Kerry. I think it sets a record for the widest variations. It is an outstanding debut novel from a young author whom I am certain we will be avidly reading in the future.

      • Kerry says:

        I had forgotten how highly you thought of it, Kevin. I guess the setup (girls school, sex scandal) kind of threw me off, but with both your and Steph’s (and others I am sure I also wrongly ignored or forgot) Catton is on the list. I want in on the ground floor.

        By the way, I like the Canadian cover better than either the New Zealand version. However, my favorite is the 2009 Granta hardcover with the playing cards theme. (The one over her shoulder in the video interview or through the link in the text.)

      • Steph says:

        I read the one with the playing cards on the cover! Not sure I would have been as drawn to it with some of the other covers (sad but true), but am so glad I read it. It may not be a perfect novel (so few are), but it’s really good. It would have been a worthy ToB contender, I think!

  2. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the link, Kerry. My not-terribly serious post finds itself in exhalted company.

    I enjoyed the KfC post, and the ensuing discussion. My position on whether this is a must-read or an ‘avoid like the plague’ vacillated several times, until I took up a more comfortable position on the fence…

    • Better on the fence than leaning over the edge of the roof (that’s an in-joke from the “dramatic” moment in the novel.

    • Kerry says:


      You are exalted in my world.

      I am following KfC’s first impressions on this one. My TBR is too full. I think I had as much enjoyment as possible from the book and author through KfC’s review and the responding comments. (Thanks, Kevin!)

  3. I loved Bloody Chamber as well, and wish I had attempted to read it in the woods at twilight. Maybe I should re-read it…

    Like Sarah, I enjoyed KfC’s post, and the comments that followed. Unlike Sarah, though, I think it might be a book I’d be happy to avoid, although all the discussions did get me curious.

    Of Steph’s three books, I’ve only read the Marquez (which I do think is due a re-read), although I have had All The King’s Men on my TBR for ages. Think my judgmental side took over when I looked at The Rehearsal, as the cover was quite unappealing, so to speak. However, reading Steph’s comment, I might have to change my mind.

    And finally, it’s good to see that Pynchon’s V sounds almost as confusing and difficult as Gravity’s Rainbow. I hope to read Gravity’s Rainbow this year, but think it’s safe to say, V won’t be making its way to my reading list this year, despite the “keep cool but care” philosophy.

    • Kerry says:


      I agree that Sarah’s approach to The Bloody Chamber was a great idea.

      I am with you on The Afterparty. I am sure I will not enjoy the book as much as I have the post and comments (which continue at a furious pace).

      My only Pynchon so far is The Crying of Lot 49 which seemed to me flawed, but which has stuck with me for a number of years. I haven’t made any plans to continue into his oeuvre, but I probably should. Time…..

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