Sunday, August 05, 2007

Books on Books and a late Friday Shuffle

I seem to be reading a lot of books about books this year, from Anne Fadiman's Ex-Libris (thanks Nutmeg) to Maureen Corrigan's Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading to Sara Nelson's So Many Books, So Little Time to Nick Hornby's The Polysyllabic Spree and Housekeeping vs. the Dirt. I've even just ordered The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop (isn't that a great title?) by Lewis Buzbee and bought The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad. I think this qualifies as an obsession and I need to back off the books about books for awhile. Even some of my fiction choices, such as The Thirteenth Tale, Shadow of the Wind, and The Book of Air and Shadows, have books as a major plot point.

A review of a book that's not about books:

Kabul Beauty School: Deborah Rodriguez: The story of Rodriguez's move to Afghanistan to help establish a school to train hairdressers is compelling. Once you get into it, it reads almost as easily as a novel. I was, however, troubled by her attitude toward the Afghan people. She says she loves them, but it seems as if she holds herself a little bit above the Afghans. They all call her "Miss Debbie," while she calls them all by their first names. She is often very unaware of Afghan culture -- wanting to dance in celebration with some of the women in front of men. She often refers to her students as "kids" even though it's clear they are not children. While I enjoyed the book, this attitude was a distraction for me. Rodriguez's decision to marry an Afghan man is presented in an almost off-handed manner. Although it may not be true, her book leaves the impression that she married this man, whose language she could not even speak nor could he speak English, on a whim -- without thought -- or as a way to stay in Afghanistan without incurring problems. Recently an NPR story reported that this book has actually put Rodriguez's students and their families in danger, making moot any sense that Deborah Rodriguez might have done some good in Afghanistan.

Friday Shuffle
  1. Portions for Foxes: Rilo Kiley from More Adventurous
  2. Werewolves of London: Warren Zevon from Excitable Boy
  3. In California: Neko Case from Live From Austin, Tx
  4. Orphan Girl: Emmylou Harris with Daryl Johnson from Heartaches and Highways
  5. That Teenage Feeling: Neko Case from Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
  6. Your Memory, Me, and The Blues: Delbert McClinton from Cost of Living
  7. Child is Father of the Man: Brian Wilson from Smile
  8. When My Love Crosses Over: John Hiatt from Master of Disaster
  9. Everyday is Like Sunday: Morrissey from Viva Hate
  10. Lose Control: Evanescence from The Open Door


Kristina said...

I'm jealous of you getting to read so many books. Love your shuffle!

nutmeg said...

Oh. I have just read of your accident - hope you are OK now (a litle less shaken). Like LC, said I would find it very difficult without my car especially with two young girls.

I am so glad you liked Ex Libris. I could write an essay in reply to nearly every one she wrote in that book. It just reminded me, even though I feel truly weird sometimes, that there are always others who share some of my quirks!

And don't get me (or LC for that matter!) going on Polysyllabic Spree - I would have loved that book to be twice its length or much much more. I also have the Lewis Busby book on my TBR pile. Give us a "heads up" when you start it and let me know if you think it worthwhile if you can :-)

Marsha said...

I feel so lucky to have found your blog, I am always looking for books to read and having your opinions is so helpful. I am slowly riffling through your archives and making lists.

Katya said...

babelbabe ( and nutmeg ( have great suggestions too.

And thanks very much for the compliment.

Iamthebookworm said...

All in all, do you recommend the book? It sounds good, but I think I might be distracted by her patronizing? attitude. Anyway, thats the beauty of getting it at the library. If I did not like it, no money lost!

Katya said...

It's a quick read so yeah -- I guess I do recommend it. If it were dense and took a long time to read and had the patronizing attitude on top of that, I wouldn't recommend it at all.

sari said...

My sister has recommended The Yellow Lighted Bookshop to me but I haven't found it in my favorite store yet and I like to shop at my favorite store.

I've also been caught up in the catching up on Harry Potter fever and I started reading the Golden Compass (and I just got Eclipse) so I haven't had a chance to read much of anything else.

I love Brian Wilson's Smile and such a great Morrissey song, by they way.

Katya said...

sari: I think that's my favorite Morrissey song. I liked The Golden Compass -- I'm interested to see what they do to it with the movie.