Daily Archives: June 12, 2008

Out of town reading list

Being a committed pedestrian means that I get to escape thinking about rising gas prices most of the time. When I travel outside of Pittsburgh, though, my concern rises right along with the rest of the country. Airfare is too pricey for this librarian these days, which means that as you read this I will be very economically taking the Greyhound out of town. Unlike my nearly 20-year old car, the bus is air-conditioned, and gives me nearly 8 hours of uninterrupted reading time. Below is a short list of what I will be listening to and reading to pass the time.

  • When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris: I love pretty much everything that has ever come out of David Sedaris’s pen, and have been impatiently waiting to read this book for a while now. Fortunately, my hold and my trip coincided, and I’m anticipating that this book will be as hilarious as his past books have been. In a starred review Publishers Weekly said that Sedaris “triumphs in this sixth essay collection.” As a recent ex-smoker, I’m particularly looking forward to the essay “Smoking Section,” in which Sedaris chronicles his own experience of quitting smoking in Tokyo. If you haven’t read anything by Sedaris yet, check out the library’s holdings of his work here.
  • Twilight Watch, by Sergei Lukyanenko: My fellow blogger Leigh Anne introduced me to Lukyanenko’s urban fantasy series, and by the time I was a few pages into the first book (Night Watch) I was hooked. Living undetected among humans are Others– vampires, shape-shifters, magicians, witches and all manner of supernatural beings– who have all chosen to either be Light or Dark. The Night Watch is made up of Light Others who police the Dark, and the Day Watch is made up of Dark Others who police the Light, all while trying to maintain the precarious balance between the two forces. Instead of a cliched good guys vs. bad guys plot, Lukyanenko manages to instill the characters with a complexity that goes beyond easy categorization. I read the first two books in the series (the aforementioned Night Watch and its sequel, Day Watch) over the course of a weekend, ignoring phone calls, hockey playoffs, and loved ones in favor of reading. It’s been a while since a book hooked me that completely; I’m hoping the third in the series is equally good.
  • Once Upon a Time in the North, by Philip Pullman: Pullman is another writer that I am completely addicted to. I’ve read the His Dark Materials series a couple of times, and have also enjoyed Pullman’s other novels and critical work. Those familiar with The Golden Compass will already know the characters of Lee Scoresby and the armored bear Iorek Byrnison, who are the focus of this story. As two of Pullman’s most vivid characters, I’m looking forward to learning about how they met.
  • No Thanks: The ’70s Punk Rebellion: This box set has the usual suspects (The Ramones, New York Dolls, The Clash), but what I really like about this CD collection is that often-overlooked bands of the ’70s punk era– like Suicide, Magazine, and the Modern Lovers– are also featured. This set segues nicely from punk to post-punk, and with four CDs will give me good music to listen to for a good chunk of my trip.



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