Allow me to start off today’s blog entry by clearing up a common misconception. Today is NOT Sunday.
It would seem that my internet is down. Again. As a result, I am uploading tonight’s entry via my iPhone. Also, I am very, very angry.
On the bright side, I have our April Book of the Month Club pick. Thanks to whoever it was who suggested I look to this year’s Nebula nominees. I did and put forth…
From the publisher: “In this haunting, richly woven novel of modern life in Japan, the author of the acclaimed debut One for Sorrow explores the ties that bind humanity across the deepest divides. Here is a Murakamiesque jewel box of intertwined narratives in which the lives of several strangers are gently linked through love, loss, and fate.
On a train filled with quietly sleeping passengers, a young man’s life is forever altered when he is miraculously seen by a blind man. In a quiet town an American teacher who has lost her Japanese lover to death begins to lose her own self. On a remote road amid fallow rice fields, four young friends carefully take their own lives—and in that moment they become almost as one. In a small village a disaffected American teenager stranded in a strange land discovers compassion after an encounter with an enigmatic red fox, and in Tokyo a girl named Love learns the deepest lessons about its true meaning from a coma patient lost in dreams of an affair gone wrong.
From the neon colors of Tokyo, with its game centers and karaoke bars, to the bamboo groves and hidden shrines of the countryside, these souls and others mingle, revealing a profound tale of connection—uncovering the love we share without knowing.
Exquisitely perceptive and deeply affecting, Barzak’s artful storytelling deftly illuminates the inner lives of those attempting to find—or lose—themselves in an often incomprehensible world.”
From Library Journal: “In this follow-up to his notable debut, One for Sorrow, Barzak offers an otherworldly novel made up of linked short stories set in contemporary Japan. Barzak’s varied players spin their stories of love, grief, and growing up in first-person narratives that artfully collide with each other to stunning emotional effect. In one narrative thread, a teenage boy lost in Tokyo is led home by an ethereal girl in a fox costume; he later discovers she is dead. The childhood best friend of the fox girl is a casualty of her planned group suicide, but not in the way she anticipates. The author finds rich territory in situating his characters in places steeped in personal loss and letting them fumble toward acceptance of their own frailties.”
Discussion the week of April 12th with author Christopher Barzak.
You all have scant days to finish up Boneshaker. The book discussion begins on Monday, and this week I’ll be making a personal visit to each of your homes to ensure your participation.
As we speak (if you’re given to reading these blog entries aloud like I do as I write them) Akemi is Perth-bound. She’ll be there for the next six weeks, so if any of you affable Aussies happen to cross paths with her, do be nice.
But not too nice!
I did a little more cooking today preparing braised free-range veal cheeks with pumpkin polenta. It turned out great although, in retrospect, I doubt I’d want to invest the 5+ hours required again.
It all went according to plan, except for one harrowing instant wherein I averted a certain disaster involving the gas stove and an errant paper towel. In the briefest of flashes, I envisioned my buddy Carl delivering my eulogy: “Joe died doing what he loved best…running screaming across his backyard as his body was engulfed in flames.”
Hey, all. Given your successful diagnoses of my last three mystery medical conditions (fatigue, delusions of grandeur, and grabbing that cast iron handle without an oven mitt) I submit my latest baffling affliction. The symptoms: for the past three days, sometime after 6:30 p.m., the back of my ears get really itchy. Give it to me straight fledgling physicians and medical drama enthusiasts. Is it really bad? Are my days numbered? Or is it that new Lush shampoo I’ve been using?