Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Right now I'm reading a book my friend Paul and his girfriend Cristina recommended to me, way back in December. I bought it right after they told me about it, but then for some reason I kept messing up the title when I was looking for it on the shelf. I was questioning if it's the right book because the thing has like ten million titles. "Shadow & Claw" is the name of the series. The book I bought has two volumes in one book. The first one is "The Shadow of the Torturer" and the second is "The Claw of the Conciliator." Just getting my head around all the titles took a little critical thinking, which obviously I should be doing more of.

And then... the guy at B&N who I bought it from was a little person, and I am a little ashamed of how unenthusiastic I was when he was all, "This is a great book! I should tell you the titles of all the other sci fi books I like; you might like them too!" I would like to think that I was just in an unfriendly mood that day and would've had the same reaction to anyone who was so exuberant (equal opportunity bitch, that's me) but I bet he could've recommended a ton of great books, and my grumpiness kept me from a great sci fi/fantasy world I will now never know about.

Then I read a about Gene Wolfe (the author) on Wikipedia and was put off a little by some of what was on there (he makes comments about the complexity of his books and the necessity being an "educated reader" to understand him; I may not be remembering this right), and now on top of the other thing, I feel ashamed and like a dumbass.

Finally I started it, but I always picked it up right before bedtime so each night I had to re-read the page from the night before, and I was a little confused. Meanwhile, I read two mystery series, reread "Mansfield Park" by Jane Austen, and in all that time I read 18 pages of "Shadow & Claw." Today I started it from page 1 (actually I think the story begins on page 9. What the hell is up with this book?) at lunch and have made it to page 22 (Chapter 3! Check me out! I'm killing it!).

Unrelated: I can't find my copy of "The Soul of Black Peru," a CD I got from Rizzoli while I was working there. If I loaned it to you, would you please return it? Thank you!

On the other hand, I bet they carry it at Barnes and Noble. All I have to do is go back and act like a polite customer, something I valued highly when I was a bookseller (and usually try to be!), with the helpful salesperson I had before. I'll have the CD and a little self-respect back, maybe.


  1. with the exception of the one song by David Byrne -- who butchers the spanish language in unspeakable ways -- Soul of Black Peru is brilliant. you must hunt down whoever has pilfered it from you.

    i'm pretty sure that i would, just on principle, not read a book by someone who believed his readers must be "educated."

  2. That's pretty funny, because I remember liking the David Byrne song, but I like his stuff in general, so it wasn't a stretch. It could be because I also don't speak very good Spanish (I need a lesson on how to say "Please do not let the cats out" in a way that is neither insufferable or condescending) so I had no idea what he was saying or whether or not it was butchered or not.

    I'm going to tear apart our CD's, which I thought had all been uploaded to my iPod, but I could be wrong.

    And I could also be wrong about the Gene Wolfe quote. I read that before lunch.

    Also, thank you for the comment.

  3. IRENE! I am so glad you're reading the books! Don't psych yourself out by thinking they're too "academic" - that is baloney, plus also you are way smart.

    Also, the first one definitely takes a while to get into, because at first you're like "Who the fuck are these people and what is going on" but then it is SO AWESOME and you will be a convert and we can talk about it like giant dorks.

    Also also, and I say this from personal experience, when one works in a bookstore and one is a science fiction fan, and a customer is purchasing an obscure cultish author that you love, you want to EMBRACE THEM. So I would say you're lucky you just got your ear talked off.

    Yay, I can't wait to talk about them with you more!

  4. Yes! That's going to be fun, Crisitna!! But keep in mind that I'm a fast reader, which means I tend to miss salient details. It's why I re-read everything! So our first discussion might be you going, "remember this part?" and I'd be all, "Sure....!" and you'd be all, "What?! That's from The Two Towers, you moron!" :-)

    But thank you for the comment, and the book recommendation!

  5. Also, Cristina, which bookstore did you work in? I didn't know this about you! Or did I misunderstand?

    I would give up my cushy job for a bookstore job in a... well, okay, let's re-think that one. Still. I miss Rizzoli!!!!!