ilona the pest

insecurity + narcissism = awesome!

Friday, May 04, 2007


for about a year i've had this credit card that gives gift certificates as an incentive for using it. so i pay all my bills etc. with this card, and i've been acquiring lots & lots of these gift certificates. i was just hoarding them all til recently ('cause first i was in school, then studying for the bar, then moved several times). now that i'm more settled i figured it was time to start cashing in.

these are the books i've ordered over the past few weeks:
and all for free! what a world.

p.s. let me know if you have any suggestions for good contemporary fiction. i really love well-written, engaging stories, but i find bad fiction so disappointing that i usually stick to history and other non-fiction 'cause it seems like a less risky bet.


  • At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Marilynne Robinson is a beautiful and engaging storyteller. I've only read her earlier novel, Housekeeping, but my mother tells me her newer one, Gilead, is also fantastic. She's published only these two novels over a 20+ year span (along with I think three books of non-fiction), and that's not becuase she has nothing to say. It's a particular kind of thing- flawless and faultless sincerity might be a good way to describe it. Which is maybe another way of saying it's not postmodern. Which I guess I feel obligated to point out because I love Thomas Pynchon as much as any writer of fiction I've read.

    On a totally different note from M. Robinson, is Haruki Murakami. Frankly, I'm very wary of newer fiction for fairly obvious reasons I won't go into here. That said, I'm into my third Murakami novel at the moment and he definitely holds up.

  • At 5:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Beta manlet is still so jealous that Love Bandit got TWO topics started about him, but Beta Manlet has ZERO. :(


    Beta Manlet

  • At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don’t think I have any suggestions for good contemporary fiction. I don’t think I read much of it. Is Bukowski contemporary? I wouldn’t make such recommendations anyway because fiction is so much a matter of taste. The more I read, the more I’ve come to appreciate Bukowski, and I’m not some faddish boho. I’m old and cranky, and most people annoy me with their overwritten prose. I don’t need all of your mental stage directions. Don’t tell me how to react, just tell me what happened. Annoying as a laugh track.

    If you haven’t read DeVoto’s version of the Journals of Lewis and Clark, you should. It’s the best place to start disabusing yourself of all of your hippie-dippy crapdoodle about “the White man committed genocide against the Indians.” And it’s only a place to start.

    Buncha idiots.

  • At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "I’m old and cranky, and most people annoy me with their overwritten prose.Don’t tell me how to react, just tell me what happened."

    Dear Old and Cranky,
    Check it out. You are gonna love my new story...

    "I woke up at 4pm. I was still drunk. I took a crap. I made a mustard sandwich. I walked back to the bar. THE END."

  • At 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Read anything by David Mitchell- he is amazing. Read David Foster Wallace- anything but Infinite Jest is digestible.

  • At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If you like short stories, one of my current favorites is Aimee Bender. She writes absurdist, rather short short stories that are wonderful. "Wilfull Creatures" is her most recent collection - just to give you an idea, one of my favorites from that volume is about the narrator stopping at a roadside fruit stand that sells words in the back rooms. Another great short story author who I love is Alice Munro. Amazing and poignant stories.

    If you want a novel, I highly, highly recommend "Carter Beats the Devil." It's based on the true life story of this famous magician in early 20th-century California. In fact, he lived in Oakland and there is this great part where he takes his pet lion (!) for a walk around Lake Merritt. The author - David Glen Gold - is a fabulous story teller.

    For more recommendations, I often check out the blog "50 books." She tends to have good suggestions.

    -- Boalt 07 grad

  • At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I generally avoid authors labeled as "contemporary" or "postmodern", a result of too much time in a liberal arts school. But in the field of "recently published work", I've enjoyed:

    -"Q" by Luther Blissett. A well-researched hist-fic story of the early Wars of Religion. Two idealogues, an Anabaptist revolutionary and a Catholic in the pay of the Inquisition spend three decades hunting each other across Germany, the Low Countries, and Italy. If theology and the role of women is your thing, the Eloist "heresy" in Antwerp deserves some attention.

    -"An Instance of the Fingerpost" by Iain Pears. The story of a murder at Oxford in 1664, again with overtones of religious dogma. Four writers tell their perspective of the crime, and the arrest and execution of a girl schismatic. Disputes regarding theology, political theory, chemistry, and (again) the role of women in the polity get plenty of treatment.

    -"Assassins Gate": George Packer of The New Yorker describes the mismanagement of 2004-5 from the perspective of the streets of Baghdad and his forays into the Green Zone. This is not an uplifting tale, but very well-written. Not fiction, but compelling nonetheless.

  • At 11:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    anonymous said: "I woke up at 4pm. I was still drunk. I took a crap. I made a mustard sandwich. I walked back to the bar. THE END."
    I like your style. If you can manage a second paragraph, I think you've got something.


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