The Sunday Salon: Confessions of a Literary Groupie

The Sunday Salon

A therapist once told me that The Husband and I had too many “cerebral interests.”

I think it was probably her way of saying that we needed to get off our asses more, the thinking being that we needed to spend more quality time together doing things like mountain-climbing in Nepal as opposed to hanging out together at home with our noses in our respective books.

You know, like there’s something wrong with that.

Whatever. The Husband and I just celebrated 20 freakin’ years of wedded bliss so obviously, we are a match made in cerebral heaven.

The point is, I love that The Husband is a kindred spirit like me in regard to certain authors that he goes all groupie for. It doesn’t happen often, mind you. But when it does, it happens kinda quietly, like this:

Me: “Wow, hey, look, Pittsburgh is naming the 16th Street Bridge for David McCullough [one of The Husband’s favorite historians and a native son of the ‘Burgh] and he’s giving a talk at the Heinz History Center on his 80th Birthday.”

The Husband: “Yeah, I might like to go to that.”

Me, seizing the moment and going straight to the website to purchase the tickets. “Really?”

The Husband: “Yeah.”

As expected, the David McCullough tickets sold out in something like one day. So that’s where The Husband is now – you know, just hanging out with David McCullough, celebrating his 80th birthday. I’ve asked him for a guest post for the blog (The Husband, not David McCullough, although he’s welcome to write something too) but this might be as good as it gets.

Meanwhile, I’m chillin’ at home with the kids (we tried to entice them with a visit to the History Center itself two weeks ago and weren’t too successful) while saving my energies for a rock concert of another sort. One Direction comes to town in less than 27 hours (and counting) and for those who don’t follow me on Facebook, Betty is quite the fan. She’s especially enamored with Harry Styles, who I’m told is my future son-in-law. Through some divine intervention, we scored two tickets to the Pittsburgh show tomorrow night (which has been sold out for more than a YEAR since tickets went on sale).

Not to be left out of all this excitement, I have tickets to see George Saunders live and in person when he comes to town in December as part of the Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures series. I’ll also be seeing Colum McCann and Ann Patchett, also be part of the series.  (Hey, Pittsburgh ain’t considered one of the most literary cities for nuthin’, y’ know.)

Because of this, now I want to read everything by each of these authors. You know, just so I can sound intelligent in conversation while fist-bumping and crying while holding my cell-phone-as-lighter up with the folks next to me.

In Persuasion NationWith Saunders,  I loved Tenth of December – which was the first book of his I’d read. (While reading it, I realized that I’d previously read his short story “Home” in The New Yorker.”) This week, I became an official fangirl – I’m a real cheap date; it usually takes two books, max – when I picked up In Persuasion Nation at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Despite getting some interesting looks at the pool with this cover (which is why I usually take my Kindle to the pool), this collection of short stories is fantastic – perhaps better than Tenth of December, in my opinion. I loved this – but I recognize that Saunders’ brand of satire and dark humor is probably an acquired taste. I devoured In Persuasion Nation. 

(Needless to say, I want more.)

E Street Shuffle

Continuing on the literary groupie, theme, this week I also finished E Street Shuffle: The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, which I’m probably not going to review. That’s not a shot against author Clinton Heylin nor a criticism that this  wasn’t a good book. Rather, it has to do with the fact that I’m a fairly new Springsteen fan (I know, shuddup) and E Street Shuffle‘s audience is the diehard crowd. It’s the person who knows every song since the ’70s and enjoys reading a lengthy dissertation about the production of each one of them and the albums they landed on. To me, an appreciative but (compared to this) casual fan, that was way too much detail.

The Virgin Cure


I’m currently reading The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay and I’ll be rockin’ out on the TLC Book Tour circuit in 10 days. This is a fantastic historical fiction novel,  one that I’m really enjoying – although enjoying isn’t quite the right word here because it is actually a heart-wrenching read. Children are roaming the streets as beggars (if they haven’t been sold by their own mothers). desperate to survive in New York City, in 1871. Twelve year old Moth is one such child, and in telling this story, Ami McKay takes her reader right into the tenement houses and mansions alike. It’s really fascinating learning about this time period – and, as this story progresses, about an aspect of it that I hadn’t thought too much of.

What’s rocking your literary world this week?

Thanks for sharing this post!

4 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Confessions of a Literary Groupie

  1. Jennifer

    Too many cerebral interests! No such thing my friend, no such thing.

    I’ve been curious about The Virgin Cure forever, can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it!

  2. Brooke

    Heard wonderful things about The Virgin Cure and it’s on my TBR list – hope you continue to enjoy. Have a great week!

  3. Barbara Bartels

    The literary and other stars are aligned for you and you are there for them! Whew. You have been busy. I have also been called too cerebral — not or reading, but for trying to think my way out of a relative’s major illness and perseverating about it. Reading ( I think) actually gets me away from pervasive thoughts. Escape. Escape. I think that’s helpful.

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