Deborah Eisenberg’s brilliant collection of short stories, Your Duck is My Duck, is my favorite book of the year. (It is also a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year.) I’ve been an Eisenberg fan for decades: I pore over The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award in 2011, when I need humor, sanity, and gorgeous sentences. Your Duck is My Duck, a collection of six new stories, is another classic.
I plan to write about it later, but meanwhile here is a brief witty excerpt from the title story. When the narrator consults a doctor about sleeping problems, he offers her a prescription for sleeping pills. She declines, so he advises her to try to figure out why she’s not sleeping.
“What’s to figure out?” I said. “I’m hurtling through time, strapped to an explosive device, my life. Plus, it’s beginning to look like a photo finish—me first, or the world. It’s not so hard to figure out why I’m not sleeping. What I can’t figute out is why everybody else is sleeping.”
“Everybody else is sleeping because everybody else is taking pills,” he said.
So witty, so true! Does anyone describe the world’s problems better than Eisenberg’s narrator in that brief paragraph? N.B. The narrator reluctantly tries the pills, but throws them away because she doesn’t like the way they make her feel.
On a different note, there’s 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List by James Mustich. This isn’t just a reference book. Mustich, the co-founder and publisher of the charming book catalogue The Common Reader from 1986 to 2006, has always been a promoter of great old and new books. If you had the pleasure of reading the catalogue, you’ll know how captivating his writing is. In this attractive, long, but unintimidating book, he has written a mini-essay about each book on his list. The book also comes with a checklist on a poster! We are poring over this book with pleasure at our house, and making a new list of books we want to read.
We saved up Barnes and Noble coupons–one 25% off, one 20% off, and one 15% off–and went to B&N to pick out the books for our Christmas book exchange. And my husband also bought me Reading Socks!
They are SO comfortable and warm: a pair of long socks lined with faux sherpa fleece. And they come in different styles and colors. Below are some short reading socks.