Few things can lift the spirits like books in the mail. After waiting for what seemed like a very long time, the first NYRB Classics subscription book and my bonus book arrived.

January’s book is Testing the Current by William McPherson. The book’s description reveals that it is a coming-of-age story of sorts that takes place in a small upper Midwestern town in the 1930s. I would dive in and start reading it right away but first I must get to Doctor Glas by Hjalmar Söderberg for the Slaves discussion at the end of the month. It is only 150 pages however, so I might also be able to start the McPherson. We’ll see. Speaking of the Slaves though, if anyone out there is interested in reading along and joining in the discussion, there is still plenty of time. Short book!

The bonus NYRB book I received for subscribing is The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares. The book is compared to The Turn of the Screw and Journey to the Center of the Earth. To my mind those are two very different stories. Maybe Morel will be an adventure story with ghosts? He was good friends with Borges so I can probably expect it to be a bit, er, unusual.

One more book arrived for me in the mail. This one is a review copy of How to Not Write Bad by Ben Yagoda. I find his columns in the NY Times to be humorous so hopefully this book will prove to be entertaining and educational as well. It looks like it is a basic kind of style manual covering punctuation and word choice, sentences, that sort of thing. It’s always nice to have a refresher now and then even after all these years of writing mostly decent sentences most of the time. Plus, it might be fun to learn about all the rules I break regularly and maybe there will be some new ones I can start breaking! It is sure to be good times for me but maybe not so much for you trying to read what I might write.

I have a Barnes and Noble gift card that is burning a hole in my pocket yet somehow I have managed to hold onto it for about two weeks now. Don’t be hasty, I told myself, think about what you really want first and then go shopping. Only I keep changing my mind about what I want. I got a 15% off one item coupon in my email inbox today that is good through Monday so at some point this weekend I will cease to waffle and make my order and then probably remember the title of a book I really really wanted and had forgotten about but it will be too late. So it goes.

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