"what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversation?"

For most of the hours I’m awake in a day, I’m reading. But my book reading has been progressing in jumps and spurts, not at all smoothly.

The book I turn to on an almost daily basis is called The Girl with The Gallery: Edith Gregor Halpert and the Making of the Modern Art Market by Lindsay Pollock. It’s a pretty big book (the back cover claims 464 pages). The premise is that Halpert almost single-handedly created an interest among buyers in American modern art. Before her, American artists were a joke. But, through her marketing prowess and the conviction that American artists had a lot to offer the world, her pioneering efforts paid off. I’m doing a full review for Bookslut, but suffice it to say here that this book is a must read for anyone interested in American modern art.

I’m also reading Golem Song by Marc Estrin. I should first note that I’m reading this book in my capacity as Unbridled Books’ web marketer. And perhaps also because I’m drawn to Jewish books (I have a BA in Jewish Studies and MA in Jewish History). And books that take place in New York. This book, though filled with lots of funny moments, is actually a difficult read. Maybe because I’m young and/or not nearly as smart as Estrin, I just don’t get some of the references. There are parts of the book that remind me of A Confederacy of Dunces, but I didn’t like that book much and I do like Golem Song. In other words, Golem Song is difficult but rewarding.

The third book I’m reading (and it’s one that’s already been published) is Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. All the GTD geeks at Lifehacker and 43 Folders finally got to me, and so I broke down and bought the book. I made the mistake of trying to read this book aloud to my husband, who will not take advice from anyone on anything, so it’s been slow going. The worst part is that Allen (whose photo is annoyingly on the cover) gives me that, “I know you’re not reading my book” look every time I walk by.

Because I work in publishing and try, to some extent, to keep up with new books, it can be hard to find the time to read classics. So, I subscribed (for free) to DailyLit, which sends brief, sequential sections of public domain books via email. I set which book and how often, and today I read the penultimate section of Alice by Lewis Carroll. I recently purchased an old copy of The Annotated Alice and wanted to read the original prior to tackling the annotated version. I’m trying to understand what it is about Alice that so captivates Alberto Manguel.

Books in my queue: The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson, The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice by Allen Ginsburg, and By Hand: The Use of Craft in Contemporary Art by Shu Hung and Joseph Magliaro (editors).

Rachel J. K. Grace
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