The problem with reading a book aloud with someone, as Sean and I have been doing with True History of the Kelly Gang, is secret reading ahead by your so-called reading partner. Yes, Sean read several chapters of the bloody Kelly story at 4 a.m. while I was asleep, and then he read some more by himself in the park on a sunny afternoon while I was away visiting my mother. Since True History was getting a little repetitious (Ned Kelly gets into a fight and goes to gaol, time and time again), I just asked for a summary of events from him, then he read the last chapter, depicting Ned Kelly's meeting with the hangman, aloud to me.
I'm also getting tired of The End of Oil. A blow-by-blow of OPEC's pricing strategies in the seventies just doesn't hold my interest. I have a policy of not forcing myself to read things I start if I really don't want to anymore, so I might give up on that book.
Meanwhile, I finished Jean Thompson's Do Not Deny Me and have started The Best American Short Stories 2009, edited by Alice Sebold. This series is a great introduction to short story writers, both established and new, who have been published in magazines for the year in question. There's a biographical note and contributor's comments at the back of the book, arranged alphabetically by author, like the stories are, which I always turn to as I finish each piece.
We also have a subscription to The New Yorker, mainly because I was offered this extremely cheap deal of $25 for a year. (Which has supposedly expired, but I'm still getting them. They've been very persistent in trying to get me to renew, even telephoning. The chipper call center girl hung up on me shortly after I complained about The New Yorker having sold my name to junk mail lists.) I like to read the restaurant review in every issue, "Tables for Two", it's called. This column often exhibits lurid example of food porn:
"Keenly constructed appetizers such as the charred octopus and the cauliflower soup topped with trout roe and a creamy soft-poached egg were undermined by the likes of smashed potatoes flash-fried in duck fat-- 'out of this world,' according to the waiter, but, in essence, a cafeteria's greasy spuds."
There's a lot I don't read in The New Yorker: much of it is local, of course, or about the Obama administration, which I have zero interest in. And there's the time constraint - it arrives every week! But there's usually an article or two each issue I enjoy, and of course there's the fiction.