Friday, January 9, 2009

This and That

Just some miscellaneous thoughts:

  • I finally read one of Sue Grafton's books, of course the "A" book:  A is for Alibi.  I can see why she sells although I guessed who the bad guy was almost immediately.  I'll probably read more.  I'm a sucker for a mystery series. I think that's why I never read her before - I just didn't want to start.
  • I never finished reading Charles Dickens' The Chimes (I only got through the first part) but here's a link to the discussion about it.
  • I was surprised to learn that authors in Britain get paid a royalty when books are borrowed from public lending libraries.  Check it out in this Guardian article. (h/t Book Chase)
  • Something non-book related - December's production at The Rep was This Wonderful Life, a one man show in which the actor performs the entire movie It's a Wonderful Life  - yes, he plays all 32 characters.  I was doubtful during the first 20 minutes.  It reminded me a bit of a moment last summer when my little cousin Megan decided to tell us the entire story of Star Wars, but in this case the actor was not as cute as Megan.  Eventually, though, I suspended disbelief and enjoyed it.  The show was written in 2006, and oh how times change.  At the moment when the run on the bank occurs the actor (in the person of narrator) tells the kids in the audience to ask their parents what a bank run is, that it is something from the Depression - and then he throws in an extra "but they'll know ALL TOO WELL" (and the whole audience laughs knowingly).  Who knew, in 2006, that bank runs would become a worry again?
  • I laughed at the beginning of this article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the American Philosophical Association conference in Philadelphia.  Yes, it's probably unfair to reduce an entire conference to a vignette of someone using a completely true argument in a wholly impractical way.  But it made me laugh.  It reminded me of blog conversations.
  • On my way back from Florida a month or so ago I picked up The Monsters of Templeton, by Lauren Groff, in the airport bookstore.  Wilhelmina "Willie" Upton has returned home to recover from an affair gone wrong.  Her former-hippie mother has been born-again and confesses to Willie that her dad wasn't an unknown person (as Willie always thought) but is a local man who is, in fact, distantly related to Willie's mom.  Willie distracts herself by trying to figure out who her "real" dad is by working out her family tree.  Oh, and the mysterious loch-ness style monster in the local lake has died.   Which I think was meant to be symbolic of ... something.  I'm not sure of what, but the monster was actually my favorite character. I never got emotionally or intellectually attached to this novel but commenter AndiF listed it as one of her top books of the year, so you might want to give it a try.