Saturday, July 14, 2007

"If the west wing is rotting and our best wine is clotting, well, I'm terribly sorry, but I don't care!" - "Extraordinary," from "Pippin"

Oh gosh. My brain is all over the place these days – commonly known as “placenta brain” or “pregnancy brain,” this syndrome seems to have clobbered me this pregnancy. And I am grumpy to boot. [GrumpIER, I should say, before David, Rogue Librarian, and/or Hungry in LA do.] I don’t want to deal with the mid-year annual report (I KNOW, it IS as ridiculous as it sounds.) I would rather put bamboo shoots under my fingernails than “revisit” the library walking tour guide. And if the printer is not pulling paper from tray 2, I DON”T CARE. I want to be left alone to read my books, and write some stuff, and, I suppose, scream at, er, wrangle my children.

“If your idea of packing for vacation is a suitcase full of books and two bathing suits, you've come to the right spot.”

I wanted so badly to like John Burdett’s Bangkok 8 - at least as much as I wanted to like Arthur Phillips’ Prague - that I bought them both and brought them home and found them both dull as dishwater, and, additionally, just like this blog post, overwrought and overwritten, and so they sit on my shelves. So the fact that Burdett has a third book, Bangkok Haunts, out, which critics are pushing as an ideal summer read, just makes me want to yawn. And apparently I want the world to yawn with me.

The Children’s Hospital – Chris Adrian / Jamestown - Matthew Sharpe
And the premise of this first book sounds sort of fun and quirky, in that weird post-apocalyptic way which is very trendy right now, but just reading the plot makes me realize how hard the author is trying, so I think I’ll pass, thankyouverymuch. However, Matthew Sharpe’s Jamestown looks like it might be hilarious, if he too doesn’t carried away with his own cleverness. At least I am willing to give him a shot.

At Large and At Small – Anne Fadiman
However, I feel as if my soul could use a little friendly soothing right now, so I may just stop at the bookstore on the way home and pick up Fadiman’s newest collection of “familiar essays.”

In her take on necessary summer reading, my best-friend-forever (what? I can dream, can't I?) Maureen Corrigan recommends Hilma Wolitzer’s Summer Reading, comparing it to the enjoyable Jane Austen Book Club. It’s possible that this novel may be as forgettable as The Doctor’s Daughter but if I have fun during the reading, I can forgive its lack of permanent impression.

Corrigan also recommends Ian McEwan’s latest outing On Chesil Beach, which sounds so insanely dreary to me that despite my regard for her taste, I will skip it. In fact, the only reason I mention it at all is so I have an excuse to use this Corrigan quote which made me laugh out loud, and ALMOST made me take home Saturday:
”Speaking of being less than bright, last year I was so carried away by Ian McEwan's novel Saturday that I began enthusing about it — to a crowd at a bookstore, no less — when I was just two-thirds of the way through it. Then I finished it, and saw to my horror that Saturday took a nosedive from the sublime to the ridiculous.”

I had so much fun clicking around the NPR site that I checked out last year’s summer reading lists and was gratified to find several books I totally loved on the list: Lori Jansons’ The Girls (although, ohmigod, does this mean I have to try to read Geek Love AGAIN?); Kevin Brockmeier’s beautiful A Brief History of the Dead; Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend (which I liked but found the second half a tad unbelievable).


The letter writers on Salon these days really need to chill. This article about Harry Potter-inspired garage bands was CUTE. What’s the harm? Maybe it’s a slow news day (thank God, I say), but so what? (I haven’t seen the new movie yet, but I have to say that the few people I know who have were NOT blown away. I am saving my energy for Book Seven.)


(Joke, you may want to look away...)
H and I spent an enlightening and engrossing evening watching Bill Moyers interview Bruce Fein, the conservative Constitutional scholar who recently outlined the case for Dick Cheney’s impeachment in Slate, and John Nichols, a writer for The Nation and co-founder of Free Press. I spent most of the program thinking, “Yes! What he said!” and other similar sentiments. Despite his comb-over and squinty eyes, I am now just a little bit in love with Bruce Fein. If everyone were HALF as smart as he is, the country wouldn’t be in this insane predicament, necessitating discussion of impeachment, in the first place. [/POLITICAL STUFF]


Paula said...

Cheney and his little dog too!

Gina said...

I did my patriotic duty on the the 4th of July by ordering my very own "Impeach Bush & Cheney" t-shirt.

Peg said...

On the 4th of July... Gina you're wonderful.

BB I saw nothing untoward in what you were saying. There was no name-calling or slander. Wish I had seen that interview. I adore Bill Moyers, who continues to speak truth to power.

Kathy said...

Gina: I need that shirt as well!

bb: I think I'm going to pass on On Chesil Beach as well -- the plot just didn't interest me at all.