Let me count the ways.
1. On Monday I returned from a fabulous trip to Florida, where I visited my dear friend Ted in the Everglades. We canoed through mangroves. We played Scrabble. We discussed our personal Desert Island Discs. We watched the sun rise over a lake with many birds. I took several close-ish pictures of smiling alligators. We saw an Indonesian dance performance. We drank excellent milkshakes. We went on a fruitless quest for MoonPies (though this did take us to a Winn-Dixie, which I have always wanted to visit, thanks to Kate DiCamillo's excellent novel Because of Winn-Dixie. The book is better than the grocery store.). And then we played more Scrabble. Other than the missing MoonPies, it is hard to imagine a better weekend. Thank you, Ted.
2. I also finished Permanent Rose, Hilary McKay's third novel about the Casson family (the previous two being Saffy's Angel and Indigo's Star). It's hard to describe Hilary McKay's writing: maybe the wit and sharpness of Jane Austen meets the absurdity of P. G. Wodehouse meets the domestic focus, quirkiness, and truth of The Slightly True Story of Cedar B. Hartley. That doesn't quite get it. It's mostly the magic of her characters, who are utterly individual and endearing even when they're exasperating; I have the same affection for the Cassons that I have for Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin and Harry, Ron, and Hermione, in that I would gladly read about them washing their underwear for two hundred pages for the mere pleasure of spending time with them. Anyway, Permanent Rose immediately leaped to the top of the sadly short list of books I've finished in 2005, right up there with Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Ted also gave me Idoru and Invisible Cities, so maybe after I finish Atonement and The Golem's Eye . . . < casts longing look at book stack >
3. And speaking of Harry, Ron, and Hermione . . . the US & UK covers for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince have been released (click here for ours, here and here for the UK if you haven't seen them), and there has been much speculation about the significance of the basin on ours, the copy of Advanced Potion-Making on the UK adult, the presence of Dumbledore on both ours and the UK children's, and the ring of fire around Harry-with-pecs and Dumbledalf on the UK children's. My incredibly mature response to all this speculation: "Ha!" And also: "Hee hee!" Only 127 more days, HP fans . . .
4. Completely and totally overwhelmed at work these days. Yeah.
5. Think you know world literature? Take the Guardian Unlimited World Book Day quiz, which has questions about books from every continent, including Antarctica. I got 18 out of 29, and it told me "Not bad, but not quite worldly wise. You are proof, however, that some of the most exciting journeys can be undertaken from the comfort of your own sofa." (This link courtesy of Ben, whose birthday is Friday. Happy birthday, Ben!)
6. I am loving Gilmore Girls this season, especially Logan, who's a smug bastard but a damnably cute, charming, and intelligent smug bastard. And such Luke and Lorelei happiness! Also Alias seems to be improving now that they're remembering they had three seasons previous to this one.
7. I have one free CD left to get from BMG Music Service and then I can cancel my subscription forever. I have to buy it by the end of the month. I am thinking rock-ish: the newest Liz Phair or Mary Chapin Carpenter; more Patty Griffin; Postal Service; the new U2; the first Wilco album, if BMG will sell it to me as a single album. Any suggestions or picks among those? In general I tend toward music that's acoustic, soulful, and with good lyrics, but I know nothing about modern rock, really, so recommendations are very much appreciated.
8. I received a postcard today that said in white letters on a sky-blue background, "I believe none of us is qualified to judge the lives of others." The back was information/advertisement for Church! of Park Slope (the exclamation mark is intentional), a new nondenominational Christian church opening up on 8th Avenue. It sounds interesting, but the design -- the fonts, the lines, that exclamation point, everything -- looks very much like the format of McSweeney's, so I'm slightly suspicious. Also, I do feel qualified to judge the lives of others to some extent, as in killing/child molestation/torturing small animals = bad. So such generalizations annoy me, and anyway, I'm pretty happy at good old PSUMC.
9. I think that is actually all for now, which means I have to work instead. Shoot. Hrm. Well, have a good night, everyone!
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Let me count the ways.
Posted by Cheryl at 12:45 AM