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07:51 am: Books & Stuff
While I haven't had anywhere as near as much time as I did on vacation to catch up on books and DVDs, I have kept up fairly steady consumption.

Mil Millington's Instructions for Living Someone Else's Life is a an amusing account of a middle-aged man who wakes up believing he's still in his 20s, with no memory of the years that followed. He still feels 25ish, but his body hurts and all kinds of grown-up-type things have happened, so he's very confused. I still think Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About is his best work, but this is pretty darned amusing... not the least because I feel as though my brain is a lot less mature than my body.

Tracy Chevalier's The Virgin Blue is gripping, though it's not perhaps completely polished. Still, very interesting; I tend not to like historical fiction, but this alternates historical with more-or-less present day. Now I need to go get The Girl with a Pearl Earring.

A friend gave me John Bemelmans Marciano's Anonyponymous for Christmas, and it's a hoot. It celebrates many of the lesser-known people whose names were bestowed upon various things. People like the Earl of Sandwich, Henry Schrapnel, and J. Wellington Wimpy. Lots of fun.

I re-read John Philips' Papa John and was absolutely appalled. Even if MacKenzie Philips' recent claims are completely false (I haven't read her book, nor do I intend to do so), there is no doubt that her father was an extremely destructive force in her life, her siblings' lives, and many other people's lives as well. What a self-indulgent, narcissistic ASS. I have no idea why on earth I kept this book. I do love the Mamas and the Papas' music, but the book is poorly written and reading it was one long exercise in ICK.

Finally finished Seth Godin's Tribes, which was ok. Godin often irks me, both in his books and in his blog, and I'm still trying to figure out why. He's fairly bombastic, of course. He over-simplifies some very complex business issues. Maybe that's enough to be irksome. Dunno. In any case, I think Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody is a lot better than this tiny thing... despite the fact that Shirky's column urging women to be assholes really pissed me off.

Kathryn Stockett's The Help is pretty darned wonderful. Very moving. Feels very real (though I wouldn't be a very good judge of what a realistic portrayal of a deeply segregated Southern town in the early 1960s looks likes). Well written. Clear, strong voices (the book is told from the perspectives of 3 quite different women). I highly recommend it.

I'm still plugging away at Cluetrain Manifesto, still confused about why it's taking me so long.

I just got finished Dana Stabenow's latest, so I'm almost done with that which is not her absolute best (too much time out of the park), but still quite enjoyable.

I finally saw One Last Dance, the movie Patrick Swayze refers to in his autobiography. Lisa Niemi (his wife) wrote and directed it, and she and Swayze and George de la Pena star. I don't think any of them is a particularly fantastic actor, but all were dancers playing dancers. I actually quite enjoyed it, and not in a so-bad-it's-good, voyeuristic way, either. This is one movie that I plan to watch again with the director and cast commentary on, which is something I've never felt inclined to do before.

I finally saw Lemonade, a documentary about people who've been laid off. (I understand I'm apparently the last person in the world to see it.) I thought it was quite inspiring, really. Not inspiring enough to want to get laid off, however. But I'm mighty glad I don't work at a large marketing firm in NYC, 'cause it sounds as though it stinks. I'm counting myself as lucky again that I love where I work and what I do.

Teddy and I have now seen Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, and Goblet of Fire on DVD. As soon as we finish reading Order of the Phoenix/Phonics, we'll get it from the library. Peter bought us Half-blood Prince, but it'll be a while 'til we're ready for that. At least it won't have the skips and pauses that the library versions have.

I bought This Is It, which I'll watch as soon as I can, and The Red Balloon, which I will probably have to force Teddy to watch with me.

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: sicksick, but getting better
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