My review of the great gatsby (the movie): read the book. It takes the same amount of time. It’s quite pretty, though, the movie. Maybe have it playing in the background of a twenties-themed party.
In related news, I seem to be watching a lot of movies that are either set in the 20s or 30s or were made then. People wore hats. Also: surprised to find that there are more than just musicals from this era. Imagine. But I still like the musicals best. Also: Katherine Hepburn. Here she is knitting.
Dance classes started again today. Back into by routine of sleep, work, dance. I think I’m ok with that.
It’s finally warm enough to wear just a tank top when I go outside. It has taken far too long in the summer for it to get to this point. I wore my tank and my skirt downtown today and moseyed about with Amber. She was dressed up like a hottie (litterally! in black! she was warm).
I found my bible. I dressed it up at one point (in my first or second year of university, probably) in a green jacket with pentagram decorations. Some people might find this offensive? I think I meant it as a statement (“if I have to have a bible, it’s going to express my wiccan preferences”). Now I find it balanced. I don’t have anything against the bible. The one I have has those tissue-thin pages, and when Jesus talks, the text is in red. Also, it’s a good, satisfying weight. Also there are post-its from when I was studying Mark and Revelation in school. So in reality, when I say my religious education only consists of Jesus Christ Superstar, I’m lying a little bit.
I finished “Spadework” last night. It was a really thick book but it didn’t take me long to read. Deceiving. The font was large and there weren’t many words on each page. I like that in a book because I feel speedy. I also like finishing books because then I feel accomplished.
The end of the book came about pretty much with what I was hoping for. Clever-ish. Actually I’m the one who’s clever. I was thinking to myself during the last few pages that this was the story of a bunch of peole who just go about in an ordinary way, living their lives, routine, and that the novel catches them just when the routine is broken, and less-than-ordinary things start to happen to them. I don’t want to say “exciting” or “extraordinary” things because they aren’t. But given the context, things go astray. The image I had in my mind was that of a string, that we live our lives along a string and then at some times that string frays, or in the case of “Spadework” breaks apart with a *pop* (this is just the picture in my head). But then all those bits of fible that make up the string start to heal, and grow back together into a single string again, and routine is restored, and if it’s a novel then the characters are left with a suggestion that things are going to be OK.
What makes me clever is that the author had the same image in mind, pretty much. The last image of the book is that of a river, obstructed a a dam, and then flowing on unchallenged. And that’s what the whole novel is. People overcoming obstacles that aren’t your run of the mill everyday obstacles, but nothing overly dramatic. And at the end I was pretty sure that everything was going to be alright.
I was also thinking as I read that this was little more than a perfectly crafted work. That’s fine, I just like when novelists go a little wacky with their structure.
I’m reading “Spadework” by Timothy Findley. My first of his. At first it seemed a boring book, it’s in the prose of mundane American fiction. And then everything seemed too perfect: a woman and her family living and working in Stratford, Ontario, the man an actor, the woman an artist/ props maker. The child precotious. Being me, I just waited for something to break the normalness of it, like you do in a suspense film (which I don’t like, by the way). Slowly, the normal routine of the family is altered, elements sneaking in. Also, the perspectives of the periferal characters are sneaking in as well. The easy prose, the extra details that so far seem only to be filler where I would rather they contribute to something, as foreshadowing maybe, or is the subtext -all the details of the setting, for example- I hope they all add up to something in the end. I think it’s a sneaky book. I think the simpleness of the writing and the normalness of the family is a trick and both are going to fall away in the end into a clever resolution.
P.S. It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon and I was reading my book while lying in the sun coming through my window. I spent the day getting rid of stuff and organizing. I recycled a whole pile of junk paper that I was keeping for the purposes of crafts. But really it was mostly paper I’d obtained from recycle bins in the first place and since I hadn’t used it yet, back it went.
I cleared my bookshelf too. All my manga is going. I’m a grown up now (?). As well I’m getting rid of all my ancient philosophers. I’m a person of the contemporary age (?). Except for The Poetics because my copy is pretty. Also, do you know how many paper-dictionaries I have? Four. One is for cutting out of. One is my pocket Oxford. One was my dad’s and had a fetching red cloth cover. One is my concise Oxford with the thin paper. I like how the thin paper feels.
Do you remember when Ramona’s dad went back to school, and he took an art class and one of the assignments was to draw his foot? And then Ramona thought it would be fun if she drew her foot, as well?
Here is a picture of my foot.
New computer is go. As in “go real fast”. I don’t have everything on it that is meant to be here (files, etc) because I haven’t had time to shift everything over from the old computer yet. This is due to being busy with dance recital. I’m still getting used to using the new touchy “mouse” thing that is new to me. It’s a laptop, my new computer, so it has a touchy “mouse” area for making the cursor move and it’s weird. I keep zooming instead of shifting the cursor around. Vexing. However, the enter key is right where my pinky thinks it should be, so that’s pleasing. Same for the shift key, and the backspace key — another key I use often. So far, so good.
I’m reading “Late Nights on Air” by Elizabeth Hay. I heard it suggested on the Cross Country Check-up summer book reading show. As I listened, by eyes slowly shifted to my bookshelf, which happened to hold a copy. I keep doing other things instead of reading, like dancing in recitals. I’ll get back to it.
Simon and Garfunkel has G.D. been postponed again
Review of “Beatrice & Virgil” by Yann Martel.
I went to the library today because my book was ready for pick-up. First off, I love picking up books from off my Holds list, because the library spits them out onto a special shelf for me to pick up, with a slip of paper marking it as mine. “L Nic” is what this paper reads. At least, that’s what I think it reads. I usually remove it immediately upon picking up the book from the shelf (which I do, by the way, with a professional “this is mine” sort of way) and flick it into the recycle bin left on the bottom of the stack, just for such a purpose. Perhaps I should start keeping them. I could write thoughts on them, or such. Grocery lists.
“Beatrice and Virgil” is the new work from Yann Martel, who wrote “Life of Pi,” a book I enjoyed despite the talking animals. Based on the cover of this book, which shows the sillouettes of a donkey and the monkey, I am in for some more talking animals. OK. What actually intrigued me about this one, though, was that he originally planned for it to be a flip-over kind of book. He was prevented from doing so because… well it was because his publishers talked him out of it, but the article doesnt say why they talked him out of it. I have my own suspicions: printing costs, no one would “get it”, it’s just too weird.
The final version is here in front of me and the the only bit of flipiness that the publishers could let through is the cover. It does indeed “flip,” with the back cover looking like it should open into a whole new story. It doesn’t though, and that makes me a little sad.
I’ll get over my sadness, though, since the titling (title-ing?) looks as though it has been inky-pressed onto canvas, and that quite tickles my fancy. I guess I should read the story inside too, but so far I’m enjoying the outside quite a lot.
P.S. I also like that it is a very thin book. My last book was too heavy.
I got up this morning just a little later than I have to get up during the week. Not cool. Early enough to listen to the early CBC weekend show, with the host who sounds like she’s wearing a poncho and who I still makes me feel angry when I hear her. In the early morning, before 8am when my computer starts it’s virus check and is mostly unusable for an hour, I researched Shaw vs. Telus for my internet. I came to no conclusion, save that Telus is cheaper, but this price is negated by the fact that I already have Shaw. So there.
I’m trying to make my way through a book that is set in India and is by an Indian author. This will be a first for me, for, although I have tried in the past, I my attention is never held long enough to finish any sort of english south asian fiction. I suppose the cure for this would be to read more, get familiar with the voice. But usually the book are thick, and I’m daunted that way too. Even this book (“The Immortals” by Amit Chaudhuri) is only barely holding my attention. My eyes skim the pages, caught only by interesting words, and the occasional conflict within the plot. This is not the fault of the book, which is picking it’s way through the lives of a couple of families in Bombay in the early 80s, and there are saris and Hindi and music and lots of good things (class distinctions, a little India/England conflict). But I’m just dozing through it. Maybe it’s too quiet! Maybe it’s loud enough, but for some reason I can’t hear it!
I was so tired last weekend, I went to bed on Friday night and didn’t get up again until Sunday morning. Just rested (and ate, I guess I got up for food… and to download Dr. Who) .
Recently read: Wolf Hall (finally; good) and Year of the Flood (also good). Reading these took a lot of time but is no excuse for neglecting my blog. Wolf Hall is thick and meaty and by the end I was almost able to get over the whole thing where almost every “he” written refers to the protagonist, no matter the subject immediately preceding– you know, how it’s supposed to work and how we’re taught. And I didn’t dislike that the author did this: it’s just new to me and I had to get used to it, is all.
Year of the Flood is a Margaret Atwood-constructed novel, with charming poetry at the start of each section. This reminded me of Alias Grace, which is a novel I enjoy returning to. YotF, however, got a bit intense and stressful-survivory, e.g. The characters having to look after themselves after the end of civilization. I would have appreciated this on a more intellectual level, if I didn’t enjoy the subject very much, better if I wasn’t sick while reading it. On the entertainment level on which I read it, I was just scared and paranoid by the end.
If you were wondering, I was brave on Friday because I drove mum’s van to Nanaimo from Duncan. This was brave because I don’t like driving, and then brave on another level down because I haven’t driven around Nanaimo very much. Or at all. Well, once in 1999 maybe. And that I “don’t like” driving doesn’t really sound like a good excuse, as once I start I rather don’t mind. It’s more that I become overly anxious when the prospect of driving is before me. But this was a volunteer mission. I visited Naomi to see her in a play. And it all went well, since things I am anxious about usually turn out that way. I even got to drive Naomi around in a helpful manner, to look at shoes. I suppose, and I didn’t think of this until I got home and the whole adventure was over, I could have been More Helpful by taking her grocery shopping since she was out of food! I’m alarmed I didn’t think of this actually, since when mum visits me with same van she almost always drives me to the supermarket. Oh well. Driving.
That was Friday and Saturday that I drove.
Today I finished reading “Makers” by Cory Doctorow. Crazy. I don’t want to give any of it away. Or, you know, review it.
I had a super-long weekend, extending to today, Tuesday. I don’t think the five-days-off, two-days-on really works for me, though. I almost forgot to go to dance tonight.