Monday, November 11, 2019

Things That Are Making Me Happy


Went to a lovely Japanese Patisserie this week. Delightful sandwiches as well as pastry but what are all the millennial doing: playing with the laptops and drinking dull coffee. Remember when coffee shops used to be for talking.

Saw PARASITE twice and although I thought it funny, clever and scary, I don't quite get why it is getting so much adulation. Also saw THE LIGHTHOUSE, which was beautiful to look at and well acted but too over the top bonkers for me in the end. How long would it take you to go crazy from cabin fever if there were two of you? More than five weeks, I think.

This is my new favorite thing. There are quite a few episodes, all about 10 minutes. So restful and set in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It is on adult swim but I just googled it. Try it if you need a rest from the world. Because the UP is another world.
Enjoying SLINGS AND ARROWS on Acorn. It is a three season Canaidan show from the early 2000s about a Shakespeare troupe. But more about the off-stage antics than on. Luke Kirby and Rachel McAdams are so young.

Well, I did it. I gave my car to my daughter-in-law. I am now the proud owner of an empty garage.

What about you guys?

Friday, November 08, 2019

12/29/19: DARE ME


FFB: THE ODDS, Stewart O'Nan



Another brilliant novel by the master.

A middle-aged couple, headed for divorce, decides to spend their final weekend together (Valentine's Day) at Niagara Falls, where they spent their first one.

They also decide to take the money left in the bank after some disastrous decisions and see if they can solve some of their troubles at the casino tables. This is not a travelogue of Niagara Falls but one that winds through their past a bit. They seldom leave the hotel, restaurants and casino in this book.

Sad, lovely, romantic, despairing, hopeful--all of these in this portrait of a marriage and what can go wrong and right with it. Just great stuff. There are few better writers for me.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

First Wednesday Book Review: THE BODY IN QUESTION, Jill Ciment


 THE BODY IN QUESTION tells the story of two jurors on a murder trial, sequestered for a three-week period, who begin an affair almost at once.Both jurors are only identified by their jury number (C-2; F-17) during the course of the trial. Although the testimony they hear each day in the jury room is given some attention, the author is more interested in their affair, how it affects the eventual verdict of the jury and how it affects the elderly husband the female juror has left behind. There is a significant age gap between C-2 and her husband, perhaps making it easier to leap into an affair. 

This is a very well-written book. The reader is anxious to see how this affair will impact on the jury decision or if it even will. The jury is small-only six jurors and an alternate and secrets are hard to keep with unlocked doors. We know far less about F-17 because the story is from C-2's pov. I am anxious to look for Jill Ciments previous books after reading this one.

For more reviews, go to Barrie Summy's place, right here.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Things That Are Making Me Happy

Pretty much all about Bouchercon this week. I did a panel with George on the birth of the paperbacks and another one on Writing Short Fiction. I love doing panels, especially if I can ask rather than answer questions. I also attended two of Megan's. One on unlikable women and I don't think a lot of the audience understand a complex character is usually not likable all that much of the time. And if you are not writing a series, this is not a problem.
I enjoyed lots of good food, some a bit spicy for me but delicious. Typically I did not do a good job in meeting new people. I never do. There were a lot of tributes to Bill. And his daughter, Angela had a party for him. Very nice. Bill did himself proud with that one. And her husband is a great guy too.
I attended about ten panels of varying quality. The best ones pick a real subject rather than just allowing the writers to talk about their work.
Very good work by the organizers, especially in having films of early Bouchercons, old posters, book bags, programs. Always something to look at. 
Went to the Book Depository. It was very moving to stand where LHO stood. I still don't quite believe he did it alone. And why didn't he have a place to escape to after the shots. He just seem to run wildly around.
Went to the art district, mostly to eat pie but it looked like a fun area. Dallas was lovely at night with many buildings outlined in various colors. I was impressed. On to Sacramento--but not me probably.

And what about you?

Monday, October 28, 2019

Things That Are Making Me Happy


A nice week. Went to an event at the best comic book store I have ever seen (Green Brain). (They even had copies of Megan's NORMANDY GOLD) The event included music, an artist with slides of her origami, a poetry and a prose reading. How nice to spend a rainy night with such talent.
Had a friend over to watch BILLY LIAR on Criterion, which did not hold up at all for me. I am doubtful I ever saw it before although I thought I had
Saw the movie PAIN AND GLORY, which was gorgeous to look at and Banderas was terrific. I have often found Almodovar difficult-a lot of subtitles to read quickly and not always clear what he's saying, but this one was pretty easy to follow. And ultimately extremely touching.
Reading NORMAL PEOPLE by Sally Rooney, which is very good. Did not finish 1222 by Anne Holt. About 75% through I realized I just didn't care about anything other than the protagonist, who was a great character. It was probably me but a hotel full of characters who were never drawn out enough to be real for me sunk it. 
Watched WATCHMEN a second time and am now up to speed.
Looking forward to Bouchercon although sad that I will be going alone for the first time.
So happy though to see some of you there. 

WHAT ABOUT YOU? 

Friday, October 25, 2019

FFB-THE WIDOWER, Georges Simenon



THE WIDOWER tells the story of a  designer named Bernard Jeantet who returns to his home in Paris from work one day to discover that his wife, Jeanne, is missing.  They met eight years earlier when he rescued her from her abusive pimp. They’ve lived a quiet life since then. A life that, at least in Bernard’s mind, was one of happiness until she wasn't home to greet him one day. When Bernard learns what has become of his wife, his entire life is turned upside down. When he learns of how she has spent the eight years, he is astounded.

 The Widower is a character study.  We grow more and more astounded at how a man could know so little about his wife, seemingly never interested in any life beyond their own. Does he love her or his idea of her? And what are her feelings toward this rescuer or perhaps imprisoner?

The Widower is a  pageturner. Only 143 pages and not a page of that is wasted. It begins with a mystery,but then opens up to answer the real questions that Simeon is concerned with. How little we know each other.