Off The Shelf

Porch reading season. Finally. Books to take off the shelf. Any other suggestions?

Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown
NYTimes Column– Timothy Egan. Crew as Life.

Patrick Melrose Series, Edward St. Aubyn

History of the Rain, Niall Williams

Update 4/20/15: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr won Pulitzer for fiction. Meh. I gave it 3 stars. See suggestions link above.

Ides of Winter

Indoors. All the time. 20 below. So. More television and books. SNL 40 Anniversary showFallon, Timberlake, Wayne’s World live performances held up. Celeb audience turned cue card readers boring. Old clips funniest and still relevant. Miley has talent. Pauls should rest on their laurels. Like those delusional kids on American Idol, it’s not loving to let them sing anymore.

Desperation brought me to an Oprah Book. Ruby, by Cynthia Bond. Her prose is beautiful and takes us into Ruby’s world. But, hard to love the grisly depraved tale of a poor little girl in the American Deep South in the 50’s and 60’s. She endures horrors heaped upon horrors. Tough to handle, even if many children probably experience this brutal brand of daily terror. Worse that such demented violence came mostly from her own people. Churchgoing elder, Celia, was the most selfish and evil, the all too often woman who blames other women victims for their own abuse, holding deadly secrets as collateral. A slice of life that most of us will never understand. Worth the read if you can get through it.

Hello Doilies

Remember those doily mats with hearts glued on them? Valentines in grammar school. That’s cool. After that, not. Grown girlies in hoody footies having 50 shades of grey with life-sized Teddy Bears on Saturday. Yuk. Play cloying Sam Smith googly eyes ripoff of Tom Petty’s I won’t back down. Yuk. Women have lost decades of liberation and respect. Men acting like twits buying expensive wilted flowers and overpriced bad dinners for what? Teddy in the middle.

Speaking of ripoffs. Just finished The Devil You Know by Canadian author Elisabeth de Mariaffi. Her debut novel is a literary thriller. The writing is crisp and clean, and the mystery has its moments, but the young reporter is so silly and the ending so lame as to ruin it. Sorry. Anybody read a great book lately?

Addled Reads

Addie. Ada. Adelaide. Women-y novels. Not my fave.

The Boston Girl, by Anita Diamant. Syrupy story about a Jewish family pre-WWI in Boston. The smart, cute daughter of three, Addie Baum’s luck was incredible as she escaped the critical eye and neglect of her financially struggling immigrant parents to be welcomed into a high class world with summer trips to Rockport. What?  Yiddish terms seemed forced with a smattering of contextual history. Very light read indeed. **

The Magician’s Lie, by Greer Macallister. Reminiscent of World of Wonders. Turn of the century in America. It’s about Ada, who becomes Arden a female magician, protégée of the first, Adelaide. Boyfriend manager far-fetched. No character came to life except for Ray who was stalker evil. If someone wants to do you harm, the only way to escape is through magic or murder. Ending hard to swallow, like a bad fire-eater. A pretty good escape on a snowy weekend. ***

Winter Shade

Fiery crashes. Tragic. Tiger’s demise. Sad. Public lies. You don’t conflate a life-changing event. You remember it in great detail. Taking sniper hits on the tarmac in Somalia. Inventing Vietnam war service and still voted to the Senate. Consequences no longer apply.

Can’t watch television “news”.  Listened to Obama’s whole speech at the Prayer Breakfast. He was funny, spiritual, balanced. Wondered if Foxbots were covering this. Nope, another story criticizing the Prez for something or other. Then, later talking points revolved around the prayer speech saying that a moral equivalence had been made with ancient Christianity and modern evil Islamist extremists. Nothing is further from the truth. Try taking in the entirety of what someone says before slanting. Lazy. Vacuous. Not journalism.

Downton has devolved into “As the Manor Turns”.  Too cold for side trekking. Escape to books this weekend.

Monday Scores

Cheers emanating from all homes, bars, apartments as U.S. team outpaced Portugal for much of the game. Exciting finish ended in a tie. Kept even non-fútbol fans riveted. Cristiano isn’t hard to look at either.

mAdBen’s Young Lions week at Cannes a rousing success. As Ogilvy took home the biggest prize for the third year in a row, he had some wins of his own. Plus, he got to hang with Neil deGrasse Tyson, if not Gisele.

Erik Tarloff’s new novel, All Our Yesterdays, a very good read. Enduring love story Berkeley 70’s to present day. Summer Kabobs on the grill. Happy Solstice. Lapping up the long days while they last.