Wednesday, December 13, 2006

In Which We Panic and Review Books

Panic mode! Christmas in 13 days! Cards neither purchased, signed, nor mailed! Gifts for out-of-town family neither purchased, wrapped, nor mailed! Party this weekend! House not cleaned! Wassail not brewed! Many people coming! If I know you you've probably been invited; if I don't, and you haven't, just come with Homer.

Pant, pant.

In a perplexing development, our house is the only one on our block--and, actually, on our street for several blocks--to have put up lights. The neighborhood is usually lit up pretty well, so this year the girlfriend scrambled and got the front of the house tastefully strewn with electric festiveness the day after Thanksgiving. Ha, we said, we have finally beaten Mario across the street for once. Eat it, Mario! The days and now weeks have dragged on and no other lights have appeared. Was there a neighborhood protest of Christmas we weren't invited to? Perhaps our lights are so incredibly awesome as to make everyone else decide it is not worth trying to top them. I'm flattered, but sad.

Bibliophilia corner: Current concurrent reads are David Copperfield and an utterly bizarre Bookman's find called Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures. It caught my eye because it's big, robin's egg blue, and on the spine has a drawing of a weird little horned, pink puppy clutching a sword. And was printed in Canada! Quelle exotique! It's a fantasy, but not one of those annoying fantasies where all the characters are named Galadriel or Etherial and speak in hack faux-Elizabethan prose. In a huge plus for a grownup book, it's full of pen-and-ink drawings reminiscent of Edward Gorey, if not as dark. If you hated Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, you'll probably hate this. If you liked it, maybe give Rumo a shot, for the pictures if nothing else.

Never got around to reading Copperfield in school, and I am pleased to find that I like it. I liked A Tale of Two Cities when I read it last year, after loathing it as a high school sophomore, and have decided that people shouldn't be forced to read Dickens as teenagers because they'll probably end up screaming every time they hear him mentioned and won't give him a second chance as adults.

Same for Faulkner. Reading The Sound and the Fury off and on is rather not unlike wading through molasses, having to go back every three steps to retrieve your boots yet again, but it feels worth the effort. I did give Cooper a second go several months ago, managing the first fifty pages of The Spy before admitting defeat. Is that the one he wrote on a bet with his wife, that he could churn out better fiction than what she was currently reading? That must have been one fucking dull book Mrs. Cooper was saddled with at the time.

Panic mode! Again! Christmas in 13 days! Fuuuuuuuuuck!!!!

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