Monday, October 04, 2004

Now Reading 

Solo trip down to the Ingleside Mall Sunday, because Darcie needed a few shades of orange fabric paint for Willow, who wants to be a pumpkin for Halloween, and I needed pants.

It should go without saying that trying on pants with a back out of whack is a terrible, horrible, no good very bad idea. Picture pinched nerves pitching one forward into dressing room mirrors and you're getting close. Worse, the pair I liked most, a one-of-a-size grey-olive weave, fit fine but had to be returned unfinished to the Filene's menswear guy (excuse me? You might not want to reshelve this one, it's got no buttonhole.).

Thank god for the Gap. No thanks for my irrational fear of missing "just the right pants," though, which took me to every damn store in the mall before returning to the Gap at the end of it all.

Three hours, four pairs of decent pants, and a bottle of butternut later, and figuring I was bound to end up stoned and bored on Flexoril for the rest of the evening, I postponed aching-backrest for a treatstop at Borders. In order of reading, then:

Former LAPD Homicide cop fired for drinking on the job Jesse Stone serves as a Spenseresque chief of police in the tiny shoreline town of Paradise, Massachusetts. Though Parker's stilted style and silent conflicted intellectual-jock hero isn't as distinct from previous bestseller Spenser as it should be, Death In Paradise, the third installment in the Jesse Stone saga, shows all the booze-on-the-edge and womanizing we've become used to, and tells a half-decent story good for a couple of engrossing hours in an airport or, in my case, on the couch with some leftover Peking Dumplings. Oh, this one's about some dead and unwanted teenager -- not a teribly novel plot for Parker.

One of those mostly-decent collections of subject-specific short stories which make you feel like you're reading the total output of some Breadloaf-for-Fantasy-writers writer's group what-if exercise. There's hundreds of them, from Cat Fantastic 1-V to alternate histories, alien whodunnits to holiday-specific collections, and basically any other thematic assignment you could imagine. I love them all, find them worthy of bathroom reading and sick-day snoozes, often discover new authors through them. Given that, about the best -- and worst -- one can say about this particular collection, number 4582 in an infinite series, is that it is one of them, the theme worked pretty well, and it lasted a couple of decent hours.

And now for the nobrow -- I've just started Prime Times: Writers on Their Favorite TV Shows, which caught my eye off the "new paperback" table on the way to the checkout (just like it's supposed to), but the first few essays have been wonderful -- brit Nick Hornsby on The West Wing, Phyllis Rose on the editing-as-writing in Survivor, and Elizabeth McCracken defending the validity and humor of America's Funniest Home Videos -- and I'm really, really looking forward to Henry Louis Gates Jr. on Amos and Andy, Susan Cheever on Father Knows Best, Nora Ephron on Mary Tyler Moore, and Sven Birkerts on the world in black and white, the subsequent world in color, and the medium-as-message differences between the two. So nice to find something fun to read in my own teaching subject once in a while. Now if only I was actually teaching this stuff anymore...anyone out there got a job for a young(ish) media and popculture teacher?

posted by boyhowdy | 7:58 PM |

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