Sunday, October 21, 2007
Just wanted to give a shout-out to Intern Chris and his band-- we saw them play at The Bitter End Thursday night, and they rocked the house. Check out his website-- if you like his stuff, you can download the albums on iTunes. Also, he has moody photos on his website because he is deep and intellectual. Sometimes he thinks about really heavy stuff.
Title: Sophie's Choice
Author: William Styron
Judgin' the Book by Its Cover: Super boring cover art... that's all I have to say on the subject.
Thoughts: I'll be honest-- I've been dreading this review for some time (I finished the book two weeks ago-- does that tell you anything?). But, as I'm learning, Quixotic quests ain't easy and you're going to have to do things that you would prefer not to.
Here's the thing with this book: every time you think that things couldn't possibly get worse, a horrible new truth is revealed. It was a little bit like a Lifetime movie in the sense that the atrocities that dogged the character seemed unrealistic and made it difficult to connect with the main character or to view her as a fellow human. But I guess that tells you a lot about human nature-- it's incredibly difficult to look evil, heartache, and pain straight in the eye. It's much easier to ignore, try to forget, or laugh it off.
Sophie's Choice had a lot to say about guilt and ways that people deal with it. The book really illustrated the way that people hide guilt by telling untruths to themselves and to the people around them to keep from addressing an ugly reality. It also depicts how it is often only with lots of time and lots of telling and retelling that we hear the true story of someone's life. It challenged me to be a listener and an observer, someone who patiently waits for others to feel safe enough to tell stories that they desperately need to share.
On a different note altogether, this is the first book from the reading list that is set in New York, and it is an intriguing window into a New York of days long gone. The narrator's experience as an outsider living in Jewish Flatbush in the days immediately following WWII is ably described and quite fascinating.
Overall, this was a well-written book that wrestled with a variety of difficult topics. It's well-worth a read, but probably only when you have the time and energy to properly absorb the material.
Monday, October 1, 2007
I'm going big and bold on this one-- October is the best time of the year. I'm particularly fond of it, not just because of the great and detailed childhood memories that the scents of the season evoke, but also because it's one of the few times in the year when my cold-weather-loving Main Squeeze and I both really enjoy the Great Outdoors (well, maybe I should say that we enjoy the Great Outdoors more... the Main Squeeze has been known to brashly state that he'd be happy if he could live under a dome and never really be outside again).
Reason #1 why October= Rocktober (the MS's nickname-- I can't take credit): apples! Sure, you can get apples other times of the year, but I'm really grateful for them now-- the nip of cold air at night now reminds me that I don't have too many trips to the farmer's market left before winter. (Sidenote: I finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Friday, and I highly recommend it. It was definitely good reading. Stay tuned for a report on home cheesemaking, which I've been newly inspired to attempt).
Reason #2 why October= Rocktober: pears! OK, name one thing more delicious than a juicy, October pear... I dare you! OK, I WILL... and it's...
Reason #3 why October= Rocktober: apple pear turnovers!! This delicious recipe is courtesy of Williams-Sonoma's cooking for kids (laugh it up, fuzzball... the kids' recipes are simpler and call for fewer ingredients... hey, I'm not ashamed!). Frozen puff pastry is expensive and bad for you, but, wow, this is an amazing let's-celebrate-fall treat!
Reason #4 why October= Rocktober: fall movies! (Disclaimer: I'm not advocating in any way the usual moody crop of fall let's-beg-for-an-Oscar bitter dramas disguised and marketed as comedies... despite, not because of, the overload of this sort of thing, I still look forward to fall movies every year). Saturday night brought the advent of The Darjeeling Limited, so of course I was there, gleefully chewing on my overpriced Milk Duds (I always forget to smuggle in my own snacks...). I liked it a lot-- as usual, the production design was incredible, especially with the infusion of the rich, vibrant colors that seemed to saturate every frame, the script was funny, and the characters were lovable (Adrien Brody is hilarious... although, it was pretty unsettling to see Owen Wilson in light of recent events). The Main Squeeze was a bit disappointed by the movie-- he felt like Wes Anderson was rehashing his old material, i.e. The Royal Tenenbaums Go to India. I see his point, but at the same time, I thought that the story, while not as unique as it was a couple of movies ago, to be compelling and true. I may just be partial to the themes of family reconciliation and restoration because they make me optimistic about my own family's future, but hey, what are you going to do? Sue me? Just go ahead and try-- I'm invincible! It's Rocktober, for crying out loud-- everything's turning up Millhouse!