Thursday, May 27, 2010

Anticipation

There are now 500 books in my "to-read" queue on the GoodReads site. I feel like I've reached some milestone of anticipation. There are 500 books stretched ahead of me, awaiting my attention to bring their stories to life. The 500th book incidentally was The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, yet another Scandinavian mystery.

I certainly have been on a book buying binge lately. I'm using my upcoming vacation as an excuse to buy new books, but the truth is I'll be lucky if I can finish one on the trip. My four-year-old son will be accompanying me, so reading time will be limited, just as it is here at home under the same conditions.

I'm currently fifty some odd pages away from the end of True Grit, and I have a strong urge to finish it tonight. As I'm reading I'm amazed at the sheer perfection of the story. The tale is told by 14-year-old Mattie Ross, who is determined to personally bring justice to the man who killed her father in cold blood. She employs the Marshall Rooster Cogburn to track the killer, and they are joined by a young Texas ranger named LaBoeuf. There is a film in the making, directed by the Coen Brothers. Jeff Bridges will play Rooster Cogburn, and I believe Matt Damon is playing the young girl, Mattie Ross. He's quite the actor that Matt Damon.

Besides all the books I'm looking forward to reading, I'm also excitedly anticipating my upcoming vacation. In the beginning 7 days (plus 2 travel days) seemed like plenty of time, but the days are already filling up with parties, and other familial obligations. As some goober once said though, "It's all good."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sneak Preview

This is the film I'm most looking forward to this year. It's based on an amazing book by the master of "counrty noir," Daniel Woodrell. This film looks like it's going to be a winner (in the vein of "Frozen River" from a couple of years back), but do yourself a favor and read the book first. Woodrell is an American treasure that should have a much wider reading audience.

Early Riser

I actually got out of bed at 10:30 this morning! That's at least an hour or so earlier than usual. I had a minor errand to run, which gave me the impetus to get up. I shipped a box of books back to Massachusetts, rather than fill a suitcase with the heavy articles. I'm fully expecting the airline to charge me all kinds of extras. Hell, it wasn't that long ago that some bright-minded individual came up with the idea of charging flight passengers to use the restroom. Let's hope that fool has been sacked. I usually don't carry a lot of change on trans-continental flights.

True Grit seems to have been the right choice for my next read. It's moving along quickly, and it's wonderfully written. I have previously read three of Charles Portis's novels. True Grit and Masters of Atlantis are the last two books of his that I need to read. So far, Dog of the South is still my favorite.

There is a reading tonight at the bookstore. Some book encouraging women to date their "non-types." It should be quite exciting and informative. I'm glad that I'll most likely be out to lunch. Thinking back to last week, I wish I had my picture taken with Melissa Sue Anderson when she was at our store promoting her book. It would have been fun just for kicks to post it here on my blog. She was very pleasant, for a ex-child celebrity. A certain local gardening author still takes the title for most annoying prima donna at a book signing.

Since I have just over an hour until I have to leave for work, I think I'll get a little more of True Grit read.

Monday, May 24, 2010

No Time to Lose...

It's Monday! That means there is actually an entire work week ahead of me. No wonder I'm walking on clouds. The sun is out at the moment, but I would suspect that to be a temporary condition.

A week from this Thursday I will be flying back "home" to the east coast. I will be accompanied by my Significant Other and my son. I'm already trying to smooth out any stressful bumps that may occur along the way.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Musical Interlude

Here is the Icelandic band Múm, and their video for the song "Green Grass of Tunnel." This reminds me that I have a lot of music in storage (including Múm) that I need to relocate to my garage. Then I can digitize stuff in my collection that I didn't have space for in the past.

Where'd the Weekend Go?

Here I am lurching into Tuesday, and I seem to have misplaced last weekend. This includes having Friday night off too. The reason I took the night off on Friday was due to the fact that my Significant Other threw her back out on Friday morning. My son spends arrives at our house on Friday afternoon, and I couldn't very well expect her to cater to the whims of a four-year-old with a bad back. She is still nursing that back, and my main concern is that she is healthy for our trip east in a few weeks. Flying three thousand miles to visit relatives is stressful enough without the addition of excruciating back pain.

After reading Lethal Injection over the weekend, I've decided to continue on with the mystery/thriller genre, and tonight I started reading Mind's Eye by Håkan Nesser. It is one of the most popular of mystery sub genres at the moment and that is Scandinavian mysteries. This recent popularity of authors from dark and icy northern Europe, was sparked by the international success of Steig Larsson's Millennium Trilogy of crime novels. In the United States the titles are: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and the soon-to-be released Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest. I've already acquired used copies (pristine used copies mind you) of the first two in mass market format. I have every intention of reading them at some point, but right now the hype is still quite active and I'd prefer that die down first. Plus the books are huge!

My reading has taken on an escapist tinge lately, and I think that is because my vacation is two weeks from this coming Thursday. We -- my Significant Other, my son, and myself -- will be flying to Providence, Rhode Island, and staying with friends in nearby Rehoboth, Massachusetts. I grew up in Rehoboth. Our motivation for the trip is the celebration of my mother's 80th birthday, but it's also been a couple of years since I've been back. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for beautiful late spring weather during out stay. And some time to sit outside and read in that idyllic weather. There will be plenty of family obligations during out stay, but I think we can fit in some quality downtime while we're there.

More about my vacation before, during and after. If I'm a good tourist, and better father, than I will remember to take plenty of pictures while we are there. I may also have few moments to write a few posts while I'm there. Words describing the joys of family reunions, rather than the acid indigestion, and iffy blood pressure that sometimes accompanies those same reunions. I may even have a nostalgic reflection or two while we're there. After all, I will be revisiting such landmarks as the former family homestead, and that pillar of education known as "D.R." -- the high school I was so anxious to leave that I ran away to join the service.

Yes, visiting my old neighborhood, and catching up with family and friends is bound to rekindle some memories. I'm not that likes to visit the past, never mind live there in some kind of nostalgic bliss. The past is irretrievable, and I seem to remember an urgency to move on at the time. Revisiting those times will be bittersweet, but also maybe a little therapeutic. My son and beloved will be there to share these memories with, and to put a new take on things.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Whereabouts Unknown

Where have I been for the past week and a half? Actually, I did post recently, but it was so full of whining that I deleted it the next day. I'll whine in private, thank you very much. Needless to say, I've been a bit at a loss for words recently. The days are getting sunnier, and it's getting more difficult to get my ass into work each day.

I'm nearly done reading Idiot America, which is a bit of a disappointment. I expected a funny, yet scathing critique of the idiots known as conservatives/Republicans/right-wingers, etc., but instead the book reads more like a hybrid between a textbook and an NPR commentator, who goes on for too long. There are some interesting pieces of information in the book, but overall I feel that it's rather forgettable.

Maybe I'll have the time to finish reading Idiot America tonight, so that I can quickly dive into some fiction. I am flying back to the east coast with my son and Significant Other in just three weeks. I'll be needing some literary escapism for probably at least the next month and a half.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ah Youth!

There is currently a young man of about twelve, browsing our store. He is wearing a black beret. I'm guessing that he gets beat up a lot in school.

That's a purely random thought. Other than judging young people by their dress, I have been buying used books from customers, and then pricing those same used books, so that I can then shelve them in their proper sections. Their is an author event tonight. Another pictorial book about historical Seattle. This event will most likely attracts any ancients still breathing in the Seattle metro area. Like always, I will be out-to-lunch (or in this case, supper) during the reading.

Coming Up For Air

So, I was just watching Ms. Eric Cantor, speaking before the cult known as the Heritage Foundation. During the question and answer period, a man...well, let's be honest: a portly, balding white man, who is worried that his insatiable greed will no longer pay off under an administration that is actually starting to pay attention to the needs of working class citizens, hemmed and hawed as he tried to phrase his question: "At what point can we label Obama a Domestic Enemy?" Mr. Cantor, who is usually two testicles short of maleness, actually stated that the president is not a "domestic enemy." He was booed for his forthrightness, but at least he stood against the real enemy: ignorance. He'll probably call in to Rush's radio show tomorrow to take back his statement, so that he can continue to garner the support of that dying race known as Greedy, Ignorant, White Males.

Since I am inundated lately with the stupidity of the American public, I have decided to make Idiot America the next title that I will read. The paperback is released today, and I'm hoping that the book is good enough to recommend to readers. In my oh-so-humble opinion, there are not enough books out there that skewer the fringe element of our society. Those ignorant sods that take their marching orders from the likes of Glenn Beck, Sarah Payoff, and Rush. These rich fat cats enjoy pillaging our fine country through their encouragement of dissent and total outright ignorance. Don't even pay attention to the fact that most of the working public has experienced tax cuts under President Obama. Don't let facts get in the way of your agenda.

I was up until nearly three in the morning, attempting to finish the first chapter of Idiot America, and all I remember was that James Madison was a mediocre president, but damn lucky to marry Dolley Madison. I guess she was quite the babe for her day.

So, back to those illustrious tea partiers: I just can't help myself when it comes to criticizing the willfully and woefully ignorant. I've actually seen a couple of polls lately that purportedly show that "tea partiers" actually represent a broader swath of Americans that we give them credit for, including...wait for this...educated people! Yikes! Better look out. Somebody read a book once. Frankly, I think that "news" organizations are tired of being called out for covering a bunch of dolts, and giving them more credit than they deserve.

Just watch the video below, and try counting the smart tea party protesters. I don't think you'll need more than one hand for this. In fact, I only needed one particular finger to reflect my thinking when it comes to tea party madness. Take a gander at the loonies, who haven't got a clue. It would be almost sad if they were not so ridiculous.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mere Minutes to Go

It's a rainy day in Seattle. What else is new? We are at the beginning of May, so at this point I have just over a month until I leave for a vacation to the homeland (Massachusetts.) I will be revisiting landmarks from my youth, and getting reacquainted with relatives and friends from days gone by.

I had a few meager goals for my weekend, and I managed to complete a few. I mowed our lawn, even with the rain sprinkling upon my aging shoulders. I also finished reading Blood Lake and Other Stories by Jim Krusoe last night. It quite a foray into a literary bizzaro world. Now I'm excited to pick my next book, and determined not to spend the rest of the week choosing.