Wednesday, July 12, 2006

If on a summer's morning a commuter

Currently making my curious way through If on a winter's night a traveler. Near the beginning of the book Calvino lists several categories of Books You Haven't Read, including:
Books You Mean to Read But There Are Others You Must Read First
Books You've Been Hunting for Years Without Success (maybe less common in the age of
Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified

This book itself belongs to Books You've Been Planning to Read for Ages, and I'm glad I am now. I generally like books about the nature of reading (unless they cross the pretentious line). The "novel" unfolds into permutations, becomes "an instrument, a channel of communication, a rendezvous."

I was taking a break from reading this morning on the commuter train to watch some people on the bottom part of the car read. I guess I never realized how much I love to watch other people read (though I'm certainly in the right job right now to do that). There was a boy about eleven reading To Kill a Mockingbird while his nearsighted dad peered at a WWI history. Behind them, a woman in her early thirties was halfway through Emma. The world can't be totally on the rocks when people are still reading Harper Lee. Scenes like this also bolster my opinion that the book will survive. No matter how much digital media engulf communication, nothing will surpass the intimacy of the handheld volume.

Has anyone reading this (?) read A Handful of Dust? I read it and was so put off. I loved Brideshead Revisited, but this book felt like it had no heart. I guess books have to have a little bit of a heart for me to appreciate them.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I like my men like my coffee

earthy, sweet, and lively
This weekend I was in Louisville. I got caught up on movies (Mulholland Drive, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). I played lots of Scrabble. I went to my favorite places - Heine Brothers', Ramsi's, Mark's Feed Store, Clare's house, and Ear X-Tacy. At the latter, I bought two CDs, which I really shouldn't have, but they're essential. The Rushmore soundtrack is full of good songs, and Taking the Long Way (the Dixie Chicks' new CD) is quite amazing. I miss the country-ness that characterized their earlier songs, but these songs are so good. They're about interacting with both past and future, and not apologizing for one's self and beliefs.

clean, sharp, well-rounded
Which is a good affirmation in general, and in particular right now. Something about Louisville, or maybe just this weekend, made me feel free. Maybe it was the chance I got to jump on a trampoline, to be airborne and momentarily weightless in thick summer air.

smoky richness, with a tantalizing finish
However...I did get my ass handed to me in a spectacular game of Scrabble. My consummately worthy opponent got 512 points.

(The coffee descriptions come from Heine Brothers' website.)