Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Bill and I spent a busy vacation week in NY. On the upside, we visited with friends and family--it was fun. There was far too much traveling involved though. We traveled for more than 40 hours in between Wednesday and Monday. We dealt with late trains, canceled trains, and more. Boo!

The traveling did provide me with time to have some additional hours of sleep and get some reading done. I finished The Princess Bride and Buttercup's Baby. It was impossible for me to read The Princess Bride without hearing and seeing the movie in my mind as a read. It was enjoyable, but it wasn't absolutely fabulous. Buttercup's Baby was just odd. William Goldman is one weird, brilliant guy. I have to say that without the movie, it would have been really difficult for me to have imagined what the story would look and sound like. The characters are realy one dimensional, and Goldman leaves a lot of room for interpretation. How incredibly odd to invent another author/narrator etc.

This brings to mind one of my fond memories from St. John's. I remember getting together with the majority of my dorm to watch The Princess Bride in a tiny little room in the student union. "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!"

We did get to see friends and family. Bill's parents are very kind, and it's always nice to spend time with them. Bill's Dad's family is hospitable and kind as well. We saw Bill's grandma--she's cute. Bill's sister is really blossoming into a lovely woman.

Shopping the day after Thanksgiving was a hoot. I've never seen lines to just get in the stores (midday)! Bill and I visited the Pommes Frites in the East Village. Wonderful--I still feel the fries hardening my arteries. We also visited the Strand again. Joe doesn't like it because of it's being ill-organized, but I do. When I enter a bargain store, part of the pleasure is searching through the shelves and finding treasures. I can always order something over the internet if I know what I want to begin with, but I like coming across jewels by chance. I've found favorites--like The End of the Affair that way. It's all the more delicious.

So, these are my new additions to my growing inventory:

  • Martin Amis, Night Train (Vintage, 1997). This is a psycholical play on the old detective novels. I've read about 121 pages of it, so I'll relate more on it later this week.

  • Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (Penguin, 1790). Odious commented on how Serenity was largely based in Burkeian philosophy. Having not read up on my Burke in quite sometime I thought this was a good find. Plus, not being a lover of the French (pre-Iraq invasion era), I can't ever resist a philospher exposing the faults of their political system.

  • Kenneth R. Timmerman, The French Betrayal of America (Three Rivers Press, 2004). I can't really count this one as my own. It's gift for my mother. Apparently, it documents how the French provided Sadddam with weapons and tools for nuclear war etc.

  • Marguerite Duras, The Sea Wall (Perennial Library, 1952). I've always liked Duras. Beautiful prose. Deeply absorbing. Incredibly dark, and yet uplifting.

  • Charles R. Morris, American Catholic (Vintage, 1997). Is it true that there are more Catholics in NY than in Dublin? Yup. I don't know if there's an agenda to this one, or whether its more factual than editorial.

  • J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan (Puffin Books, 1911). Yippee. Who doesn't like Peter Pan in their man? Do not make that into a dirty joke, Odious, Peculiar, Larissa, Kate, Joe, Carly, Cube or Proclus.

  • Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees (Penguin, 2002). This one I can't really count either since I have it on loan from Bill's sister, Kate.

  • Dorothy Dunnett, Niccolo Rising (Vintage, 1986). Having already purchased Volumes II and III of this series, I was happy to come across Volume I. Cheers!

  • Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (Anchor Books, 2002). Joe called this one trash...but he calls anything popular trash. I don't happen to agree. Some very popular things are actually very good, like The Bible, candy, and love. :)

  • Haydn Middleton, Grimm's Last Fairytale (Thomas Dunne Books, 1999). Gothic. My latest genre obsession.

  • Adam Nicholson, God's Secretaries (Perennial, 2003). History. Always an obsession. If Christopher Hitchens endorses it, then I'll read it. No guarentee I'll agree with it, but I'll read it.

  • Early Irish Myths and Sagas (Penguin, 1981). Folktales are a wonderful way to discover the sole of any given culture. Like science fiction, folktales allow the authors to say a lot about humans nature, perhaps even more than other types of stories. It's like Shakespearean characters who were most themseves when masked by costumes. Sometimes you have to hide a little to say the most.

  • Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White (Penguin, 1999 ed.). So, I got confused an thought that Joe had recommended Collins, but it was actually Kate. No matter. I trust both sources. I look forward to reading a "Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism."

  • Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone (Penguin, 1993 ed.). Mystery. An English detective novel. Yum.

  • Edited by Nicholas Griffin, The Selected Letters of Bertrand Russell, Volume I, The Private Years (Houghton Mifflin Co, 1992). Biographies. How many volumes could there be? This one is 532 pages.

  • Henry James, Daisy Miller (Penguin Books, 1878 ed.). I haven't liked the James I've read in the past, but this one's short so I thought I'd give it a try.

  • Alan Wall, The School of Night (Thomas Dunne Books, 2001). More gothic. This one is by a contemporary author, but the story is set in the past. I'll have to see how it compares with old Gothic horror/mystery.

  • Martin Amis, Time's Arrow (Harmony Books, 1991). Who knows? Joe recommended it.

      That's it for now folks.