Saturday, January 1, 2011
On Books and The New Year
But, since we're talking about it, let's just update the reading table, shall we? When we last checked in I'd just finished Jim Brown's Justice Denied. Excellent read. From there I picked up Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars because after Brown's tale it seemed I needed to read something just a little more bizarre and Stephen King was the only person to do it.
Either you're a Stephen King fan or you're not. I have a long history with King and have been reading him since the very first books. Some were great, some were ridiculous. Some were awful. A couple I never even tried. I'm a real fan, however, of his On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft; we refer to parts of it in my Creative Writing class and the students really respond to it. Of his more recent books, I thought Lisey's Story was ... interesting and creative, but not his best stuff although it was well received. Duma Key was dumb, but it held my interest. I liked Bag of Bones and I liked Blaze, which he did as Richard Bachman. I hated Under the Dome and wanted to throw it in the road when I was finished.
That's the thing about Stephen King. You love him or you hate him. At any rate, his latest collection of stories in Full Dark, No Stars, four actually, was very good. Well, I liked them. They were dark, of course, but at the end I wasn't angry at the outcome of any of them.
I tend to alternate between fiction and non-fiction as I read. I'm now into Bobby Jindal's Leadership and Crisis. So far, I like it. He's got a personable, easy style; very conversational. The opening chapter dealt with the BP oil spill and seemed to just jump right into things without any introduction or fanfare. The chapter seemed out of place, like it should have been at the end. I guess he figured that's what people wanted to read about so he put it first. From there it covers his childhood and that of his parents, and his educational background. I've just finished reading about his shock at discovering that Ivy League universities are exceptionally liberal. He went to Brown and was told not to call females "girls" or "ladies" because that was sexist, but to call them "women." He was also scoffed at for holding doors open for his female classmates.
Steve and I spent New Year's Eve settled in our living room, Big Band music playing softly in the background, reading books. We each had a dog beside us; I had a beer and he had a gin & tonic. It was quiet and perfect. Neither one of us is much on getting out with the crazies on New Years. Steve is reading A Confederacy of Dunces and every few minutes he'd laugh and snicker as he read.
Today, we planned to watch the Winter Classic at noon (go Penguins!), as is our tradition, but due to weather issues it's been moved until this evening, which is fine. I'll put a corned beef brisket in to cook, make a pot of cabbage (with a big ham bone!) and some purple hull peas from Lester's Farm. We'll have some guacamole, and a Santa Fe Roasted Pepper Cheese Ball, and we'll spend another quiet day. I know, we're boring. But we like it! It'll be back to the grind soon enough for us both.
So, Happy New Year to you all, thanks for reading this blog all year, and I'll get back to politics real soon! I promise! In the meantime, enjoy the quiet.