Friday, February 29, 2008

Boston Bound

I'm up on Boston this weekend visiting my sister, Shannon. I slummed it on the Peter Pan bus for about four hours which was actually not so bad. I know everyone thinks the train is much nicer, and maybe it is. But it's also a hundred bucks or so more. And my bus today wasn't crowded which meant that I got to stretch out (and sat nowhere near the bathroom). So I had a few hours of napping and reading and sort of watching Superman Returns on the bus TVs before arriving in South Station.

I got into Boston about an hour before Shannon got out of work. Since her office is in the historic part of the city, we had decided this morning that I'd kill some time in the touristy but good for time-killin' Quincy Market. She was even kind enough to send me a google map, but since I don't have a printer, I left South Station with only the vaguest idea of where I was going. I've been there before, but it's been a while and I'm definitely not gifted with a good sense of direction. So I asked a woman standing outside the station, and she gave me the girliest of all chick directions ever. The went something like this:

See those two roundish looking buildings? You'll want to go sort of between there...then you'll keep walking diagonally but also a little to the left. Then the streets will open up more. And you'll see the market right there, and you'll know you're there because it won't be so businessy.
Not a street name to be had, but those directions actually got me exactly where I needed to be.

Shannon and I hung out for a bit and then met up with Veronica and Mike for dinner, which was great. It would have been lame to come all this way and not get to see them for a while, too. We ate pasta at a little place on the North End before heading over to Mike's Pastries, which Shannon had been told by many people was the best pastry shop in the city. I haven't yet tasted all the pastry in the city, but Mike's was pretty good.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Self Portrait 4

It's Thursday, which means there's no pressure to be a good writer, just pressure to find a picture of myself I'm willing to share with the world.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Sorry, readers, I've got nothing to give you today. No youtube videos, no interesting anecdotes, and no haikus. It's nearly 7:00 and I'm still at work, which never puts me in the mood to sit at my computer longer. And my home internet is out (worker men are coming tomorrow sometime between 8:00 AM and whenever the fuck they feel like it), which means that I can't wait until I'm home to blog properly. So here's today's Blog 365 fulfilling but ultimately pretty lame post.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Those Good Will Hunting boys sure do get around

I give you: the follow up to Sarah Silverman's, "I'm Fucking Matt Damon."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Academy Awards Apathy

Last night's Oscars were really something of a disappointment. First of all, I totally biffed on the pool, winning not one single dollar. Given that I usually do well in these, my ego is bruised (I talked some smack to a few people about how well I was going to do) and, frankly, I really wanted that money. I have vacations-a-plenty I'm planning and need some cold hard cash to make them happen. Winning the Oscar pool sounded like more fun and easier money than working the counter at Sephora.

Second, I thought they were even more boring than usual. Given how little time Jon Stewart and team had to put his material together, plus how much of the presenters intros and banter had to be written in such a short period, I do understand what happened. But that didn't make the umpteenth montage any more entertaining to watch. Jon Stewart mocked the montages early, acknowledging that he realized the over-reliance was weak; but that did nothing to spice up the dull evening.

There were moments of humor: Jon Stewart reminding us all that Diablo Cody used to be an exotic dancer and was now an Oscar nominated (later that night Oscar winning) screenwriter, and asking how she enjoyed the pay cut, for instance. But to balance out each good joke, there was one that failed to land, such as the odd Dennis Hopper encounter. Stewart also did a bit more political monologueing than I remember from last time he hosted. Admittedly, this year is about as ripe for political monologueing as any in history; but I think that given more time with his writers he would have found opportunities to better link the political barbs to Hollywood, the film industry, and the nominees.

Steward did his best and wasn't bad. But the rest of the evening did him no favors in terms of keeping things interesting. While there were surprises (see the above mentioned Oscar pool suckage) none of them got me excited. Ellen Page didn't win some big upset. Johnny Depp didn't win and treat us to an impromptu live performance of "Epiphany." No speeches made me cry; no clips made me really want to see movies I hadn't seen. Much of this may be due to my own lackluster feelings about the movies this year but by 11:45 when things wound up, I was very ready to call it a night.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscars '08

The Oscars are in just a few short hours, and below are my predictions for the night's awards. Even more immediately, though is the red carpet pre-show. My predictions for that? Hilary Swank and Helen Mirren will look stunning. Johnny Depp will have weird facial hair. And Bai Ling will, of course, look like she stumbled out of a mental institution.

As for the actual awards, here's who I hope wins, not because I think they are each the most deserving in their respective categories, but because I want to win the various pools I've entered.

BEST PICTURE: No Country for Old Men
BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
BEST ACTRESS: Julie Christie, Away From Her
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
BEST DIRECTOR: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
BEST EDITING: The Bourne Ultimatum
BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM: The Counterfeiters (Austria)
BEST MAKEUP: La Vie en Rose
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: ‘’Falling Slowly,’’ Once

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Friday at the theatre with George

The new production of Sunday in the Park with George, which opened this week on Broadway, is wonderful! As with so many of the recent Sondheim revivals, this was a British import, this time in both cast and concept, and the two leads--Daniel Evans and Jenna Russell--were excellent.
Portraying, in the first act, the artist George Seurat and his lover and model Dot, Evans and Russell are extraordinarily moving. Their tale of imperfect love and the creation of art is one of the most beautiful pieces of musical theatre I've ever seen. To see Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte come into being at the end of the first act is incredible.

The show's second act is always something of a let down after the near-perfect first act. It also stars Russell and Evans, this time as George and Dot's daughter and great grandson, who is also an artist. It's far less human than the first act and is more of a rumination on the commerce of art and the challenge of being inventive. This production does slightly better than normal, though, thanks to Evans and Russell and some tight pacing (Putting It Together notwithstanding).

I haven't seen a show on Broadway that I really loved in a long time, and this one really hit me. I hope to see it again.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Favorite Movie of 2007

The Oscars are this Sunday, and I’ve already submitted my ballot for the pool I’m in. Keep your fingers crossed that I walk away with some cold hard cash!

As usual, there is very little overlap between the movies nominated by the Academy and those that struck gold at the box office. So, which of the movies that sold out opening weekend did you like best? I freely admit that this list doesn’t represent the absolute top six grossers of the year, just the ones that I, very unscientifically, am choosing to highlight. That said, which is your favorite movie of the year? If it’s not listed here, tell me your favorite in a comment.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Self Portrait 3: Hiding in Bed

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Give me down to there hair, shoulder length or longer

It’s poll time, really, because I can’t think of much to write about today.

PS: The last answer was supposed to say, “No. Long and straight is the shit.” but vizu, who does my polls, is some kind of squeaky clean anti-profanity nazi. I might have to look into a new polling service.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Creative Complaining

If you’re anything like me, you complain at and about work. Ok, maybe Rena doesn’t because A) only Austin is there to listen and B) it’s hard to complain about the boss when the boss is you. But the rest of you, surely, have gripes. I know Dorrie does. :) I am definitely not going to start spewing my work frustrations here; I think one of the most prevalent follies of bloggers and Facebookers is saying all sorts of shit about work and not expecting to get busted when their boss inevitably stumbles across their blog. Side note: is it creepy to everyone else that your boss might be googling you? Anyway...

My coworker, good friend, and complaint volleying partner recently suggested that we start exchanging frustrations in the form of poems. As she pointed out, our complaints are often just rehashes of things we’ve said before. By putting them in poem-form, we’re prompted to be a little creative, at least.

This suggestion reminded me of two things. It strikes me as funny that while neither my work at McGraw-Hill nor my job here at the School has anything at all to do with poetry, but I’m prompted to craft poems for each nonetheless. At MH, every birthday or going away party was cause to plagiarize/satirize/pay homage to (and every now and then write original) poems, songs, and even the occasional biblical verse. Collections of these poems became part of our English group culture. At Ben’s and my shared going away party, for instance, we were treated to our friends singing new lyrics to famous jail-break-themed songs.

But, more immediately, I was reminded of the time Josh sent me a wonderful, hilarious haiku about how and why working at McGraw-Hill was NOT the cat’s pajamas. Sadly, that has been lost to the annals and neither Josh nor I can find it.

I don’t want my latest creations to meet the same fate, so I offer them up here. I think they’re innocuous enough that I won’t get fired if my boss does, in fact, google me.

About my ever annoying and work-dodging coworker:
Please, figure something
Out for yourself. You're not dumb
Despite how you act

My coworker’s response:
Me, I overheard
Just enough this afternoon
To share this feeling

About the same jackass (written by my coworker):
plans for my weekend:
avoid awkwardly smug men
who e-date from work

About a nice but space-invading and halitosis-suffering coworker:
Sweater vests. Coffee.
Why stand so damn close to me?
Please, invest in mints.

Monday, February 18, 2008


I’m a funk right now where I never really feel like going out. Once I rally and make myself I usually have fun, but there is definitely an effort required in getting out and about. Tonight I’m going out for drinks with my two favorite coworkers. We’ve had the same plans three Mondays in a row, but this looks like the first time it’ll actually come together (sicknesses on their parts prevailed the last two weeks). I know it’ll be fun, we’ve been trying to do this for a while, and I really like getting to know them better outside of the cubicle context. Still, there is a part of me that just wants to go home and veg.

I hope I snap out of this soon. Life is more fun with a bit more energy, and I have plans four out of five nights this week!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ruth Reichl Strikes Again

Several months ago I read, and thoroughly enjoyed, Ruth Reichl’s Tender At the Bone. Over the last seven days I’ve inhaled her two follow ups, Comfort Me With Apples and Garlic and Sapphires. Comfort picks up where Tender At the Bone left off, with stories of Reichl’s personal struggles, triumphs, and meals.

Throughout Comfort, I imagined Reichl as someone I would love to have dinner with. The meal would, regardless of whether she introduced me to an amazing new restaurant or whipped up something in the kitchen at her commune home in Berkeley, be one to remember. Her love of food was infectious, and her relationships, dreams, and concerns felt both real and familiar. She was, simply put, someone I wanted to spend time with.

Fast forward to her stint as the restaurant critic at The New York Times, and Reichl seems like a different person. Perhaps Garlic and Sapphires suffered by being read directly after Comfort Me With Apples, but I missed the spontaneous, neurotic woman who was driven crazy by her mother; the one who woke up both satiated and devastated to find herself in bed with a man who wasn’t her husband; the one who baked a chocolate cake as a declaration of love.

The Ruth Reichl who wrote for The Times lacked the spunk of the earlier books’ narrator. Given how much I liked that first Ruth, I feel a little bad saying so, but The Times’s Reichl seems exactly like the kind of person Berkeley Reichl would disdain. She has clearly come into her own, and her success is well deserved. But there is something off putting about the way she flaunts her new wealth. The style of flaunting is one that has rubbed me the wrong way in the past, too, most memorably in the stage production of The Year of Magical Thinking (I’ve yet to read the book but assume Didion will annoy me no less in print). Reichl never mentions her vast sums of money but drops hints about the posh location of and services at her apartment building; when told the shockingly-high price of a wig she tries on she responds with an I simply must have it air. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about her refusal to directly acknowledge that she now leads a life foreign to the rest of us irritates me. It is inauthentic—she’s not an idiot; she clearly knows that we don’t all live like this—and there is nothing worse in a memoir than falsity.

Aware that she has changed, Reichl even includes in Garlic and Sapphires an article she wrote defending her career as a restaurant critic and acknowledging how she would never have imagined such a life for herself as a young woman in Berkeley. Then she goes on to admit that even she doesn’t believe her own article’s fabricated happy ending, right before recounting yet another divinely delicious and extravagantly expensive meal.

These meals and the articles she writes about them are the backbone of Garlic and Sapphires. But restaurant review after restaurant review does not a bestseller make, so Reichl drums up excitement where she can. Throughout her tenure at The Times, she invents alter egos and disguises as a means to dine anonymously at New York’s finer restaurants. She seems to truly believe her claims that she is treated shabbily when she goes out to eat as Betty, Miriam, Chloe, or Brenda. And no doubt she does not receive the royal treatment that she gets when she makes a reservation under her own name. But I, as one of the masses, can’t quite believe that life is the parade of disappointments she’d have you believe. It’s almost as if Reichl wants us, the little people, to know that she’s still one of us and feels our pain. But she’s so overeager to prove it that she practically invents new pains for us to feel. For instance, Reichl says of Jean-Georges:

The skinny young woman examined me dubiously, swinging her long black hair suspiciously back from her shoulder as my hand went to the wig in an involuntary, self-conscious motion. I said Toni’s name and the woman hesitated, searching in her book, reluctant to allow me access to the restaurant.
Not that long ago, I, myself, went out to eat at Jean-George; not only was I “allowed access to the restaurant,” the hostess was pleasant and even took my Filene’s Basement faux suede coat without turning her nose up. Though I’m sure there are plenty of restaurants where everyone from the hostess to the waiter to the sommelier to the busboy is snobby, I get the distinct impression that Reichl is manufacturing drama where there isn’t any.

Or maybe it’s as simple as this: the first two books were deeply personal. Garlic and Sapphires is more of a professional memoir than a personal one, and her anecdotes about clever disguises, odd dining partners, and plate after plate of foie gras do not add up to a sum greater than their parts.

With beautiful writing, delicious descriptions of every food she encounters, and emotional heft, Comfort Me With Apples gets my unqualified recommendation. Garlic and Sapphires, though, is only for the true foodies among us.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Colon: Personified

You Are a Colon

You are very orderly and fact driven.

You aren't concerned much with theories or dreams... only what's true or untrue.

You are brilliant and incredibly learned. Anything you know is well researched.

You like to make lists and sort through things step by step. You aren't subject to whim or emotions.

Your friends see you as a constant source of knowledge and advice.

(But they are a little sick of you being right all of the time!)

You excel in: Leadership positions

You get along best with: The Semi-Colon

As always, with all these quizzes and anything astrological, I end up sounding like no fun whatsoever. But lists really can be fun!

My love of punctuation continues unabated nonetheless...

Friday, February 15, 2008


I had dinner with Anne (Hi Anne!) earlier this week, and as I walked, slip-sliding my way back to the subway in shoes not meant for snow and ice, I thought about how impressive so many of my friends are. This rumination was prompted by the long talk Anne and I had about a new writing project she’s embarking upon, but the more I thought the more I realized that just about everyone I know is working on something wonderful. Whether it’s Anne and her writing; Laura’s political campaigning; Jen, Rena, Drew, and Veronica starting their own businesses; Tina’s world travels; Shannon’s performances; or one of the many other things my friends are doing, I feel both proud to know so many creative and ambitious people and inspired by them.

I’m not joining the ranks of entrepreneurs or actresses, but it’s amazing to see people following their passions. And, to follow in many of your footsteps, I’m trying to set aside one night a week for my own creative work (mostly writing, though I like to think that the sky’s the limit in terms of future projects). It’s impossible to find the time and all about making the time, which is what I’m trying to do. And this fall will, one way or another, come hell or high water, find me in Europe on a proper vacation. I’ll also be knocking on doors—or hopefully something less intrusive and annoying—for the democratic presidential nominee once this never-ending primary season is over.

So, thanks to all of you for getting me motivated!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Natural Light

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I finished my first David McCullough book over the weekend. He’s written so many history books and has been so popular with critics and non-historian readers alike that I went in expecting a great book, and McCullough doesn’t disappoint. 1776 covers just what you’d expect: the fight for independence in America in the tumultuous and unpredictable year 1776. Focusing on a few key players on the battlefield, both on the American and British sides of the fight, McCullough crafts a pointed narrative out of a sprawling story. He nods at the politics in London and Philadelphia but, given the scope of 1776’s excitement, wisely chooses to focus on the military engagement almost exclusively. This is not to say that the entire book is a recount of military strategy and battlefield wounds. There is plenty of that to be sure, but through diaries and letters McCullough also details the personal struggles felt by (mostly American) men throughout the ranks.

I already have McCullough’s The Great Bridge in my to-be-read pile, and I’d like to eventually add some of his biographies as well.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Wire

I recently finished watching the fourth season of The Wire, and all I can say is: watch this show! The fourth season (now out on DVD; season five is currently airing on HBO) is the best season yet, and that’s saying something. This show is really one of the best I’ve ever seen. Why the writers, directors, and actors aren’t tripping over Emmys and Golden Globes yet is beyond me.

The Wire is a portrait of the drug trade in Baltimore, and each season focuses on a different aspect of the game. The first season introduced the key dealers and the cops trying to bring them down; season two showed us how the product gets on the streets; season three captured the ways politicians and bureaucrats contribute to the trade. Season four is the best and most heartbreaking and shows how kids and schools fit into the mix.

The beauty of the show is that it doesn’t shy away from the humanity and ugliness present in every character and every organization. The complexities of the street’s, school’s, law enforcement’s, and City Hall’s subcultures are all richly drawn, and the show never panders to the easy belief that any of this is black and white or clear cut in any way.

Seriously—watch this show!

Monday, February 11, 2008


When Shannon was in town for brunch a couple of weeks ago, it was freezing. FREEZING, freezing. And, of course, that would be the day to lose one of my gloves. I had it when I left the house; when I got to Port Authority, though, the left glove was gone, baby, gone. Since then I've invested in an awesome new pair of mittens. Check these out: they have little half-glove fingers inside, and I can whip them out at any moment for more dexterity. And they're lines with fleece, so they're ultra warm.

Thanks to global climate change it really hasn't been that cold out lately, so I had started to think I'd get no use out of them for the rest of the winter. Today is something like 3 degrees with the wind chill, though, so I'm starting to get my money's worth out of these bad boys.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

New Purchase

I made my way to Target early this morning (that's early according to Tori-time, not Rena-time) and got myself a new dresser. I've been talking about getting a dresser since I moved into the new apartment, half-baking some Ikea plan but never actually making my way across the GWB.

Of course, once I got to Target, the list was partially forgotten as I shopped around, eventually coming home with a mini wallet for small-purse outings, a butter dish, a sauce pan, and I forget what else.

I haven't put the dresser together yet, which is really for the best. This afternoon I left the box in the living room and went out for a little grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. When I got back, Camilla, in her infinite pukeyness had thrown up on the box. Better the box than hopping up on the new dresser and getting sick there, at least!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A bit of atonement really is due

Todd and I went to see Atonement tonight. I had heard mixed things about it, but since I need to catch up before the Oscars later this month--especially now that it looks like the ceremony really will go off without a hitch--I decided to give it a shot. I read the Ian McEwan book a couple of years ago and liked but didn't love it. It was a bit slow, and I wasn't totally taken with the somewhat surprising final act.

The film is faithful, as far as my memory serves, to the book: the plot and structure are both just as McEwan created. The pacing, too, is like the book's, but to the nth degree. As slow as the book was, the movie was slower. See how bored Keira Knightley looks in that poster? Maybe the picture was snapped as she suffered through her own marathon snoozefest of a movie.

The fault definitely doesn't lie with either of the stars, both of whom I think did well with what they were given. But the inherent limitations in the way the story is told--through the eyes and imagination of a child--simply make for an unsatisfying movie. And director Joe Wright relies on a heavy-handedness that borderlines on insulting. Oscar noms or not, this one's a dud.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Funny joke if you're a geek like me

A font walks into a bar. The bartender takes one look and says, “We don’t serve your type here.”


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Self Portrait Thursday

Have you all heard about this Flickr group? Random people the whole world over are taking pictures of themselves and sharing them online. I’m not on Flickr, but in the interest of achieving Blog 365 I’m hopping on the self portrait bandwagon. We’re already five weeks into the new year, which means that at most I’ll post 40 some-odd self portraits. I think it’ll be interesting to see how creative I can get (or how boring it gets to look at the same damn thing every week). Anyway, to kick off Self Portrait Thursday, I leave you with this:

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Dogs of Babel

Carolyn Parkhurst explores the madness of grief in her debut novel, The Dogs of Babel. Paul has been married to Lexy for a few years when he calls home one night only to have a policeman answer the phone and tell him to come home quickly, there’s been an accident: Lexy has been found dead, having fallen from a tree in their backyard. Though ruled an accident, something about Lexy’s death feels off to Paul, and the tragedy starts him down a strange path. Lorelei, Paul and Lexy’s rhodesian ridgeback, was home the day of Lexy’s death and is the only witness to what happened. Obsessed with knowing the truth about his wife’s death, Paul, a linguist, determines that he will teach Lorelei to talk.

With the stage thus set, Parkhurst, through flashbacks, paints scenes from Paul and Lexy’s life together. Beginning with their remarkable first date, Parkhurst slowly peels back the layers of their relationship and Lexy’s complex personality, culminating with a poignant portrait of one woman’s struggles. Simultaneously, we come to understand how Paul’s grief manifests itself in such a bizarre way. Parkhurst also includes a questionable subplot expanding on the talking dog idea. I very clearly understand the decisions she made here, but this part felt a little unrealistic, especially compared with excruciatingly real emotions found elsewhere in the book.

Overall, though, the book was a success for me. Like life and Paul and Lexy’s marriage, it’s not perfect; but there is more than enough that is worthwhile here to deserve a recommendation.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Get Out the Vote

Quick reminder to the people living in any state holding a primary or caucus today—go vote! I went this morning before work and it only took about ten minutes. And, for anyone following my own personal indecision 2008, I voted for Obama.

And for those of you who might be motivated by humor, I leave you with this:

Electile Dysfunction
: The inability to become aroused over any of the choices for president put forth by either party in the 2008 election year.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Condolences, Jimmy Kimmel

My weekend web surfing turned up this gem. Don't watch it at work. :)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Tom Cruise Scientology Video - ( ORIGINAL UNCUT ) 9:34 min

Ok, I know that Tom Cruise has been nuts for quite a while now, and this video isn't exactly brand new to the scene, either.

But this Jerry O'Connell parody on is awesome:

Saturday, February 2, 2008

My Restaurant Week Experience

It’s Restaurant Week here in New York. As is pretty/sadly typical with me, I had no idea it was coming up until it was already here, which meant that I, of course, had no reservations at any of the fancy-schmance places offering a slightly more affordable taste of the good life. Luckily, my friend Kimberly’s friend double booked herself for Thursday night, and, even more luckily, Kimberly asked me to take her place. We went for a late dinner at Scandinavian restaurant Aquavit, where we tasted just about everything on the menu. While I stuck to the pre-fixe Restaurant Week menu Kimberly—very wisely as it turned out—ventured out on her own with great effect.

We started with butternut squash soup (for me) and mixed lettuce salad (for her). Both were hits. I love butternut squash soup, and Thursday night was cold enough to make it enjoyable on multiple levels. For the main course I ordered the salmon, which was perfectly fine but truly nothing special. I feel like I’ve had salmon prepared exactly the same way many times before. My dish did come with fingerling potatoes in a dill sauce, though, which I enjoyed very much. Aside from the occasional dill pickle, there isn’t a whole lot of dill in my life, and I’m not sure why. It has a great sharp flavor and really worked well with the salmon. Meanwhile, Kimberly was proving herself a genius by ordering the smorgasbord. A tasting plate of twelve Scandinavian favorites, she had three kinds of herring, three kinds of salmon, Swedish meatball (so not like Ikea’s!), a bit of pate, and a dollop of shrimp salad. She was even kind enough to give me bites of several.

Kimberly ordered the Arctic Circle, a frozen goat cheese parfait with passion fruit curd and blueberry sorbet. While I love goat cheese like nobody's business, I've never been a fan of sweetened cheeses: no cheesecakes, cheese danishes, etc. So I went for the carmelized rice pudding with orange ice cream. It was almost like a creme brule but with with rice pudding under the crunch instead of custard.

It's not a restaurant I could afford to eat at often, but even the non-Restaurant Week Aquavit menu was actually not that expensive for a special event outing. And I appreciated that there was no pretension; Aquavit wasn't "scene-y," which would have diminished my enjoyment a bit. I want the food at a good restaurant to win the day, not a see-and-be-seen ambiance. Overall, it was a great meal and experience. Yum.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Laura Stands Alone

I finished Jaspar Fforde’s The Eyre Affair a couple of days ago. Veronica has been encouraging me to read it for ages and Anne recently read it and had great things to say about it, too. Even with those testimonials I went in not sure what to expect. The alterna-universe concept, complete with time travel, sounded like it might be a bit too sci-fi-ish for me. But the book’s meta-literary nature was certainly right up my alley. I felt like it could go either way.

The book is set in an alternate England circa 1985 where literature is taken very, very seriously. Literary detective Thursday Next is tapped for a special assignment because she has a history with and special knowledge of Acheron Hades, the villain who begins kidnapping British literature characters right off the page. With her family in danger, her career on the line, and a nation’s favorite characters in peril, Thursday has to pull out all the stops.

I’m happy to say: I loved this book! The central concept is wonderfully fresh, the pacing makes for a fun and quick read, and picking up all the references makes for great satisfaction. Fforde has written four Thursday Next follow-ups, and I hope to read them in 2009 when I allow myself to buy a book again!