Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policeman's Union. Delightful in so many ways. Rich, wry, evocative language. Fresh plot and characters. I'm still pondering the political implications of the alternate history, in which the Israelis lost the 1948 war and therefore the Jews are stateless outcasts. In this world, the Sitka District in Alaska has been a Jewish enclave for 60 years. Now it's about to revert to the USA, and the Jews -- not by any means full citizens -- will once again be homeless.
Lia Silver, Laura's Wolf and Prisoner. Werewolf romance is NOT my kink. Neither is military fiction. But I devoured these well-written, powerful stories about werewolf marines. They offer richly imagined individuals facing their own fears and finding courage, comfort, and understanding. The depictions of PTSD are as good as anything I've read -- understandably, since Lia Silver is a therapist who specializes in treating PTSD.
Peter Straub, all the Blue Rose stories and novels. This was a reread -- for the first time in several decades, in the case of Koko and Mystery. The Throat, OTOH, is one of my touchstone books; I've read and re-read it often over the years. I'd read all but one of the tales in The Juniper Tree and Other Blue Rose Stories, but not for years.
My verdict? They're better than I remembered them. Seeing the stories -- which have multiple points of view and present conflicting stories of who did what to whom -- in some kind of order, as a whole, casts interesting reflections and illuminations on different aspects.
Sarah Vowell, Assassination Vacation. Entertaining book about Vowell's adventures traveling to sites associated with US presidential assassinations. I was already familiar with Lincoln's assassination, but I actually learned a few new facts from her. She managed even to make me interested in James A. Garfield, one of our most colorless presidents; turns out he'd really rather be reading than President, a preference that makes sense to me.
Pride. This film was made for me. Welsh coal miners on a long strike get unexpected support from London gays and lesbians. (Nobody mentions bisexuals or trans* people.) It's a true story from Thatcherite Britain, and it was warm, funny, moving, delightful. Best single-actor dance scene since Kevin Kline in In and Out. The film is still in (art) theaters. Go see it if you possibly can.
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. First rewatch in, umm, a long long time. Probably close to 20 years. Some of it is still brilliant; some of it is still obnoxious. I'm sure you can figure out which bits I like best. (Hint: Death yes, Mr. Creosote no.) The one thing that has changed is that my God, they all look young now.
Once upon a Time has totally jumped the shark. Unless I see Captain Hook naked this season, I'm giving up.
Gracepoint is the US version of Broadchurch, which I loved. Despite changing the town's name, the US version has kept almost all the dialogue intact -- and has David Tennant reprising his role as the out-of-town detective seeking redemption. Tennant's American accent is distracting, particularly since it sounds like an imitation of Peter Falk's accent.
Yes, that sounds off, but not more than everybody else's lines. You cannot just transplant plot and dialogue that way. Americans have different rhythms to their speech. Moreover, American towns have different class structures, different tensions, different reactions to the media. Almost everything rang false. Which is a pity, because Broadchurch rang true in so many ways. I wonder how much of that is distance lending enchantment; I'm unlikely to notice the errors committed in portraying British local or regional culture.
The World Series, with the Giants (a local team) against the Kansas City Royals.
After that, it's Nanowrimo. Yes, I'm doing it again. I've got a lot of writing to do, and this is a fun way to do it. I'm over there as Wordweaver.
What are you up to?
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