Thursday, October 11, 2012

in which I enjoy lists


1. I have memorized my library card number, because I need to log in with it to get e-books. This strikes me as something that is as it should be.

2. It appears to have pushed my bank card number out of my brain, and I am trying to convince myself that that is also as it should be, rather than a sign of my decrepitude.

3. I was listening to Peggy Lee's "I'm a Woman" in the car this morning, and singing along to all the things she can do (starch and iron two dozen shirts / make a dress out of a feed bag / swing till four a.m., go to bed at five, jump up at six and start all over again), and then I said out loud, "I can't actually do any of those things," and laughed like a loon. I often feel less-than due to my lack of domesticity and social spontaneity (because it seems like you should do at least one of those things, right? you should be either house-proud or the life of the party, rather than reading amidst the dog-hair tumbleweeds), but some of the time I can laugh at it. And that is so good.

4. What my iPod shuffle plays when I am alone in the car: Peggy Lee, bluegrass, classical, interesting indie rock, flamenco, etc. What my iPod shuffle plays when my new boyfriend is in the car: crap 90s pop which is on there strictly for workout purposes.

5. My car is too loud for the drive-through.

6. Finished The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain. It is the story of Ernest Hemingway's first marriage, told from the point of view of the wife, Hadley Richardson. I don't think McLain is a particularly amazing writer, although every now and then there was a very well-crafted phrase, and her few attempts to write a chapter from Ernest's perspective were cringe-inducing. The descriptions of expatriate writer life in the 1920s were decent but could have been filled out, and I wish there had been more about the politics of Europe at the time. Hemingway does go off and do his war reporting, but the background for the conflict is really glossed over. I found this book compelling as hell, though, simply because as a portrait of a collapsing marriage it is deadly accurate. Reading it in fact brought me back to a lot of emotions I haven't felt in a while. I know those feelings will always surface periodically, and as long as I let them pass through me instead of bottling them up, I'll be okay. In summary: Hemingway was a dick. But we already knew that.

7. Then I read Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese. It's a huge sprawling book about twin boys born to an Indian mother and English father in 1950s Ethiopia, and the medical career in America one of the boys (our narrator) goes on to experience. Verghese is a doctor, and the descriptions of medical care and operations are fascinating and clear (not to mention graphic). The politics are also handled quite well, I thought. Alas, I didn't like our hero, so the second half of the book I found less appealing than the first, in which he's telling the story of his birth and childhood and he doesn't really appear as a character. Also, women are treated pretty shabbily in general and sex never ends well. For the first three hundred pages I couldn't put this down, but was disappointed by the second three hundred. I certainly understand the popularity of it, though, and would describe it as a good book.

8. I am reading three books at once right now, which I don't usually do (one is a re-read). Perhaps I am trying to make up for my lack of reading during September.

9.  I may never be either a domestic diva or social butterfly (or dance in "Swan Lake", or play the cello), but I have periodic spasms of wanting to get out the tool kit and fix everything myself. I predict this current one will end when a crucial piece of my broken dryer is flung across the basement, and disappears forever, because I thought a spider fell into my hair.

10. I cannot entirely blame #5 for this, since it happens when I am on foot as well: my ratio of "ordering decaf" to "receiving decaf" is only at about 2:1 these days. Just how exciting will my day be? I NEVER KNOW.   

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