Friday, May 24, 2013


1. I've read a couple more mysteries by Elizabeth George and Tess Gerritsen. They remain known quantities.  In the latest Gerritsen a character goes to New Mexico in the summer and it is so unbearably hot that she swears she will never again complain about a Boston summer. I laughed and laughed, because Gerritsen could not have telegraphed more clearly that she has never been to NM if she'd made it part of the book's title. The area of New Mexico she has her characters visit does not get any hotter than Boston, cools down twenty degrees at night, and has zero humidity. I have come to love many things about New England, but summers here make me want to die, and I live two blocks from the ocean.

2. Turns out I am the kind of person who, in the middle of a romantic text conversation, will feel the need to mention that my dog dropped a three-bagger on that morning's walk. (Berowne: "Now there's something to brag about.")

3. My Early Reviewers book this month was Duel with the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed Up to Take on America's First Sensational Murder Mystery, by Paul Collins. It's an account of a murder trial in 1799 New York, in which Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr both represented the defendant. The description of the court system at the time was quite interesting and well presented, but the "teaming-up" aspect of it wasn't too clear: we didn't get a lot of information as to the interplay between Burr and Hamilton. That's my only quibble, though; it was a solid book and I enjoyed it.

4. My metabolism, instead of gradually slowing down, appears to have just... stopped. As of last month, my body's new magic trick is the ability to generate six flab-pounds from five baby carrots. Is this because I made fun of that stupid book which claimed women over thirty-five have to avoid dessert? I REGRET NOTHING.

5. Read: When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris. I think I prefer Sedaris' writing as an occasional thing, not as a full book of essays. I enjoyed this but found myself wondering what it is like to experience awkwardness for a living. Do you suppose he panics if a week goes by and nothing humiliating has happened to him? "I've been so unproductive!"

6. I found some pseudo-glam pictures of me from about five or six years ago, and I can't decide if I am more depressed by how incredibly thin and pretty I was, or by the fact that I almost certainly didn't think I was thin and pretty at the time. Ah, the pointlessness of regret. See above re: dessert.

7. Read: Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, by Bee Wilson. It had some interesting parts but was divided into a few long, long chapters, when the material would have been better served (in my opinion) by shorter zippier segments. Each chapter contained some fascinating historical material and some really dull parts: the first chapter ended with ten pages debating the metallurgic composition of the perfect saucepan, as an example. I barely made it through that bit. Overall the book felt oddly non-comprehensive and too detailed all at once: Wilson picked a few topics and then dove in to Mariana Trench level, which didn't always work. And I expected more about food, but it's all about cooking technology, not the actual things humans have chosen to eat over the centuries. 

8. Got family visiting from out of town this weekend! There will be less reading than usual but for once this is not a bad thing. 

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