Friday, August 03, 2007

Summer Reading

It's high hot summer, the dog days of August -- whatever you call it -- hazy, hot and humid. Yuck! Long cool baths, splashes of body scent {mostly alcohol that dries leaving the skin feelng cool - briefly] -- I like my job, some days I like it less than others. Two days with badly recorded panelists, interesting info but said without grace and with much jargon. Ugh! Then today a brilliant scientiest, a genomist, who talked fluidly, without out a sense of humor, with much jargon about genomic info, how it's likely to revolutionize medicine [haven't i heard this before?[] and how he's started a genomic diagnostic company, blah-blah-blah. Tired as I was at 4:00 I stayed around and did a short bit of a Martha Stewart shoot -- how relaxing to watch one of her "boys" [minions ?] arranging pink roses!!

So I took myself to a Whole Foods which always has quite good [though under spiced] selections of hot Indian food for which i was having a craving [no lunch] and came home and enjoyed it. Now I'm going to finish this book: THE BIRD ARTST, by Howard Norman, which I've been reading and have only 15 or so pages left. It is not a new book, copywrite 1994, a National Book Award finalist. It's not what people usually think of as summer reading but I find it fits that description for me. The story is set in Witless Bay, Newfoundland and the characters are aptly named to live in such a fictional place. The hero is a somewhat befuddle young man who has little initiative except in his study of bird drawing. The time is 1911. The hero has a long standing affair with a local girl but allows his parents to plan a marriage to a never seen 4th cousin. But through plot manipulations he winds up murdering (sort of) the local lighthouse keeper who sleeps with both his girlfriend and his mother. That's an unfair condensation of the plot.

I learned some years ago from my daughter when she lived in Nova Scotia briefly that Nufies are made the butt of jokes as we [who are tasteless, politically incorrect boobs] make Polish jokes. These Nufies have names that are jokes. They are mostly upright people, but also a bit backward iin various ways The writer is a tad too clever -- something that befalls too many young writers who love to watch themselves go just a bit over the edge. I am always confounded when very good critics fall for that kind of easy cleverness [I've seen it a lot in playwrighting too]. It is that, not quite serious attitude on the writer's part that makes this "light summer reading" for me. I will finish it in the next half hour and probably give it to my daughter who, along with her husband, might still enjoy the inherent Nufie jokes.

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