Reading, watching, listening to …

I'm reading ...When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David SedarisSedaris is the master of the short, comic, grotesque personal essay.  Are his rambling ideas connected, or is he just really good at making it seem like they are? I don't know, but I die of envy. A little David Sedaris goes a long way, though, and the essays in this collection are not quite as tight and sharp as some of his other works -- but still, very funny stuff, enough to make me snort while I'm reading in bed.  An ex … [Read more...]

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I’m reading, I’m watching, I’m listening to . . .

I'm reading . . . Havana Bay by Martin Cruz Smith.  Fourth in the Arkady Renko series that began with the brilliant Gorky Park, about which I said this: Maybe because it was so popular when it came out, or maybe because the author’s name is so snazzy, I somehow assumed that it was a trashy beach book, or some kind of dated, two-bit thriller.  Boy, was I wrong.  This is the real deal — real literature, a genuinely great novel.  Almost Dostoevskian at times.The characters are so re … [Read more...]

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I’m reading, I’m watching, I’m listening to …

I'm reading . . .A Case of Conscience by James Blish (1958).It turns out that the bland title has prevented anyone else in my house from picking this book up, and they had no idea it's a Catholic science fiction adventure novel about a biochemist Jesuit who is on an alien planet collecting information about a society of super intelligent lizard-like creatures who do not sin and who have no apparent need for God, and what do we think about that? In his down time, he works on solving a … [Read more...]

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The lady was sad, and MAD. (We showed the kids an opera!)

My kids' experience with opera comes entirely from Bugs Bunny, and we really wanted them to branch out. So, with great trepidation, we showed them Don Giovanni last weekend ... and they loved  it. More or less.We did it in two nights. The first night, I set out some trays heaped with treats in the living room. We had brie, havarti, and honey goat cheese and three kinds of crackers, red and green grapes, mini chocolate eclairs, and sparkling cider. So the kids were all excited and cheerful, an … [Read more...]

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I’m reading, I’m watching, I’m listening to . . .

I'm reading . . .Zorro by Isabel Allende.Allende is definitely a guilty pleasure. Zorro is silly fun, very typical of Allende, with her contemptuous fondness for Catholicism, the silly sex scenes mashed naively in with a kind of lascivious clumsy feminism, a few plot turns that don't make any sense and quietly get abandoned, and lots of running around, sailing, fighting, crying, eating, singing, being squalid, and more running around. I like the bouncy, tasty prose, and her ch … [Read more...]

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Happy birthday, Antonín Dvořák!

Born on this lavishly romantic day in 1841.Did you know that he was a devout Catholic, and that his father was an inkeeper, butcher, and professional zither player? Does that explain a thing or two? Or not? Either way, here are a bunch of Slavonic dances to which you can whirl heedlessly around the living room.P.S. This is exactly what a composer should look like.Happy birthday, man. I love you so much and I always will.  … [Read more...]

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New to me: the wonderful Samatha Crain

I was grousing to myself about spending yet another evening and afternoon driving back and forth to town, but at least I had the radio on -- and I discovered a new (to me) singer! Samantha Crain. Oh, what a voice. Here is "We Are the Same"Plus she looks a tiny bit like Katrina Fernandez, which predisposes me to like her.  Love her face, love the aching clarity of her voice, the way she carries herself, and how many stories she has.  Here's "Santa Fe":And here's the one I heard thi … [Read more...]

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