Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summer Reading - Part Two

Don DeLillo's Falling Man.

It's about as good as you expect a DeLillo book about September 11 to be. Which is to say that it's good, and if you like DeLillo's writing, you'll probably like the book, but also that if you've read other books by him (especially Libra), little in it will surprise you.

(And as far as books that attempt to grapple with moments of individual historical tragedy, I found Libra to be much more thought-provoking, especially in its implicit claim that we make events like this happen. Not that they're our fault necessarily, but that we create them. We will them).

And this is DeLillo who, after all, in one of the best moments of White Noise, claimed that "All plots tend to move deathward."

But this is also DeLillo who so perfectly captured the entire second half of the 20th century in Underworld that Falling Man, in its introduction to the 21st century, is bound to feel a little anti-climactic.

Summer Reading - Part One

July was good for reading, and I'll try to write about some of what I read so that the books don't fade from memory quite as quickly.

Harper took a break from the "Magic Treehouse" series after book 24 and we read Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox together.

It's one of Dahl's shorter books, but it still has enough misanthropy to keep it moving: Farmer Boggis is tremendously fat and rather ugly; Farmer Bunce is a potbellied dwarf who stinks of goose livers; and Farmer Bean is a tall, thin drunk who subsists entirely on cider.

I wasn't sure how he would deal with Mr. Fox getting his tail shot off in an early chapter, but it turned out that one of Mr. Bean's employees -- a nasty old woman who wants Mr. Fox's head for herself after he's dead -- was all that bothered him.

My favorite part as an adult? When Mr. Fox refers to the intoxicated rat who haunts Farmer Bean's private cellar as a "saucy beast."

Saucy beast.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The End of July

More posts coming, if I can find the energy and, in a beautiful Michigan evening, a spare fifteen minutes that cry out "forget the sunset, forget the deepening twilight, forget the coming stars, forget the changing lake: fire up the laptop and write something for your blog, man."

And, to be honest, a few sets of fifteen minutes have cried out exactly that, but then they've always called me a loser, and reminded me that I'd probably regret that quarter-hour away from said lake/twilight/etc, so I've chosen to allow the computer to remain off.

So why not write something quickly during the day?

A couple of photos might adequately respond to that question:

There you've got Harper, playing a rather wild game of "Can't Touch the Waves."

And there you've got Maya, obtaining via sand whatever critical nutrients we aren't providing her.