Monday, October 29, 2007

Balancing the right

The religious right, that is. Tom Perrotta's The Abstinence Teacher is a very interesting look at what happens when liberals clash with Christian conservatives, and also what happens when being "born again" doesn't quite stick. The character of Tim is an intriguing mix of pothead-meets-evangelist, and you can imagine how well that's going for him. I'm not sure whether Tim is meant to show that not all Christian conservatives are extremists or just that when normal people mix with extremists, it doesn't work so well. Ruth, on the other hand, is a standard liberal single mom, nothing so novel there. Her career is more interesting -- she was forced to switch her teaching from sex ed to an abstinence-only curriculum (the most useless coursework ever invented, but that's another rant).

I find I can read Perrotta's books very quickly, though they are far from mindless. There were so many characters in this one that I'm not totally sure they were all completely fleshed out. Ruth's daughters' actions, for example, seemed rather random -- the motivation was never totally clear. Nonetheless, the story is compelling while the writing remains intelligent.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Poor little neglected blog. Life goes crazy and the blog goes dormant. I finally, finally finished a book, though whether I have anything intelligent to say about it remains to be seen.

I love Ann Patchett. I've read all her books, so I was very excited to see that Run was being published this fall. And... I liked it. I'm not sure I loved it, though the presence of Patchett's writing style does lead me to believe I ought to have loved it. The whole story takes place over 24 hours, which I might not have noticed if I hadn't read it on the jacket flap. In truth, I probably noticed very little about the book and should just give up talking and reread it. Thanks to the hectic insanity of the past few weeks, I didn't absorb nearly enough of it.

The cover art was lovely, as is the British version (which seems to have considerably more to do with the plot than the U.S. cover).

These little furry folks, who we found in our backyard, are among the many things interfering with my reading time lately. While they certainly are the cutest of my distractions, they are also considerably higher maintenance than everything else that has been getting in the way. If you know anyone looking for a kitten, send them my way!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

My first tag!

This is indeed a departure from the read-a-book, write-about-a-book plan for this blog, but since I've never been tagged before, I'll play.

Four Jobs I Have Had in My Life
1. Bagel shop worker (all two weeks of it)
2. Church receptionist (another super-short stint, filling in for a friend)
3. Clothing salesgirl
4. Woodshop intern

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over
1. Notting Hill
2. Sense and Sensibility
3. The Princess Bride
4. Serendipity

Four TV Shows I Like to Watch
1. House
2. Gilmore Girls
3. Grey's Anatomy
4. Good Eats

Four Places I Have Vacationed
1. Reno
2. Aruba
3. Germany
4. North Dakota

Four of My Favorite Dishes
This is too hard, so I'm doing ingredients. It's my meme; I'll cheat if I want to!
1. Basil
2. Tomatoes
3. Bread
4. Chocolate

Four Websites I Visit Daily
1. Yahoo Mail
2. Gmail
4. Stuff on My Cat

Four Places I Would Rather Be
1. On a beach
2. In our new house (the one we haven't bought yet)
3. Greece
4. At the lake

Four Bloggers I Am Tagging
1. Elly Says Opa!
2. Joelen's Culinary Adventures
3. Suzy’s Not a Homemaker
4. Then There Was One

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Real imagination

I love the way Neil Gaiman combines reality and fantasy in Neverwhere (which is, by the way, such a lovely title) -- the combination of human truths and creative adventures is, well, fantastic. The unraveling of the plot came a little early, I thought, but there were still enough trials for the characters that it didn't feel anticlimactic. I loved the ending: satisfying without being completely predictable.