I made the mistake of upgrading to Blogger beta on Friday, and have not been able to post a new entry since. I keep getting an error message saying Blogger is not able to complete my request. If and when these technical difficulties ever resolve themselves, I'll be back. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Who's asking: Jennifer Lechner, Freeport, ME
I had a different question ready to go this morning, but after Jen called this morning -- and I watched this video -- nothing else could possibly occupy my attention. Not only is this the funniest, smartest thing I've seen in ages, but I also want to say that Donny Osmond is smokin' hot, even dancing like a fool. He may be the one Mormon who could persuade me to try plural marriage.
The distraction was welcome, because the weather's rotten and I'm supposed to go to Cambridge this afternoon for Kate's Christmas party. Rather than try to drive all the way there myself, I think I will see if I can make it to Portland, and then take the bus from there. This will mean radical changes to the rest of my weekend's plans, but sometimes I need to pay attention to my anxiety.
This week I've been trying to catch up with things that have stayed on my to-be-read pile until I had time to give them the attention they deserved. My attention span is still not what it should be, but I still have three or four books I'd really like to finish between now and the end of the year.
What I Read This Week
Michael Connelly, Echo Park. LAPD Detective Harry Bosch looks for resolution to a 13-year-old case, and confronts his own failings as well as those of this colleagues. This is not one of the stronger entries in the series, but that's like saying that a particular piece of bacon is done less well than its companions. I'm fascinated with the way that Connelly is isolating Bosch, book by book, and wonder what this is leading to.
Mark Billingham, Buried. Detective Inspector Tom Thorne is called in to help find the kidnapped son of a former high-ranking police officer. Less emotional, more ingeniously plotted than the last two Thorne novels; I prefer the more emotionally-wrecked Thorne, but it feels like Billingham is sharpening his tools for the next novel. Can't wait for that one.
Jean H. Baker, James Buchanan. Yeah, okay, I read this one for work. It's a short biography of our 15th President, who makes most historians' lists of Worst Ever. Buchanan was a political genius whose lack of vision and will led directly to the Civil War. It's rather a tragic story, and worth reading for the light it casts on current events.
Marisha Pessl, Special Topics in Calamity Physics. This first novel's made a lot of "Best of 2006" lists, and maybe my expectations were too high. It's the story of Blue van Meer's senior year of high school, during which her favorite teacher, Hannah Schneider, is murdered. Blue, the daughter of a widowed university professor, sees the world -- and tells the story -- through a prism of books, but this gimmick never paid off as much as I wanted it to. Some reviewers compared Blue to Nancy Drew, but I'd call this book "Harriet the Spy," as retold by Nabokov. The moral is that grownups betray the teenagers they're responsible for, which is neither insightful nor newsworthy. Meh.