Who's asking: Someone at the Gardiner Public Library
Why yes, as a matter of fact, it is. The thermometer on my MacBook dashboard currently reads -1F, despite bright sunshine. It's breezy, too, so we've got a windchill warning.
How cold is cold? Cold enough that I can't wear glasses or earrings, because the metal freezes to my skin if I go outside. Cold enough that Dizzy has tiny icicles on his chin at the end of a (very short) walk. Cold enough to be able to feel the hairs inside my nose, which is rather unpleasant.
Still no Internet -- maybe, just maybe, it'll be back this afternoon, but most likely not till Monday. Dammit. But they're nice people at the library, and it's well-heated...
What I Read this Week
Joe Hill, Heart-Shaped Box. It's an open secret now that Joe Hill is Stephen King's son; even if it weren't, I'd have wondered. This first novel stands on its own merit, though -- it is scary and original, a truly impressive debut. Judas Coyne, a semi-retired heavy-metal rock star, has collected occult souvenirs for years. One day his assistant asks whether he wants to bid on a ghost that's up for auction; Jude buys it without a second thought. What he gets turns out to be far deadlier than he could have imagined, and freeing himself will require that he redeem his own soul.
Susan Richards Shreve, A Student of Living Things. I picked this book up at the library because it had made a few Best of 2006 lists, and carries the endorsement of Richard Ford. I finished it only because I felt obligated, and can't remember when I've felt so hostile to a book. It's the story of how Claire Frayn copes -- or doesn't -- with the assassination of her brother on the steps of the George Washington University library. I disliked every character in this book, didn't recognize the Washington Shreve describes, and struggled with the present tense narration-into-extended flashbacks structure. Maybe Richard Ford read a different book.
Sammy Davis Jr., Burt Boyar and Jane Boyar, Why Me? The Sammy Davis, Jr. Story. I picked this up for a client's research project; I didn't need to read the whole thing, but did, because it's mesmerizing. A good celebrity biography is cultural history, as well as personal, and the world Davis describes already seems very far away.
Wil Haygood, In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr. What a luxury to be able to go straight from the autobiography to this meticulously researched study, which reveals everything Davis kept secret and puts it all into the context of African-American history. I'd be hard-pressed to recommend one book over the other; read them together, if you can.