Wednesday, May 28, 2008


The Book: Helen Fielding, BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY. Penguin trade paperback reprint (11th printing), 2001. Very good condition; upper left-hand corner of front cover has faint crease.
First read: 2000
Owned since: 2005 (this copy)

You could only have missed the Bridget Jones phenomenon if you were living in a cave between the years of 1997 (in England) and 2003 (in the U.S.). Helen Fielding's heroine is still the icon of what people call "chick lit," and I didn't want to read the book when I saw it under my cousin Sheila's coffee table, sometime after I'd moved to Los Angeles.

"Oh, it's darling," someone said -- it might have been my cousin Moira, it might have been our friend Maeve. "It's really fun."

So I picked it up, started reading, and couldn't put it down. In fact, years later, I needed to buy my own copy so I could reread it, just for a quick escape. I bought the sequel, too. I saw the first movie in the theater (with Moira), the week it came out. And I am not ashamed.

If you haven't read it, BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY is a riff on Pride and Prejudice, updated for the late 20th century and told in the first person as a series of journal entries. Bridget is insecure, a spendthrift, obsessed about her weight, hopeless with money, but devoted to her friends and still optimistic about the possibility of finding true love. She's neurotic about small stuff but deals with genuine crises fairly well (a conceit that works better here than in the sequel, THE EDGE OF REASON).

I'm off to Los Angeles today for BookExpo America. I'll keep posting, but can't make any promises about the schedule.

Five Random Songs

"Transmission," Joy Division. I own this song in a couple of formats, but this version is from a CD collection of producer Martin Hammett's work. (If you haven't seen 24-Hour Party People, I recommend it.)

"June," Pete Yorn. I wonder why I never bought any more of his work; I really loved this first album.

"Coughing Up Blood," Marah. From their latest CD, Angels of Destruction. I discovered this band on a Bruce Springsteen tribute album, and they're just great, working-class rock. They deserve to be huge.

"Blood and Roses," The Smithereens. Ooh, a tuberculosis-themed set...

"Chasing After Deer," Midlake. The Trials of Van Occupanther might have been my favorite album of 2006 (not that I bought many); Midlake doesn't sound like anyone else.


Ed Lamb said...

I just don't hear in Marah what critics and my sister seem to hear. Same with Fountains of Wayne.

But to the point, the one time I saw Marah play live, I walked out of the show after three, maybe four songs, because they were so awful. I wasn't the first person to leave, either.

Karen Olson said...

Loved BRIDGET JONES, the book and the movies...yes, even the second movie. Although I've never quite believed Renee Zellweger as Bridget.

Archimedes Principle said...

Oh Joy Division...I could never get to grips with them when I was young. Too doomy. Thirty years on I'm coming round to them...slowly got to say. Now if we're talking about that great West London band, The Clash...altogether different, I'm big, big fan.