Jan 3, 2010

Back in the saddle

Or, Ride Captain Ride...

Alas, gentle reader, it's been too long since I dented your brain with any kind of message. But read and remember I do, and write I must.

News flash - I seem to keep misplacing jobs. While looking for them, I feel distracted from this pleasant duty. Still looking, but refusing any longer to stay away.

(Flash sideways - I don't know this Yoda-speak from where it comes, but addictive it strangely is when begins it once does, er, do.)

Where to begin? Reverse chronological order suggests itself, a nice counterpoint to some of the previous reflections, for example the one about 1969.

Currently reading South of Broad by Pat Conroy. Enjoying the plot line tremendously, and enjoyed Beach Music and maybe one other of his before, but funny, I don't remember his writing being quite so ripe, the flow being quite so, well, Southern. But as Conroy is a guy who references Tennessee Williams from time to time, it seems somehow "fittin'," as Butterfly McQueen might have said.

Before that, just finished That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo. I became a confirmed fan after my daughter suggested one of his and I read it. Thanks, Jen! Russo is one of my faves and this one rang the bell for me yet again. Halfway through, I commented to my wife Marie that good fiction still teaches me more about our human relationships than I can explain or express. Russo's characters live up to that billing big-time, at least to this happily addicted reader. For those not lucky enough to have had a Russo recommendation before this, I'll mention that the new one pits a male protagonist against his upbringing by intellectucally snobbish parents, and the way it affects his cooling marriage. Good stuff and yes, occasional comic relief.

Paul Newman was wonderful in Nobody's Fool. I read the Russo novel after seeing the movie (and reading the one Jen started me on, might have been Empire Falls) and could easily see why Newman optioned several of his novels. I seem to remember it took ten years before Newman, even with his clout, could get Nobody's Fool to the screen, but the wait was worth it. Meanwhile Empire Falls was made into a very good mini-series, I think for HBO. All are recommended highly.

The new Russo and the new Conroy were both Christmas presents from my dear wife. Although things have been tight since those jobs went astray, and I asked for just one book, she couldn't stop short of four instead. Once I finish South of Broad, it's on to Homer & Langley by E. L. Doctorow. Wow. I read his Ragtime many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the movie (with a wonderful Randy Newman score) but feel sure I've been missing out on one of our great writers. Thanks, Marie! This will be one to look forward to. I'll get to gift book #4 in another post, and try to trace my steps since the last post, if the birds haven't gobbled up all the breadcrumbs.