Saturday, January 24, 2009

I am, at present, lusting after a new book.

This time around it's The Writer's Tale by Russell T. Davies and Benjamin Cook, a sort of behind the scenes look at Doctor Who series 4, at the writing in particular. The reviews I've seen are excellent, it's supposedly jam-packed with goodies for those interested in Who and in writing (and there's no denying that I'm somewhat obsessed with both), and the foreward is by Philip Pullman, the author of both the His Dark Materials trilogy and the Sally Lockhart books. But it's also $29.67, and I'm trying to justify purchasing such an expensive book.

I do have the means to purchase it (a $50 amazon gift certificate I received for my birthday last month and haven't yet spent), but as a frequent customer in the amazon marketplace, I've clearly got a predisposition for books under $3 (or, better yet, books under $0.02), and this? Is not that.

I'll probably purchase it, though. My will-power is not that strong, and as my roommate just pointed out, I'll still have $20 left--more than enough with which to purchase a handful of penny paperbacks.

First, though, I'm going to take a shower, and get some dinner, and maybe watch an episode of the series itself, as a reminder of why a book like this would be worth it to begin with.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Obama: the 44th President of the United States of America

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
I watched the inauguration in class today. In my Creative Non-Fiction class, to be specific. I was incredibly worried that I would miss the inauguration, but rather than focusing on the syllabus or the book list today, we turned on the TV and watched the swearing in of the 44th President of the United States of America. On BET, at that, a network largely free from Talking Heads and (aside from an unobtrusive scrolling banner at the very bottom of the screen) network banners.

And since returning from class this afternoon (overwhelmed by what is clearly going to be an intense final semester) I've kept the transcript of the speech open in a word document, so that I could refer back to it, quote bits of it to friends, and just reread my favorite parts. I thought the language was elegant and beautifully phrased, and, had I been watching somewhere other than a classroom, I'm sure I would have been moved to tears. I did find myself tearing up, even in the public setting.

Anyway, I just wanted to quote my favorite part, the ending:
So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
What an amazing day to be an American. I voted for this president, in the first election in which I was old enough to vote, and right now I am living in a country that's all about hope and change and new beginnings. It's not a cure all, of course not, but it's a step, even just a small one. It was a wonderful inauguration, I thought, and I kind of can't believe it's happened, now. Bush is no longer our president, he's moved on to his little piece of our nation's history, and now we're living in a whole new chunk of that history.

It's amazing.

Dear Bravo,

There could be no better programming today (on a cable network that's not showing the inauguration itself) than a marathon of the end of the seventh season of The West Wing. You win all the prizes.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Beginning of the End

So my final semester of college kicked off today with my Forms of Poetry class and a trip to the bookstore. $415.10 and one difficult trek across campus later, I have 4 big stacks of textbooks, novels, anthologies, memoirs and non-fiction books to read this semester and I'm really looking forward to getting started.

I have to say, though, the towering stacks are a little terrifying.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Books: The Best Medicine

Over the past few days, as I've recovered from having my wisdom teeth removed, I've done pretty much nothing but sleep and read.

I started out the week by finishing up Revolutionary Road. I picked up a copy last month when I got home for winter break, read about half of it, and then became distracted by various other books, tv shows and activities, so when I pulled it from the depths of my purse on Monday afternoon it was for the first time in about two and a half weeks.

I liked the book. I get a thrill out of language from a time before I was born, and Revolutionary Road is full of rhythms and slang that can only be found in the past. And I'm always surprised when I find novels written in the forties, fifties and sixties to be so contemporary, as I did with this novel. It was horribly sad, the ending even more so than I was expecting, but still beautifully written, and I look forward to seeing the movie.

The second book I read this week was Beginner's Greek. Dad lent me a copy over Christmas and the summary on the inside cover reminded me of the movie Serendipity, one of my chick flick guilty pleasures. The book itself was equal parts delightful (smart, funny, self-aware) and over-the-top. I came away from it certain that I had loved it and also certain that I hadn't. But I'm glad I read the book. It felt at times like reading Jane Austen as written by a man, and the characters, even those that weren't particularly likable, were charming and distinctive.

Finally, I've just finished The Reader, yet another book that's just been turned into a movie starring Kate Winslet (despite my general aversion to movie tie-in book covers, I'm often wooed by their low prices, and I now seem to own three different books with Kate Winslet on the cover: Little Children, Revolutionary Road and The Reader, and two with Leonardo DiCaprio: Catch Me if You Can and Revolutionary Road). It's a sad little book, and I don't know that I liked it or disliked it (or that it's a book that can be liked or disliked). The language is very abrupt, which could be a side-effect of translation, but I suspect it's got more to do with the original German. I did come away from the book with the distinct feeling that I did not need to, or want to, see the movie, though.

My next read, I think, will be Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby. It's the third and final compilation of his columns for The Believer about what he's been reading each month, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books like this (The Polysyllabic Spree and Homecoming v. the Dirt). Nick Hornby is one of my favorite authors (if you've never read High Fidelity I strongly suggest that you give it a try) because of his incredible ability to be both hysterically funny and emotionally true.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Eleventh Doctor

So the BBC has just announced that Matt Smith will be taking over as the Eleventh Doctor on Doctor Who (probably my very favorite tv show) in 2010.

Now I'm very attached to the current Doctor (David Tennant). The general feeling in the Doctor Who fandom is that everyone has "their" Doctor. It's generally the actor you first saw play the part, but not necessarily (if that were the case with me my Doctor would be Nine--Christopher Eccleston). David Tennant himself has said that his Doctor is Five (Peter Davison), the Doctor of his childhood.

Because I'm so attached to Ten I've been having trouble with the knowledge that, after the five specials set to air this year, I'm going to have to give him up.

But I've seen Matt Smith in a few things (most notably The Ruby in the Smoke) and I was hoping for a young and attractive Doctor (Smith will be the youngest actor ever to take on the role). As sad as I'll be to see David Tennant leave, and to say goodbye to Ten, I've got pretty high hopes for the fifth series (especially with Steven Moffat behind it--I won't say the man can do no wrong, that would be a complete lie, but he's written some of the very best episodes of Doctor Who, like "Blink," "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances," and I'll be interested to see what he does next).

Now the question that remains--what's the Eleventh Doctor going to wear?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Oh TNT, why would you do this to me? Don't you know that, when given the opportunity to spend an entire day watching a Bones marathon, I'll take it? Especially when I'm sick and all I want to do is curl up with a box of tissues and my remote? I mean, it's David Boreanaz and all of his David Boreanaz-ness.

The marathon is on until midnight, on TNT, just FYI.