30 August 2005

Reads & Listens, August 2005


It's in His Kiss by Julia Quinn
Not only does Gareth St. Clair have a bad reputation with the ladies, but he may not even be his father's child. Who would have him? Hyacinth Bridgerton is just a little too self-aware and out-spoken for a marriageable young miss. Who would have her? And then there's the matter of the Italian diary ... all very predictable and flatflatflat.

The Professor's Daughter by Emily Raboteau
Read an excerpt from this in Poets & Writers and was immediately captivated. Raboteau's use of language and imagery is quite amazing and I look forward to reading more of her work.

Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson
The uneven pace and the lackluster dialog leave a lot to be desired. However, there were a few genuinely funny bits that more than made up for the novel's failings.

Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner
What would happen if Buffy grew up and became a soccer mom? Hopefully, something better than this book. I'm sure the story would work fine as a movie-of-the-week, but as a novel it lacks things like coherence and depth.

Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
Blech. Predictable ending, far-fetched plot contrivances, and characters too much like those in the Shopaholic books.

Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro
Slightly downtrodden, overweight, frumpy heroine finds inspiring fashion advice book and 1) starts to dress better/loses weight/gains self-confidence, 2) divorces (gay) hubby, 3) gets a fab new job, 4) finds a fab new (younger) love, and 5) lives happily ever after in Fab City. Oh, and let's not forget the token gay friend! And the spinsterish stand-in for a best friend!

Fagin the Jew written & illus. by Will Eisner
Re-telling of Oliver Twist from the viewpoint of Fagin. Although I can sympathize with his terrible life, Fagin doesn't seem any less loathsome. I'm also not a big fan of Eisner's illustrative style.


The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler (read by Teresa Gallagher)
Emily Windsnap has a secret -- a great big, swishy, fishy secret. What to do about it? I adored this audiobook and wish there was more of it. Happily, there's always Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep.

14 August 2005

Anniversary Whales

Yesterday was our sixth wedding anniversary and, as we have house guests, we could not spend our anniversary doing what it was we desired best. Namely, to lie abed all day, to rise only at sunset to pursue supper and (if feeling especially decadent) a movie before returning to bed. But, no, the in-laws are here and so we had to leave the house and find a constructive way to pass the day.

Lacking a coherent plan, we spent most of the day wandering up and down State Street while the relentless sun beat down on our little heads. First, we visited the Saturday Market on the pier. It was a bit of a let down as there were only five or six vendors and they were all selling chichi knickknack-y stuff. From the promotional information I'd fallen for, I had expected local farm produce and music. On the other hand, it was unbearably hot and humid and I should be happy any vendor showed. We tarried just long enough for me to buy a (not in the least bit chichi) raw silk slate blue tote bag with braided cloth handles and then, with our brains quickly boiling away inside our skulls, we escaped to the first open bar we saw.

At The Galley (to which I would happily give a Michelin star based solely on the fact it was air conditioned) we ate unadventurous sandwiches and debated going to the cheese shop. Cheese shop is always good, but it was so hot and buying cheese would mean going straight home to refrigerate it and our house had people in it. So we threw ourselves back out into the heat and walked up the street to Sarge's Comics. Didn't buy anything, but The Husband had a nice sit on their squashy sofa and watched an episode of Ghost in the Shell the TV series (apparently, just as indecipherable as the film) while I read The Pro (very naughty, dahlings) and petted the shop kitties.

Suitably refreshed by the air conditioning, we schlepped over to the newspaper offices and took some pictures of one of the Whale Trail whales (like those cows they had all over the place a few years ago). It was very cute -- all white with a giant red squid and black "tribal" tattooing. We sat in the shady little green space around the whale for a bit and were pretty comfortable as long as we didn't move. But, because it seemed like a good idea at the time, we then walked up the street to the public library and took pictures of their whale -- turquoise blue with topless red-headed mermaid and strategically placed tropical fish -- and quickly realized what idiots we were for leaving the (relative) comfort of the green space.

(Dude, I'm saying it was one of the hottest days of the year and here we were schlepping up and down the city streets like witless tourists when we ought to have been parked on our couch in our nuddiepants.)

Desperate for a toilet (The Husband) and a drink (me) we popped into a nearby coffee bar where we fed each bits of chocolate mudslide pie (cake-y brownie layer topped with thick chocolate mousse and a cream cheese layer, then finished with crumbled bits of brownie) and canoodled for a bit. In the end, we decided we were going home. The hell with it, it was just too damned hot.

We arrived home (taking more whale pictures on the way) and the house was empty. Empty. But we were too hot and tired to make good use of that time. Stupidstupidstupid.

When the in-laws returned, we skived off to the theater to watch Must Love Dogs which, I must say, was pretty terrible. But there was air conditioning and the theater was dark and so conducive to dozing or the entertaining of lustful thoughts. Oh, and they had a whale! So it was all good.

After the movie we came home, locked ourselves in our bedroom, and did things not condoned by the current administration. While my in-laws sat watching a video in the living room. Surely, I am going to hell.

Then we went to one of the local Japanese restaurants and ate many delicious things. The Husband (full of surprises these days) shared some raw tuna and salmon sushi with me and declared it good.

After eating, we went and saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which was surprisingly good. I'd avoided seeing it because Johnny Depp's portrayal of Willy Wonka just screamed "creepy pedophile" to me. After seeing the movie, he was still creepy, but much more in a Roald Dahl way and less in a Michael Jackson one.

And then we came home and that was it. Aren't we just the most boring people ever?