Showing posts from December, 2010

partly read

Isn't it wonderful to have the simple freedom of not finishing a book?  Okay, I recognize that some non-librarians have never experienced this form of freedom.  It's freedom from an odd guilt that, admittedly, only applies to the diligently bookish.  Then again, if you've never been a paid book reviewer, then you don't know the special hell that is I-must-finish-this-book-so-I-can-judiciously-and-fairly-trash-it.  On its own merits, of course, and without resorting to comparing it to other books you wish it had been.  Books make it or don't on their own terms, at least if you're reviewing books fairly, and it can be a total bear of a task to finish a bad book because you have to. So, geek that I am, I revel in the freedom to not finish.  Happily, neither of the following books I didn't finish were books I had to review, just books I was interested in reading for pleasure.  And they both remain part-read.  Ah, freedom. How Pleasure Works by Paul Bloom

another movie

This movie is an old favorite, because the November paper has been submitted, the poster is done (I pick it up in an hour), and all but the one last student has their grades.  It's snowing outside, again, adding another layer to this coldest December on record, and I am sleeping for record periods of time, myself, as appropriate to the weather. High Fidelity Was it the tail end of the John Cusak era or the start of the Jack Black era, or both?   Nick Hornby's novels are great, and this movie adaptation is sweet and funny and set in a grungy part of Chicago.  John Cusak plays the screwup boyfriend Rob who has just been dumped.  He wallows in pity arranged as Top Five lists, mirroring his obsession with music.  He owns a little record store, where he has two employees who he hired part-time years ago, but they show up every day.  There's the timid guy Dick and the nonstop clown Barry (Jack Black, who is obviously improvising some of his own material into the script.)  I d

movies lately

When you're reading 143 applications for work, it's not blog material.  Same goes for grading final papers.  So here are some great moves and shows I've seen lately instead on these cold, dark winter nights. The Lives of Others Set in Communist East Berlin prior to the fall of the wall, the story follows an investigation by a high-ranking security officer who is looking to a group of artists to find communist traitors.  He sets up 24-hour bugging and live monitoring of the apartment when a playwright and actress live together.  At first, he is dedicated to finding and reporting anything traitorous.  But then something unexpected gradually happens, and we see the man begin to feel compassion for the people he is spending most of his days monitoring.  He gathers evidence, but does not turn it in.  He begins to fake the transcripts of the monitored conversations, editing out the damning content.  As we see more of his life, we begin to realize how lonely he is, having no ot