Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Conspiracy of Librarians

So close!
I'm down to the final square on my bingo card: "about art or an artist," and the book I want from the Seattle Public Library, a biography of Vermeer and his times, is still checked out. Doing a little biblio-stalking, I have discovered that the copy I am waiting for was due back July 12th. I am not feeling particularly sanguine about it coming in any time soon. So now I'm thinking I may give the abridged version of Ruskin's Stones of Venice, which we have in the house, a shot. I was, I confess, hoping for something a little less mentally challenging now that we're in the hot and smoky dog days of August. Or, really, ever. I admit it: Ruskin intimidates me. I wonder if there's a graphic novel version of Stones of Venice.

Today I finished I Am Number Four, a book Scott has told me came out of James Frey's literary sweatshop. My response to the news was that if the actual writer was paid $250 for the text, he was overpaid because it was pretty bad, but apparently that didn't stop it from selling a gazillion copies and getting a movie deal. One way or another, I'm glad I got my copy from the SPL. You want to know what's wrong with the world of books? I Am Number Four sells like hotcakes while Marley Youman's truly beautiful and thought-provoking Thaliad does not.

Before my foray into Young Adult I read the final (sniff) Stuart McLean, Vinyl Cafe Turns The Page as my "collection of essays or short stories" entry. I swear I've read some of these in other collections, but I will begrudge the late Mr McLean nothing; they are sweet and funny stories, well worth revisiting and, yes, even paying for over again under a new title. If you've not read any of the Vinyl Cafe books, you really should. I think you can get podcasts from old shows on iTunes, should that be more to your taste.

Finally, there's the "you've been meaning to read" category. I filled that one with Graham Greene's Our Man In Havana which I picked up, I think, on bookstore day a few months ago. It's quite a different sort of thing from the author of Brighton Rock; very light, frothy, and silly. Oh, there's violent and sudden death, sure, but there are no Pinkie Browns, no observation about the difference between "right and wrong" and "good and evil." I am not complaining, while also being glad that I came to this particular Greene title after some of his others.


  1. Art: perhaps Brunelleschi's Dome (Ross King)? Congrats on getting to the last bingo square!

  2. I'm a chapter into Ruskin and he's so damned odd that I'm inclined to stick with him; Brunelleschi seems like Ruskin's polar opposite so it could be interesting to read the Ross King book after "Stones of Venice." Though more likely I'll find myself a nice cozy mystery . . . or maybe a Trollope.