The Square Circuit

Academia, parenthood, living in a bankrupt city, and what I read in the process.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

junk reading

As befits a vacation--which is now, I'm sad to confront, over--I got some good junk reading in. I've posted earlier about one of these leisure reads, John O'Hara's APPOINTMENT AT SAMARRA, which was just great. The others I read weren't up to those standards.

yes, yes, I read HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. I don't know what one says about it. Sure, it's very good, for what it is; and sure, it's hard to imagine Rowling ending the book any other way. I do appreciate that Rowland encourages her readers to remember the details and events from earlier books, and doesn't rehash all of the backstory through the mouth of what my wife calls an "exposition box." For the most part, one's able to pick the backstory up from context, but Rowling resisted the temptation to revisit the entire what-happened-to-Harry's-family-and-how-every-other-character-is-related-to-that-Ur-story. I like that. It was a quick read, of course, and was exactly as good--pretty much exactly the same--as every other volume of the series. I am really looking forward to reading these books to my father.

PREP I think I also blogged about. Again, I echo my wife's sentiments: every "real" literary writer--every Iowa Writers Workshop fiction grad--wants to write the definitive rewriting of CATCHER IN THE RYE. They all think they can give it something extra, something that will save it from being just a pop rewriting of CATCHER IN THE RYE. But they don't. And, with the exception of Tobias Wolff, I don't even think they can.

Finally, I just finished the very enjoyable JULIE AND JULIA, the book version of Julie Powell's blog about spending a year cooking every recipe in Julia Child's MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING in her tiny Long Island City kitchen. She's very appealing, and just earthy enough. Ironically, she's from Austin and writes a great deal in the book about ways she prefers Austin to NYC, but I didn't start reading the book until the car trip away from Austin. Anyway, all Austinites, current and former, appreciate her shouts out to places like the Nighthawk and Hut's.



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