- Lots of chatter about Salon’s new chick blog, Broadsheet, most excellently from Meghan and Susan. In general: yawn. Check out my pal Feoshia’s new LJ instead; she’s rounding up the top women’s political/social news every day. And I don’t even know if she likes pink.
- Cecil’s Boyfriend List. (I originally typoed boyfiend list, but it isn’t that close to Halloween.)
- Colleen Mondor (whose blog you should be reading, if you’re not) recommends Going, Going by Naomi Shihab Nye. Added to the list.
- Tod Goldberg reviews Mary Roach’s Spook, an utterly charming book about science’s deathy little secret. He also admits to a crush on the author.
- And finally, it’s almost that time of year: National Drunken Writing Night. And it appears that Ed‘s in again, and perhaps Pinky too. You know I’ll be there, martini glass on desk. How about you?
Sorry for the tumbleweeds, but it’s likely to continue for a few days. In the meantime, let’s talk about good TV. Tonight’s ep is:
Twenty-One Is The Loneliest Number. As Rory’s (Alexis Bledel) twenty-first birthday approaches, both Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory are saddened by the fact that their ongoing estrangement will keep them from spending the day the way they had always planned. Richard (Edward Herrmann) tries to convince Lorelai to help him with a plan to get Rory back to Yale, but Lorelai insists that Rory has to make the decision herself. While Richard continues to worry about Rory’s future, Emily (Kelly Bishop) throws herself into planning an elaborate birthday party. Meanwhile, Emily and Richard are shocked when they realize that Rory and Logan (Matt Czuchry) have been having sex. Melissa McCarthy, Scott Patterson, Keiko Agena and Liza Weil also star. Bob Berlinger directed the episode written by Amy Sherman-Palladino
Sounds like a winner and the writing credit soothes.
Lauren: It was a very "boyish" film. Everything was cute in a too-clever way that men can get away with, especially men who make films for a living in Hollywood.
Emma: Yes. There was even – dare I say it – some spiritual resemblance to Wedding Crashers.
Lauren: Yeah – kind of! Like it’s funny that the film keeps unraveling. Yet like Weezer, the film dares you to destroy its sweater by pointing out all of its many defects.
Emma: Yes! It’s this knowing nod to the audience: "We know you’re already too smart to suspend your disbelief! Let’s all play together!"
And lots more where that came from… And four out of five peonies. Definitely seeing this one.
Steve Martin has been awarded the eighth annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The ceremony sounds fun:
Dave Barry, who wrote jokes for Martin’s Oscar-hosting gig two years ago, mentioned that he performed his Academy Awards monologue with his fly open. "And," said Barry, " I think it says something about Steve as a performer, and as a man, that no one noticed."
The most off-message message of the evening came from Larry David, who told a hilarious shaggy-dog tale in which Martin mistreats a homeless guy, plagiarizes a Dorothy Parker story, abuses a cat, acts boorish in a theater and finally insults David’s Jewish heritage. "Maybe next time you’ll give this award to someone who deserves it," said David. "Someone whose personal conduct is beyond reproach. Someone like . . . uh, you’ll figure it out."
Nothing of substance here until later. Family obligations had us out of town all weekend and so there is much catching up to be done. I did manage to add some new items to all the sidebars on the left over the weekend, and, of course, you are always encouraged to visit those fine souls along the right.
- Abigail Nussbaum on Serenity’s captain, Mal Reynolds.
- The first annual Mumpsimus "Cup of Coffee for a Genius" Award is bestowed.
- Scott Danielson chronicles his progress at reading all short fiction that’s won a Nebula, Hugo or World Fantasy Award. (Via JJA.)
- Slate weighs in on the Marcus Vs. Franzen Harper’s essay thing. I tried to read it, really, I did. But I just didn’t emotionally connect with the characters.
- And a silly quiz about sense of humor (my results behind the cut — and cut off no doubt by the columns).
The October issue of The Believer arrived in the mail a few days ago. I was extremely pleased to see a rave review of Carol Emshwiller’s latest collection I Live with You (see Read Read sidebar), but a tiny bit flummoxed by the final two paragraphs:
You’ll find I Live with You, along with Emswhiller’s others, in your bookstore’s Science Fiction section; among its stories are some originally printed in journals like The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and the curiously titled Sci Fiction. But very little here is demonstrably indebted to either genre. If there was anything particularly scientific about any of these, it escaped me. And even the overtly fantastic elements are downplayed, mitigated by an attitude that vacillates between embarrassment and boredom. Two stories feature characters who belong to races of men who fly. But neither group exactly soars through the clouds. In one story, the unnamed people levitate, slightly, but try not to. In the other, "Gliders Though They Be," they simply fall slower.
What allows us to leave Emshwiller to her own devices in the backwoods of genre is what’s missing from the collection’s title: You Don’t Know It. Like the best-considered sci-fantasy, Emshwiller avoids making the generic elements–the robots and the elves–the point. Instead, they’re elegant tropes for the mundane. She takes the long way around, but her destination is ultimately the same. Where, we don’t know.
But then I went to look for more about the reviewer, Chris Tamarri, and found his blog and really liked it. So I’ll just memorialize the slight wrong-headedness here and add him to the blogroll.
Updated: See discussion in comments where Tamarri explains what he meant and I take back my sigh.
Three of the writers whose books the LBC read this last quarter have put up excellent essays or answers to questions so far. There’s a new one today, but on the off chance you skipped the others, I’m linking those again:
- Elizabeth Poliner on Mutual Life and Casualty (Not to mention a dead interesting convo in the comments of Kassia’s post on this book, about women’s fiction and domesticity.)
- Kirby Gann on Our Napoleon in Rags
- Steve Stern on The Angel of Forgetfulness
- A little interview with Daniel Handler on the occasion of the 12th Snicket book’s release. Also, raisin bagels are an abomination.
- From books to adult movies over at Black Market Kidneys.
- Lethem vs. Birnbaum. This should be good.
- Get to know Mr. Schwartz.
- Christopher’s updating every day. Seriously! (Ask him why cats are suddenly blocking his path.)
- Author Tour Pro Rankings, as handicapped by Jeff VanderMeer. This one is just too good to miss. And the Locus Online piece that inspired it, by Rich Horton, on short story award winners and editors.
- Two essays at the Mississippi Review. (Via Mr. Barzak.)
- And a poem at Margo Lanagan’s.
Tonight’s ep description:
Green-Eyed Monster. While dealing with her own relationship issues, Veronica helps a young woman discern her new fiancé’s intentions by posing as a sexy, available coed.
I"m almost tempted to stop watching new episodes until we’ve seen all season 1. Almost. Not quite.