Sunday, February 7, 2010


I've spent most of my weekend trying to clear out some things (mostly brought on my whiny post about all of the piles I have) and have been slightly successful. It's also helped by the facts that my Spanish professor didn't post any online exercises like she said she would and that the pdf of the first book of The Iliad I have to read for English isn't downloading properly.

Yesterday morning I finished The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris, the follow-up novel to his acclaimed debut And Then We Came to the End, which I liked well enough. I almost gave up on The Unnamed after 75 pages but then decided to stick with it. It's about a man who has a recurring condition where he just walks. That's right, walks. He is unable to stop himself until his body decides and then falls into deep sleeps that are dangerous due to where he sleeps. He's not a particularly interesting character and the first two-thirds of the novel are fairly tedious. The final third is much more interesting, when Tim has reached a state of roaming and warring with his body. It is odd and compelling and the story ultimately reaches a nice crescendo before tailing off again in the final pages. I'm glad I stuck with it but wouldn't say I loved it.

Once I finished the Ferris novel, I returned both it and the next novel I had out from the library, then canceled my other requests. It's time to try and get a handle on the reading material I have here before dipping back into the never-ending stacks.

I did make a start by reading the second story in the Oct/Nov issue of F&SF, "Bandits of the Trace" by Albert E. Cowdrey. I usually like the work Cowdrey produces for the magazine but this one kicked it up a bit. The story has an odd opening then shifts to a college professor who is struggling with a book and a crossword puzzle. He ends up roping a student into a puzzle around which is book is based. We then get the entire first chapter of that book, telling the tale of the titular bandits, which is quite engrossing. Eventually all three sections weave back together and the fantastical element is revealed. It's clever and fun.

I've managed to clear out most of the 160+ posts I had in my Google Reader and heard some good music that way - Phantogram, Lissie, and new stuff from Josh Rouse and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. I also listened to the third disc of that Hall & Oates box set, though I still have another to go...and then bought myself 2 more albums yesterday (Charlotte Gainsbourg and Vampire Weekend).

I watched a handful of things from the DVR, including the last two eps of Batman: Brave and the Bold with my son. He thought "A Bat Divided" was hilarious and I agreed with him, plus it was fun seeing the version of Firestorm they introduced. That show is tons of fun.

I am hoping to finally watch the final episode of Dollhouse before the Super Bowl starts. I also plan on starting the Jack of Fables trade at the top of my pile during the game.

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