Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Samplings

I'm really having to tie myself down mentally to keep from starting out with another weekly weather report. There, see – I do it even when I say I'm not going to do it.

OK, start again.

(But it's raining again!)

Starting over. I haven't yet been able to settle down to any really steady reading today. Started out by sampling bits of Dorothy Parker's poetry, after a late-night viewing of Alan Rudolph's "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle." What a depressing movie! Not a bad movie – Rudolph's films are always worth watching. But he made the Algonquin group seem more like a bunch of dysfunctional undergraduates than the witty, sophisticated literati I've always imagined them to be. I kept expecting Bluto and Boone and Otter and all the other boys from Delta House to show up and take a shotgun to a horse or snorkel Jell-o or something.

Well, I suppose Parker's life was more than a tad depressing, what with the suicide attempts and the men who constantly deserted her and the fact that she felt she never wrote anything worthwhile. But somehow I never thought of her and the "round table" group as being quite so inane as they were portrayed in the movie.

And, of course, some of the things she actually did write were wonderful stuff, and even the "fluff" pieces and doggerel are witty and memorable. I always especially liked her Résumé, which is probably her best-known poem (the one that ends "You might as well live"). It always reminds me of "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker." But that's Ogden Nash and a whole 'nother story altogether.

Also finished up another "cozy" mystery this morning: Mrs. Malory and the Delay of Execution. I'm trying to read all the "Mrs. Malory" series for the "To Be Continued" Perpetual Reading Challenge. I have several more books to go. Then I think I'll start working on Rita Mae Brown's "Mrs. Murphy" series – I've only read one of those, so there are a lot to choose from.

Other than that, I've just been leafing through my new books. Our local library is having a book sale this weekend, and M. and I stopped in yesterday. Two bucks a book – the days of 25-cents for paperbacks and 50-cents for hardbacks are gone, alas. I bought 6 books, and spent $12. All but one are hardcover, most look like they've never been opened, and they're all books I've been wanting to read – so I feel like I got really lucky. I'm thinking of reading one (Eva Moves the Furniture, by Margot Livesey) for the Eponymous Reading Challenge. So I've been sampling that one this afternoon. Haven't gotten very far, but as soon as I picked it up and read the jacket blurb I knew it sounded like something that's right down my street: "A haunting, poignant story of a motherless young woman torn between the real world and the otherworldly companions only she can see." Now how could I possibly resist that?

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