According to LibraryThing, September was my best reading month this year — five books! It feels like an accomplishment, when in my reading heyday I read five books or more a week. Still, it’s an improvement.
I spent the last two weeks in Toronto, visiting museums, walking all over, and watching All the Hockey. Literally, I attended sixteen World Cup of Hockey games in 13 days. Twelve of those games were crammed into six days. Some of them are a blur, but for some really specific plays, like Nathan MacKinnon’s OT goal; Crosby’s highway robbery of Kucherov and backhand goal; a shift by Malkin behind the net in which he seemed to have the puck on a string; McDavid to Eichel to Matthews; etc.
- the Chihuly exhibit at ROM – I could have happily plopped myself down on one of the beanbag things and stared at ‘Persians’ for hours
- steamed pork buns at Mashion Bakery, which I found by chance, lured in by the amazing smell despite the sort of sketchy block and very plain exterior
- people-watching at the St. Lawrence Market on Saturday morning (I chatted with a lovely lady visiting from New Jersey with her church group)
- Stonemill Bakery’s double almond croissant
- the Seville orange marzipan pinch at Soma Chocolate
- my charming seat mates, the family from Woodstock and the dudes in from Banff, and the usher whose predictions were seldom accurate but always entertaining
- everything about the Bata Shoe Museum and the Gardiner Museum (ceramics)
- the display of antique snuff bottles at AGO
Other observations: The building going on downtown is striking — there’s so much of it and it’s so beautiful. I stayed in the St. Lawrence/Distillery neighborhood and walked pretty much everywhere, as far as Spadina and Little Italy. Lots of green spaces, friendly people. I noticed a lot of smokers everywhere, almost as much as in Paris, which surprised me. And the odor of pot was especially prevalent around ACC.
And my streak continues. Once again in a foreign country (or in any city I’m visiting, even in the US), I was asked for directions. On multiple occasions. I do not understand it. I mean, I was able to answer because they were asking for a specific landmark or street that I knew, but what about my face or posture says, “Hey, she knows where you need to go?” Because, seriously, I have a horrendous sense of direction.
I’ve had Our Kind of Traitor to be read since the beginning of summer. I meant to read it in time to see the movie, but I missed the movie in theaters and have only just finished reading the book.
It was…kind of a drudge. I mean, it wasn’t badly written, in terms of language and narrative. It was just dour in the way that Le Carre is. He’s got a particular world view that is present in all of his work as far as I can tell. (Or maybe just the few books I’ve tried?) And I find it to be less than engaging; it seems (to me) replete with casual misogyny, classism/racism, and a sort of Cold War remnant worldview. All of the characters in this book were cliches or stereotypes. There was an arc of sorts but little or no resolution. I need to remember in future that he’s not to my taste.
Apprentice in Death by JD Robb
Why can’t I quit this series? The story lines are stale or recycled. The editing is sloppy. Meh.
Today’s beach events have me wondering if social scientists have looked at beach etiquette. There are square miles of empty beach; why drop your umbrella two feet away from a stranger’s umbrella? Cell phones mean you can have that conversation anywhere; but should you have a conversation about what sounds like confidential work stuff while screaming over the waves and gulls on a beach full of strangers? What is the psychology or sociology that has people do this kind of stuff? Or smoke on the beach, or track sand on someone else’s blankets/towels, or play a radio without earbuds, etc?
One of my beachy neighbors failed to secure their umbrella today. As the wind picked up, the umbrella took off, whacking me in the throat with the pointy end hard enough to knock me down (I was standing and didn’t see it coming until the last moment). The underside of my chin has a huge welt, along with my cheek and the side of my neck, despite icing. I’ve got a weird throat/ear ache and it kind of hurts to swallow. If it still hurts in the morning, I may try to get a doctor’s appointment and head home early😦
ETA: I’ve finished listening to the first of five sections of Middle March. The sections are based on size/time, not by chapter or book section. But it’s still further than I’ve ever managed to get when attempting to read it in paper or ebook. I like the reader’s voice, but I don’t really care about any of the characters so far.
When a federal district court judge opens his order denying a motion to dismiss with a movie quote (footnoted), I feel like it is safe to say something has achieved a pretty solid level of pop culture saturation.
Judge Wright of the Central District in California opens his order with, “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.” He’s talking about TJMaxx’s use of “compare at”, which is an estimate only and not an actual price comparison according to the fine print on the company website and a sign in the store. Is that deceptive, an unfair business practice or false advertising? The court says the plaintiffs have sufficiently pled and that there are questions of law and fact, so the motion to dismiss is denied. But not before working in “inconceivable” and a mention of the elusive six-fingered man.