Sunday, March 04, 2007

Becky's Book System

Years ago I started a system where as soon as I finished reading a book, I would write it down with a synopsis and a ranking (up to 5 stars, unless I forgot and then it was only 4 stars). I felt really heartened and organized. Virgos love to be organized and we love lists, of almost any kind.

At long last, I would have a record of what I read, I'd be able to recommend books without having to scratch my head and make guttural monosyllables (the worst kind of monosyllable there is), and most important I'd know if I'd already read something.

You know THAT feeling, dear reader, when you set down the book and gaze up at the ceiling--Gosh, this seems familiar. I really think this guy is going to fall in love with a circus clown. Or I really think this girl is getting polio very soon. Yup, I was right. I've read it before. DAMN.

Okay, I admit the original system only lasted for one or two books. I'm not a true Virgo (moon in Leo, someone told me, and I suppose that's a more slatternly sign overall). I tried a modified version of the system, writing down a very short synopsis of the book and still awarding up to five (or four) stars. It's very empowering to award stars and I felt I wielded my authority in an unpretentious and fair manner. Some surprising books did not get a full five from me, but more of that another time. Eventually, I would sit outside the library and write a single sentence on the back of a coupon and still award the stars. Sentences like: Southern belle. Stupid husband.

Okay, so maybe they weren't real sentences, not in the actual sense of the word as we know it, or in the form I would accept from my composition students. And maybe they weren't actual synopses either. Blunt bullets I would call them, but they did the job. I was faithful. And I did end up with dozens of multi-colored coupons strewn through my car and blowing from the front seat to the back every time the door was opened. I did it, even when I didn't feel like doing it. A couple of times I managed to gather most of the coupons and take them inside where I compiled a paper list of ranked books. One of those lists is in my bedside table. I'm pretty sure. Though I haven't seen it in a few years.

What I'm trying to say is that I would like to spout off some books I've read this year but I haven't been keeping track.

So let's go with plain old random, what do you say?

A book I just finished is A SPOT OF BOTHER by Mark Haddon, which is brilliantly funny and I do love a book that makes me howl out loud. It's also darkly powerful which makes my laughter somewhat shameful. He also wrote THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME, another ripping good story. Why isn't this guy winning prizes?

I read, or re-read after many years, EAST OF EDEN. There are at least three full stories in there, not just the one about the two Cain and Abel type brothers. I have never seen the movie and have no desire to, although I'm sure James Dean is hot. One of the great villainesses of all times is Cathy. Yikes, what a meanie.

Okay, one more. I read GOODNIGHT STEVE MCQUEEN by Louise Wener and it was another British howler. I do love the Brits. I adore Judy Dench and Helen Mirren, nobody can give a line like they can. Also Eddy Izzard the comedian.

I guess that's it for books today.

I'm bogged down on my own.

A bientot


At 2:04 AM , Blogger sandman1 said...

Just last week I found an Eddie Izzard comedy special on the BBC America cable channel that was from 1994 (but might have been new-to-US-tv). It wasn't as polished or intellectual as Dressed to Kill, which came later and I think is brilliant, but there were still some laugh-out-loud moments. There's a different 1-hour show this Tuesday night which I suspect might be another older concert (can't tell from the description).

I also just found a listing for a show on FX called The Riches, evidently premiering Monday-next, a 1-hour show listing Eddie and Minnie Driver as leads and giving this description: "A family of gypsies assume the identity of a wealthy family in a posh suburban development." I'll give it a try, though I've seen him do an American accent in a film and found it quite off-putting!

At 6:53 AM , Blogger Becky said...

Wow, thanks for that info, Sandman. I will have to try and tune in for that.


At 9:15 PM , Blogger Mark said...

I know what you mean, b. It's scary how little I remember from books as little as a few months after I've read them. What was that character's name dammit!? It's even harder to remember the author's name.

At 11:14 PM , Blogger sandman1 said...

The TiVo makes it easy -- I have a "wish list" that just finds everything Izzard is in for me...

I don't think I've started a book I didn't realize I'd read before, but I did once go to a movie, in the theater, and didn't realize until a good while into it that I'd gone to see it some months before. It was in re-release to generate Oscar buzz or something, thus demonstrating that my short-term memory is shorter than a year. Couldn't remember the title just now, but managed to figure it out thanks to the web: L.A. Confidential. I don't remember it overly well -- perhaps I should see it again.

The image of coupons blowing around in your car reminds me of the cover for CFTE!

At 5:49 AM , Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

Great to catch up on your posts - I've been away for a week as you know ...
I think the Brits are great too - Have you ever seen Black Books? It's a TV show. It's actually Irish ... with some Brits as well ... hilarious - I think you'd appreciate the humour. I must read Haddon. Have been meaning to for some time. I thought 'Curious Incident' did win a prize ??
Interested to read that you think Rufus Wainwright's version of Hallelujah better than Buckley's - someone else I must listen to. Oh deary me - there is just not enough time in a day to listen, read, appreciate all one would like to, is there Becky?
(And what do you know - the beer-swilling culture is international and not restricted to just the Antipodes after all.)


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