Saturday, July 07, 2012

July Jumble

Sitting beneath a ceiling fan, living through a heat wave, I realize that it's been awhile since I've been here and the danger of Blog Abandonment was very real. Since my last post, much more serious things than book reading and hot weather have happened, but I'm going to save that for next month, when I will have more perspective.
One of our latest Netflix picks was The Woman in Black, a movie that caught my attention because it stars Daniel Radcliffe. Unfortunately, it's a silly movie. The beginning reminds me a bit of Dracula, since it starts off with a young professional man being sent to some remote part of the country to perform business for his employer that turns out to be spooky, scary and dangerous. The conclusion is not the same, however. In the end, some questions are never really answered and I still want to know if the little dog is okay. Just sayin'. Oh, and I should add--Daniel Radcliffe was good, the acting in general was, and so was the photography. You might really like this, and I didn't hate it, but I felt the plot could have been...tidier.


I enjoyed reading In One Person, by John Irving. He creates endearing male characters in this small town all-boys boarding school in Vermont, and tells a sympathetic story about people whose sexual orientation and gender assignments are not conventional or easily definable. For Billy, the protagonist, the story starts in the 1950's and continues into his old age, illustrating the many changes those decades have wrought. I would definitely recommend it.

 However, it is not his best--not as amazing as Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meany, or A Widow for One Year.  His subplots are not as colorful and dense as usual, and Irving also felt the need to occasionally remind his readers about certain details of the story. That was odd (I don't need that kind of assistance yet). But, the fact is, there's something about a John Irving novel that I can't resist.

 My reviews over on Goodreads have gotten to be such short, lazy affairs. It's the heat....Next up: Enduring Love, by Ian McEwan...

This is a beautifully written novel that travels more ground than I'd ever expected--but not in a balloon.

The story begins with a dramatic accident and concerns those who either witnessed it or took part in an attempted rescue. We follow Joe Rose, the protagonist, who is struggling with guilt and obsessed with his part in the tragedy. His reactions and research lead him to some surprising conclusions, and he is able to help others involved with this incident feel more resolved, as well.

I found Enduring Love to be a fascinating page turner.

Okay, that's an overly succinct review, but I honestly don't want to give too much away, because this is also a psychological thriller. So, that's all you'll hear from me. 

Someone over at Goodreads pointed out that McEwan's books always cover a single day, or revolve around a single incident.  I haven't read many--Atonement, Saturday, Amsterdam, and this one, Enduring Love, but so far that's true in my experience, though I admit that I had to look up the beginning of Amsterdam. (It's a good thing I kept reading McEwan after reading that one! What a strange book.)


My latest song crush is "50 Ways To Say Goodbye" by Train, though no, the lyrics do not detail fifty different ways to explain someone's disappearance, maybe twelve.  It's another super-catchy song, and Train seems to be chugging them out this summer.

Speaking of music, I am mysteriously unable to successfully buy AND listen to stuff from the iTunes store. This just started: I download a song, but can't play it. When I try, I get the message 'This computer not authorized to play this song.' It asks for my username and password, which I provide, but then I get the message, 'this computer already authorized.'  THIS is the only computer my songs live on, though I'm allowed to authorize up to five. So, I get in touch with support, and they are very nice, but they provide a list of possible cures that take a long time and just don't work for me. It's a lot of time spent trying to play one $1.29 song! So, I finally sent them a polite message stating that I've resolved my issue--but did not say that the answer to my problem is simply buying MP3's on Amazon. There's no reason to be rude about it.  If I'd realized how easy it was to add them to my iTunes library, I would have done this all along, since I can share these with Ekim.

I love my iPod, have had very little trouble using iTunes software to manage my playlists, and have never before paid attention to the anti-DRM song, but of course I came across a lot of that whilst googling the occurrence of my problem. DRM stands for either Digital Rights Management, or Digital Restrictions Management, depending on your point of view. It's definitely restrictive. MP3's are DRM-free. So, it's a good thing I like my iPod, since my iTunes purchases can only be played on Apple devices. There are ways around this, of course, but they're not actually legal. I don't blame people for running around the restriction, though. As I say, if I'd really thought about this, all of my stuff would be MP3's.

And that's enough trivial drivel for one day! Happy weekend.


Doug Pascover said...

Happy Weekend to you. And thanks for reminding me that I meant to see Woman in Black.

actonbell said...

I hope you like it, Doug, and I hope you had a great weekend as well:)

Bone said...

I've not heard that Train song. I'll have to check it out. There for awhile, it seemed like they would put out one really super popular song about every 2 to 4 years.

TLP said...

You didn't learn "polite" from me. Hrmpf