Book news: Finished Fred Vargas’ Seeking Whom He May Devour. Sigh. Not as great as I’d expected…the characters weren’t terribly interesting, and the author (who is a woman) kept making very sexist type of comments, in lieu of characterization. (i.e. One of the main characters kept referring to a murder victim as “the old bag.”) I’m very hard to please when it comes to mysteries. I also suspect I read the wrong Vargas book. (Check out Smithereens’ views on Vargas for a more balanced account of Vargas. Check out Smithereens’ views for much good reading, if you haven’t visited there!) I shall move on to Jacqueline Winspear’s Birds of a Feather and start scrabbling around for Agatha Christie and PD James (is there a contemporary equivalent to these writers?). I’m really trying to bone up on mystery writing, as I’d like to dash one off under a pseudonym. “She says cheerily, her positive tones belying her delusions….”
On a more positive note, LOVED Sylvia Beach’s memoir Shakespeare & Co., all about her literary bookstore. It’s very light, full of anecdotes that never get too revealing (about her or the people she’s informing us about) versus gossip or true revelations. I get the feeling she was trying to be discreet and diplomatic versus being a tell-all. Still, if you are a modern lit lover, this is a great read. She mentions several authors I would like to look up: Valery Larbaud, Mina Loy, Djuna Barnes, Bryher, and Mary Butts, among others.
Library travails: I finally got my library card! This is what happened: I returned the books to the outside deposit, which apparently was a mistake, since they were returned to the stacks without any record. I actually hunted two of them down, to prove I did indeed return the books (the librarian was looking at me askance. I don’t think he believed someone who had books checked out from 11 years prior would a) find them and b) return them.) At this point, it was more about restoring credibility than getting a library card. Happily, the librarian appreciated my efforts, charged me $11 for a back fine and for a new card (a bargain, if you ask me), and issued me my new license. Which I will use very judiciously, I assure you.
For anyone dealing with seniors: As some of you bloggers may have issues with your elderly parents, here’s a link to Jitterbug, a phone service especially for seniors. I am sending one to my mom and dad. My dad is going home, but he is not well enough to care for himself, and my mom (I fear) is in early Alzheimers or dementia. Her behavior has gone beyond mere stress from my dad’s situation, unfortunately. This phone may be a literal lifeline. Hope it may help some of you, if you need it.