Saturday, March 24, 2007


For a while there, I had a dearth of things to read, especially novels. No one could recommend something -- or better yet, plunk something into my hands -- that I got really excited about, and that left a hole in my heart.

So I overcompensated.

Scattered on my bed currently are:
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Midnight in the Dragon Cafe
Devil in the White City
and two by Colson Whitehead:
Apex Hides the Hurt
and John Henry Days.

The glut is the library's fault, really. I requested a number of things that all arrived together. I have three weeks to finish four of them (the fifth, Apex, was leant to me by workfriend Stephanie).

After a Scrabble game this morning in which I put SQUIRE on a triple-word score for 83 points and got IODINES for another 60-something, I started Midnight in the Garden and went all googly-eyed for it. Yes, I know I'm years behind everyone else in the country in this respect. It's just so charming! It's all stories! I love stories. I love Americana. I love Magnolia trees and piano bars and gay-seeming, rakish gentlemen. Clearly this book and I were made for each other.

I hope the rest of the list lives up.

Meanwhile, I had a lunch at Morimoto that did indeed fulfill expectations. Sumptuous sushi arranged like architecture; really good service. The guests of honor, the author and his wife, regaled my two workfriends and me with stories from their life in Utah. They've lived in Vegas, Phoenix, and Tuscon, so they were braced for Mormon country, if not entirely prepared. At their first dinner party, when the wife poured herself a glass of wine, the neighbors they'd invited said, "Oh! We've never met an alcoholic before."

Crucially, they seemed to have a sense of humor about it. I told them, for extra hilarity and solidarity, they should read Dooce.

After the wife visited the bathroom, she whispered to the rest of us that we had to try it. Obediently workfriend Laura and I trooped downstairs. The toilet, as reported, was studded with buttons, and while sitting but without thinking, I pressed one of them.

"Jesus!" I shouted, jumping to my feet.

"Are you okay?" asked Laura from the next stall.

I would have answered but I was too busy trying to dodge the forceful stream of water shooting out of the toilet bowl right at me. Damn thing was a bidet. If I'd been prepared I might have enjoyed it; as it was, I just got wet.


j-squared said...

Devil in the White City! i just told charrow to read that book. takes some getting used to with all of the architectural/technical explanations, but it's great.

beware the bidet...

nate said...

It seems like the majority of my social circle has read Devil in the White City, and oh boy do they go on and on about it. I have my copy. I think it's next after the very meh like Cat's Cradle. I know I'm supposed to love everything Vonnegut.