Tinkers, by Paul Harding
A compact little novel that opens with George Washington Crosby, a retired clockmaker in rural Maine, who lies in his deathbed. The book takes you in and out of consciousness with George as he interacts with his family as they keep a vigil around him in the present, and as he remembers his boyhood and especially his father, a man who abandoned him to save himself when George was a teenager. At times this was more like a poem than a novel, and the painstaking writing was impressive. It’s a very wintery book in terms of setting as well, which was a coincidence, since I didn’t know that going in. I can’t imagine reading this in the summer though. Just wouldn’t feel right. It’s about death, and loss, and it’s harsh, so Merry Christmas it ain’t.
A Christmas Carol
When I was studying thee-ah-tah, there were these dvds on acting that were put out by the Royal Shakespeare Company that I loved. Patrick Stewart, in his pre-Picard-ness (he still had hair!) was in them. I remember watching them and thinking: hey, I think that’s the Star Trek guy when he was a youngster. This got me to start watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the rest, as they say, is geek history. Now I can cite specific episodes by name from the Star Trek franchise, but it all started because I was an uppity theater kid, as if that isn’t enough of a geeky thing to be. Anyway, one of the things I always wanted to see was his one-man Christmas Carol on Broadway, where he plays all the parts. Come on, wouldn’t that be good? Professor Xavier as Tiny Tim? Really. Anyway, the next best thing is to watch a tv version of a Christmas Carol in which he plays Scrooge, but sadly none of the other parts.
I love how, on the cover, it looks like he is about to give you the beat down.
Changing My Mind, by Zadie Smith
A collection of essays where she does literary criticism (piece on Middlemarch was a snooze, piece on Kafka was pretty good), political writing (a chronicle of her trip to Liberia was unsettling in a good way), personal reflections on her life and writing, and pop culture criticism (an essay on Katherine Hepburn and Greta Garbo? You had me at hello).
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
I’ve been watching this lately and thinking about performers in terms of being of a particular generation, or speaking to a particular generation. Pretty heady topic for Jimmy Fallon, I know. I wouldn’t argue that Jimmy Fallon is the funniest comedian or dude-with-a-show in the world, or on tv. But he is one of those people that, when I do watch, he totally and completely seems like one of my friends. I know people just like that guy. Go to a party of people that I know, and there is something Jimmy Fallon-esque about the dudes I hang out with. I wouldn’t say that about Craig Ferguson, and Chelsea Handler, or even my beloved Stewart/Colbert. I don’t know what my point is, really (as usual). Just that perhaps every famous person has this going for them, to someone. Perhaps some people see Miley Cyrus in their friends, and other people see Regis Philbin in their friends. Doesn’t really have to do with their talent, necessarily. There’s just something familiar and dude-I-might-know-ish to me about Jimmy Fallon, which makes me want to watch him.
What celebrity reminds you of your group of friends?