Wednesday odds and ends

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.


d. chedwick bryant said...

early dementia sounds very bad, but my aunt is on meds for it and lives a pretty happy life. She lives in a group home now, because 10 yrs ago she began wandering off. She loves seeing her grandkids, has a pet cat, and listens to music all day. Group homes can be great.

d. chedwick bryant said...

Am going to find the Shakespeare & Co. memoir.

Dark Orpheus said...

I can't recall if I have the Shakespeare & Co. book at home. I think I might have it -- unread, as usual.

I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. My mother has been slowly declining into senility these past few years. It's not easy, and it takes a lot of patience.

verbivore said...

Hooray for the library card, now what will you check out first?

Dorothy W. said...

Enjoy the Winspear book -- I really enjoyed her novels. And the Beach book sounds good -- I studied Mina Loy in grad school, and she was a fascinating figure.

LK said...

D. Ched, thanks for your thoughts. My mom is resisting all, but maybe if I can find out info that meds can help she will get examined. Thanks again. And do find that memoir -- it's a great read for a rainy day especially.

Dark O--you said it in your previous post, gal! Tough times ahead. Thank you for your support.

Verbivore, ha, I am not sure, but either a mystery or a current events book, something like The Looming Tower.

Dorothy, you know, I started Winspear and thought oh what a lightweight. But I am getting sucked into it. So, gotta give her props. How in heavens name did you wind up studying Mina Loy -- was it modernists?

Dorothy W. said...

It was a class in avant garde women poets -- cool, huh? We studied Gertrude Stein, Mina Loy, HD and others.

LK said...

Very cool, Dorothy.

Iliana said...

I'd heard good things about Vargas before. Hmm, I'll let you know if I check out his books. Have you read any Martha Grimes? Her mysteries are contemporary and set in Britain. I've read a few and have found them well done and enjoyable.
I'm going to check out the Jitterbug link. I'm sorry your mom isn't doing too well either. I hope it's just the stress from your dad. It is so hard to all of a sudden become parents to our parents isn't it? Hang in there LK.