Reading and watching

This month, I finished seventeen books —

seven novels:

Where They Found Her (Kimberly McCreight; 2015. Fiction.)
The Hidden Child (Camilla Läckberg; 2014. Fiction.)
Wonder (RJ Palacio; 2012. Fiction.)
The Easter Parade (Richard Yates; 1976. Fiction.)
The Elementals (Michael McDowell; 1981. Fiction.)
I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Iain Reid; 2016. Fiction.)

one play:

The Merchant of Venice (William Shakespeare; 1599. Drama.)

one collection of short stories:

Dubliners (James Joyce; 1914. Fiction.)

two non-fiction titles:

The Curse of the Good Girl (Rachel Simmons; 2009. Non-fiction.)
Lab Girl (Hope Jahren; 2016. Non-fiction.)

and six works of graphic fiction:

Huck, Volume 1 (Mark Millar; 2016. Graphic fiction.)
Kill Shakespeare, Volume 3: The Tide of Blood (Conor McCreery Millar; 2013. Graphic fiction.)
Fell, Volume 1, Feral City (Warren Ellis; 2007. Graphic fiction.)
Injection, Volume 1 (Warren Ellis; 2015. Graphic fiction.)
Trees, Volume 1 (Warren Ellis; 2015. Graphic fiction.)
Skim (Mariko Tomaki; 2008. Graphic fiction.)

Right now, I’m in more of a watching mood than a reading mood, though. Does that ever happen to you? This afternoon, I’ve been watching the birds in our yards. We’ve had a lot of success with our latest food and feeder configuration: hummingbirds, orioles, and goldfinches, oh, my! Many of the regular visitors have been by, too — jays, cardinals, mourning doves, robins, cowbirds, house finches, black-capped chickadees, red-bellied and downy woodpeckers, and a few grackles, starlings, and house sparrows. And, of course, the Cooper’s hawks. So busy out there!

Now I am toying with watching Episode 4 of Mr. Robot. Gosh, is that a terrific show! Earlier this weekend, my daughters and I watched The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino as Shylock. It was my second time, and it was just as excellent as the first. We will see the Shakespeare’s Globe production with Jonathan Pryce as Shylock at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater soon, and I so enjoy comparing various interpretations. The three of us are also watching The X Files. We’ve made it to Episode 9 of Season 9, and we think we will finish before they move to their university residence. That said, all of us agree that the show’s reputation outstrips its content, which how we also felt about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Shrug. Not every program can be Slings & Arrows or LOST, though, right?

Speaking of watching things for a second time, I saw The Dead again this week. The closing paragraph of Joyce’s story is one of my favorites in all of literature, so it was with much scoffing that I first approached Huston’s film nearly thirty years ago. Of course the book will be better, I maintained. How could I have known that it would actually render the story a permanent part of my imagination? Both faithful to its source material and a work of its own many merits, the film draws much of its strength from flawless performances from the entire cast. It also benefits from meticulous attention to period detail and a score that is a character itself. Rewatching the film, I was reminded of its perfection, particularly the emotionally shattering redefinition of the Conroy marriage that occurs in the final scene.

Before I settle in with Mr. Robot I think I will assemble my proposed TBR stack for August. I already own a few of the books on the Man Booker Prize long list, and Lab Girl (which was good, really, but does anyone else wish that all of that imagination and talent had been mixed with less angst and whine?) made me pine for an upbeat if not stoic science memoir, and the Abbott book arrived last Tuesday… I’m off to assemble my pile.

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