1. AOTW: Please! It's not that hard to use your turn signal!
2. This week I finished Jeremy Lewis' biography Tobias Smollett (2003), a book I decided to read now that I'm nearing the end of all the novels written by Smollett (1721-1771). I had not really known too much about him, and one of the main things I learned from Lewis is that not a lot of other people do, either. Lewis assumes that most people have not read any of Smollett's novels (and other works--fair assumption), so he gives lengthy summaries of them (not my favorite parts), and he also does what other biographers do about folks who weren't kind enough to leave lots of documentation about their personal lives: He tells us much about the history and politics and culture of the period, hoping, I guess, that Smollett (like Waldo) will come into view. Only moderate success in that regard.
I learned, too, what a ferocious worker Smollett was. He died at fifty and spent almost all of his time researching and writing. Amazing what he produced in such a short career. (Check out his Wikipedia entry.)
Lewis also highly recommended Smollett's late travel book (Travels Through France and Italy, 1766), which I've just ordered. Lewis says it's rude, crude, disrespectful, curmudgeonly--just what I like!
3. I was sad to learn yesterday of the death of Dale Walker, one of the most prolific Jack London scholars. I own and have read many of his books and had great respect for him. Here are links to his obituary (obituary) and to his Jack London books on Amazon (JL books).
4. Last night, Joyce and I went to see the film Brooklyn, based on the Colm Tóibín novel (link to film trailer). I didn't recognize a single actor--except Jim Broadbent, who played an American priest)--but was very impressed with all of them. I had read the novel a few years ago (prepping to review another Tóibín novel), and my memory is that the book had a little darker atmosphere, a sharper edge, than the film--which (except in a few moments) seems a tad too syrupy and romantic. (Lots of lingering shots on blue eyes that never blink.) Still ... I liked Brooklyn a lot and had those buzzing moments common to all who've read a book, then seen the movie based on it. And with the current fierce debate about immigration it was gripping to watch a film based on the story of a young Irish woman emigrating to America in the early 1950s.
5. We've started streaming (Netflix) the 2nd season of Broadchurch, a Brit-mystery series that we liked a lot last year. Dark, dark, dark. A child's murder, etc. We had to pause episode 2.1, though, because we couldn't really remember how the 1st season had ended. So we watched 1.7 again. The male lead is David Tennant, who appears in Shakespearean roles (including a recent Hamlet--2009--which I didn't really care for (sigh)), and he comes off well as a troubled detective, darkened and nearly broken by Experience.
The woman--Olivia Colman (whom I don't recall seeing before)--is strong as a former local detective whose life is shattered by the child-death case. (I see that she was in Hot Fuzz, 2007, which I liked--but I don't remember her.)
Season 2, so far (we've watched only 1 1/2 episodes) deals with an earlier case that Tennant had solved (did he?), and the decision of the confessed murderer in Season 1 to change his plea to not guilty.
Here's the trailer for Season 1.
I see that there's a Season 3 that has just started (not available yet for streaming).