1. AOTW--There were a number of you this week, those impatient drivers who don't think I'm going fast enough (though I'm invariably 5 mph over the posted limit) and who think that if they just get closer, I'll speed up, too. Nah, I won't, AOTWs. So ... simmer down now (as Cheri Oteri used to say in those old SNL skits). (Link to one of them.)
2. Finished two books this week ... in both, I end up in the North ...
a. The latest by Norwegian thriller writer Jo Nesbø, Midnight Sun, 2016, which is a "stand-alone" novel, not part of his great series about the detective Harry Hole. This is a novella, really, more than 250 pages, BUT the pages are small, the print large, the spacing generous. It's about a putative hit-man who fails to execute (!) his assignment and flees into the remote North, where, of course, the Bad Guys find him--but where he finds something else that starts with an l and ends with an e and contains only two Other Very common letters. I thought it was kind of slow (until the Bad Guys arrive), but, hey, I'm gonna read Nesbø--good, bad, ugly. Some grimness involving the carcass of a deer ...
b. An excellent novel, Katherine Carlyle, 2015, by Brit writer Rupert Thomson--a novel that has some connections to Mary Shelley and Frankenstein, which is probably why I bought it some time back (I can't remember my motive--but I'm pretty sure that was it). One of the epigraphs is from Mary Shelley (from Frankenstein): How slowly the time passes here, encompassed as I am by frost and snow! The eponymous Katherine narrates; she's 19-20 and has a bizarre background--the product of artificial insemination but kept in a deeply frozen state for eight years until she's transferred to her mother's body and grows and is born. Now, she's a bit messed up: Her mother has died of cancer; her father, a globetrotting TV journalist is not "there for her" (God, I hate that phrase!), so she decides to split--heads from England to Berlin (where she gets involved with a couple of Odd Dudes), then, as the novel progresses, heads farther and farther into the North (as Frankenstein's creature does in his novel) until she reaches about the northernmost place that's habitable. And there ... Stuff Happens, Stuff I will not share since it would ruin your reading (if you decide to bite). I loved the book--especially the sections that involve her long ruminations about/reconstructions of what her father is doing (if he's indeed searching for her). I will say I did not care for the final few sentences ... but, hey, the rest was so good, so I'll give him a pass! She is a character that's missing a lot of ... affect (noun) ... emotion ... not entirely likable (just like the rest of us).
3. Joyce and I are thrilled that some new episodes of Death in Paradise are available for streaming on Netflix. Although the show is formulaic (very much so), for me that's part of the charm. I love it. What I don't love is a recent plot twist that removed (not fatally) one of the characters we liked. The "hero" of the series--a Brit detective on a Caribbean isle--played by Kris Marshall--suffers a loss, and I thought his performance during this loss was just terrific. Character-driven. But with some clever storytelling, too.
4. Last words ... from my various word-of-the-day Internet services ...
- punalua (poo-nuh-LOO-uh) noun A group of brothers marrying a group of sisters. (from wordsmith.org)
- apricity (a-PRIS-i-tee) noun: Warmth of the sun; basking in the sun. (from wordsmith.org)
- macrosmatic, adj. Having a well-developed olfactory apparatus or sense of smell. (from OED
- ninnyhammer \NIN-ee-ham-er\ noun a fool or simpleton; ninny. (from dictionary.com)