2. I finished only one book this week because I'm also reading the massive recent novel by Joyce Carol Oates (American Martyrs, some 750 pages). I've read more than 400 and hope to finish it this week. So far, so good ...
- I did finish the recent John Grisham novel, Camino Island, which is not a courtroom thriller (though some lawyers do appear here and there); no, this one is a thriller-thriller. A caper story. A group of men steal from the special collections library at Princeton University a number of manuscripts by F. Scott Fitzgerald, including The Great Gatsby and the unfinished The Last Tycoon (a dramatization of the latter is now streaming on Amazon Prime!).
We follow the Bad Guys for a while, then turn to the efforts to recover the priceless materials. The story focuses on Mercer Mann, a young woman writer (currently blocked!), whom the authorities enlist to help recover the manuscripts since the prime suspect is a rare books dealer on this Florida island Mercer is familiar with. Bruce Cable is his name. Cable is "married"--but the relationship is open, and Mercer is quite able with Cable.
I liked the book (for what it is), though I must confess that I figured out a big plot twist well before it happened. When this happens (occasionally, not often), I feel simultaneously proud of myself and disappointed. One of the reasons I read thrillers is to be surprised, so when the Big Surprise turns out to be what I thought it was ... well ... diminished pleasure.
3. Last night I saw Spider-Man: Homecoming at Kent, and I both enjoyed it a lot and not so much. I know that I'm now officially an Old Guy because I prefer the sort of "personal" scenes to all the action. I felt the director could have cut the thing by a half-hour, and no one would have noticed. Really, the action is always, for me, just More of the Same, but I liked watching the relationships among Peter Parker and his high school classmates, between Parker and Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), who is Parker's mentor in the film. (I'll see Robert Downey, Jr. in anything!)
One other thing I'll say: In films aimed at a youth audience, most of the adults are clueless or dopey or both. Only the kids are kind of ... With It. The teachers at Parker's high school were basically all cliches and caricatures: boring or inattentive or so laissez-faire that they seem almost spectral in the lives of the kids. It's a rare film that has ever shown me a teacher who resembled an actual one. Even more rare: a film with a great teacher.
But I'm probably just being too ... sensitive ... about my own 45-year career in the classroom ...
Link to film trailer.
4, Final Word: A word I liked this week from my various online word-of-the-day providers ...
- from the Oxford English Dictionary ... check 2nd meaning ...
Pronunciation: Brit. /mɒˌrɪdʒəˈreɪʃn/, /məˌrɪdʒəˈreɪʃn/, U.S. /məˌrɪdʒəˈreɪʃ(ə)n/, /mɔˌrɪdʒəˈreɪʃ(ə)n/ [KIND OF RHYMES WITH REFRIGERATION--MOHR-RIJ-UHR-A-SHUN]
Forms: lME morigeracioun, 16 18– morigeration.
Frequency (in current use):
Origin: A borrowing from Latin. Etymons: Latin mōrigerātiōn-, mōrigerātiō.
Etymology: < classical Latin mōrigerātiōn-, mōrigerātiō... (Show More)
†1. With modifying word: character or nature (of an illness). Only in evil morigeration. Obs.
?a1425 tr. Guy de Chauliac Grande Chirurgie (N.Y. Acad. Med.) f. 21 Som [inflammations] bene made of humours noȝt naturale And..in þam yuel qualitee or yuel morigeracioun, i. maneryng [?c1425 Paris euel manere; L. mala morigeratio], appereþ more þan bolnyng.
?a1425 tr. Guy de Chauliac Grande Chirurgie (N.Y. Acad. Med.) f. 158v He exemplyfied in 3 maneres strengþ of sikenesez: For principalite of þe particule, as in þe heued or þe wombe ysmyten; For magnitude of disposicoun, as in woundez so grete þat hem nedeþ sewing; And for yuel morigeracioun..as in articulis ybrissed or crusshed.
2. Obedience, compliance; deference to superiors, obsequiousness.
1605 Bacon Of Aduancem. Learning i. sig. E1v Not that I can taxe or condemne the morigeration or application of learned men to men in fortune.
1642 J. Howell Instr. Forreine Travell v. 59 For the Spaniards, of all other, love to be respected at their own homes, and cannot abide an insolent cariage in a Stranger; On the other side, Courtesie and Morigeration, will gaine mightily upon them.
1659 J. Evelyn Let. 3 Sept. in Diary & Corr. (1852) III. 116 That fond morigeration to the mistaken customs of the age.
1889 Dict. National Biogr. XVII. 238/1 A large number of letters remain..addressed to her by her son Charles Lewis, but he certainly gave her reason enough for discontent, both in his politic morigeration to the Commonwealth men in England and in his cold-blooded treatment of herself.
1903 Edinb. Rev. Apr. 384 Morigeration served their turn during the first part of their Asiatic journey.
1958 Stud. in Renaissance 5 186 (note) In the many works deriving from Bacon's treatise on fortune, morigeration is perhaps best exemplified in Chesterfield's advice to his son on the necessity of cultivating ‘the art of pleasing’.