2. This week we finished streaming the Brit series Suspects, which we loved. We had actually stopped the series at one point (when a favorite character departed in most sanguinary fashion), but we eventually picked it up again and were glad we'd done so. Such fine acting and writing and tension. Can't find out if there's going to be another season, though the final we saw certainly paved the way for one.
3. Friday night we went to the Kent Cinema to see Detroit, the latest film by Kathryn Bigelow, who did The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. (Link to trailer for the film.)
The film is based on the Detroit riots of 1967 (was that really fifty years ago?), riots which occurred about the time I had finished my first year of teaching at Aurora Middle School. The film was wrenching to watch--most notably because it's very evident that not much has changed. Far too many people in this country live in poverty--in hopelessness. And when you are hopeless, you will do about anything. (Evidence is abundant, all over the world.) I was surprised to see that the Bad Cop (the worst of them) was played by Will Poulter, whom I first noticed as the sort of likable goofy young man in the 2013 Jason Sudeikis/Jennifer Aniston comedy We're the Millers. Took a bit of getting used to, seeing him play someone so dark and heartless.
To Bigelow's credit, quite a few of the cops (and other law-enforcement professionals) were not the cliched shoot-first-ask-questions-later type. Some were compassionate, determined, professional. (And what an irony at the end when three cops, on trial for murder, etc., raise their Constitutional rights as a defense--the very rights they'd denied the characters whom they brutalized for half the film).
Anyway, it was a good film (not great), very troubling, very disturbing. Don't want to see it again. But glad I saw it once.
A Star Wars character, John Boyega, plays one of the conflicted black security officers.
4. I finished a couple of books this week.
- The first was (via Kindle) the initial novel about Jack Taylor, The Guards, a novel that initiated a Brit TV series (we've streamed them all), Jack Taylor. Taylor once was a cop (in Ireland--the Garda Síochána in Galway), but was bounced for alcohol problems (problems that continue in The Guards). He's sort of an unofficial private cop now--gets involved in a case here involving suicide, finds out it's not suicide ... The end reminded me a bit of the end of Farewell, My Lovely, but, hey, not a bad model to follow. (Link to some series footage.)
I enjoyed Bruen's style--and was interested in how he displays conversation on the page. Take a look at this screen shot from the book.
Notice how Bruen puts the dialogue tag (the "he said") part on a separate line from the actual words the person said. Took some getting used to--but I managed! Ended up kind of liking it.
- The second book I finished this week was The Collected Stories by Amy Hempel, a writer I'd always heard wonderful things about--but had not read all that much. Now I've read them all. She is a talent. Geez. She can write a sentence that just changes things--Karen Russell is the same.
How about this sentence: "In the desert I like to drive through binoculars" ("Going," 53).
I will say, though, that I enjoyed her earlier stories more than her more recent ones. I don't know--it just seems that in the later ones she's become more ... obtuse? Less interested in narrative flow than in moments. This is not a sin, mind you. But it's a matter of a reader's preference. And my preference is for more of a narrative arc ... Old Guys, you know?
BTW: Some of the stories are only a single-sentence long!
5. Final Word: A word I liked this week from one of my various online word-of-the-day providers ...
- from dictionary.com
noun [sey-pee-oh-sek-shoo-uh l]
1. a person who finds intelligence to be a sexually attractive quality in others.
1. noting or relating to such a person.
Of course, many people seek an intellectual connection with their partners. But people who identify as sapiosexual often say intellect is the first or most important factor that draws them to another person ...
-- Anna North, "The Hottest Body Part? For a Sapiosexual, It's the Brain," New York Times, June 2, 2017
Sapiosexual is modeled on words like homosexual and metrosexual, i.e., it has a short first element that ends in “o” (two syllables for homosexual and metrosexual, three for sapiosexual). The trouble is that for some intelligent people, sapiosexual is an “incorrect” formation: the word “should be” sapientisexual or at least sapientosexual, which are correct but pedantic and unlikely to win many dates for oneself. Some people in the 19th century objected to the new-fangled word scientist because it had a Latin root (scient-) and a Greek suffix (-ist), an objection no longer made. Sapiosexual entered English in 2015.