Always time for a quickie

Some very brief reviews based on this summer’s reading:

Tricky Business (Dave Barry)
This is Barry’s second work of fiction (the first was Big Trouble, which I have not read). Dr. T and I are big fans of his non-fiction, as our bathroom library attests. Tricky Business was good, and felt very much like a Barry book – but the violence was often gratuitous and occasionally way too graphic.

The Devil Wears Prada (Lauren Weisberger)
This was the first of two paperbacks that I preordered, then waited for ages to finally get my hands on. This one was not worth the wait – while it definitely struck a chord in terms of working for an unreasonable, self-absorbed crazy woman, the writing is not as good as one would expect. The repetitious dialogue, in which the author conveys nervousness by starting every sentence with “um,” was particularly annoying.

The Murder Room (P.D. James)
The second pre-order – this one was worth the wait. James still manages to create a golden age detective story while convincingly incorporating modern elements – the cell phone in the trunk is particularly eerie – and she manages to trick the reader. It’s not who you think it is… and that’s all I’ll reveal. As for Dalgliesh, James does address the issue of his personal life, but it does not overwhelm the plot of the mystery.

England, England (Julian Barnes)
Barnes has a vicious sense of humour and a good sense of history, as I originally discovered in his History of the World in Ten and a Half Chapters. This time he tackles the sceptered isle and its historical, literary, mythological import, and the result is funny, although it tends to focus more on the interoffice politics than on the satirical observation of the nation as a whole.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Agatha Christie)
Inspired by the course I taught this spring in Detective Fiction, I picked this up second-hand, and I’m glad I did. Christie is a great mystery writer, and while this book features neither Poirot nor Miss Marple, the narrator is likeable, the plot well laid out, and the solution twisted.

Olive leaf, my a**

When it comes to things like the Olympics, I am a total sucker. I absolutely buy the whole shebang. The athletes are heroes. The organizers altruistic. The world is a happy, fit, peaceful place to live. Sigh.
I watched every minute of the opening ceremonies, and felt a vicarious thrill for each and every one of the 202 competing nations, whether they had one athlete or hundreds. I am aware that in the grand scheme of things, whether or not some one can dive without a splash or toss a javelin way far is, frankly, irrelevant. But still. There’s something about the Olympics that makes me care that we have athletes like Alexandre Despatie, Emilie Heymans, Ian Millar, and Maryse Turcotte.
Having said that, the cynic in me insists on pointing out that the Olympic flame is, I’m sorry, a giant flaming penis.

This post has nothing to do with NOLA

Anyone familiar with Movabletype 3?
I’ve been having significant problems with comment spam, and I get the impression that it’s easier to control with MT 3. On the other hand, I’m not convinced it’s worth the hassle, if there is one, of upgrading.
Is anyone using MT3? Has anyone used it and given up? Or does anyone have other suggestions for dealing with the spamming?

Eating in New Orleans

We ate really well in New Orleans – and we managed to avoid places like Popeye’s and Wendy’s. We relied on Samantha Cook’s Rough Guide to New Orleans to steer us in the right direction, although the book is out of date (September 2001) and in at least one instance, wrong. Generally, we were extremely impressed with Cook’s recommendations.
I’ve spent the morning reliving our culinary treats, just in case you find yourself in New Orleans with a growly tummy:

Continue reading “Eating in New Orleans”

Jazz and Voodoo

There is live music on the street at all hours of the day, food, food, food, and t-shirts as far as the eye can see, usually 5 for $20. Best one so far – “Shuck me, suck me, eat me raw.” With the logo of a New Orleans oyster bar.
A fellow Scrabble widow and I toured the St. Louis cemetery yesterday. This is the tomb of Marie Laveau, reputed to be a voodoo priestess.
People leave offerings year-round, although our guide claims that at the “high holidays” the offerings often form a much, much bigger pile. Yesterday, the offerings included everything from roses and candles to a half-eaten apple and a calculator.