The Bourne Supremacy

Great movie – true to the feel of the book series, very Cold War era in its atmosphere and so on.
Fer G/d’s sake, use a steadicam. The handheld shots are very exciting initially, very movement oriented and edgy, but…
Dr. T and I arrived five minutes before the 9:15 show, and ended up in the 6th row centre – bad move. We walked out after half an hour, exchanged our tickets for the 10:15, and sat in the last row. Much better – although the constant barrage of exciting handheld cam shots eventually gets to the strongest stomach, even way back in the last row.
Recommendation: definitely see this film, but take some Gravol first.

An Evening at Eve’s Tavern

Just for Laughs Festival, July 21, 2004
In keeping with our annual tradition, my Mum and I went to the all-female JFL show, this year bringing along Irene, Kate, and Jeannine, a.k.a. the world’s greatest mother-in-law.
The 2004 edition of Eve’s was at Kola Note, which was, once upon a time, Club Soda, so the show was returning to its birthplace. Mum and Kate and I seem to agree that we liked this year better than last. The theme, if there was one, was the futility of dieting – we’ve noticed that the show tends toward an unannounced, unintentional theme topic that coincidentally appears in some form in most of the sets. Two years ago the theme was peeing… last year, motherhood in various guises was popular, as was the female orgasm (no kidding).

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Ian McEwan
This is the first McEwan I’ve read (although I have owned Amsterdam for a long time without reading it. I enjoyed Atonement enough to root through my home library and find Amsterdam, but not so much that I’ll do it any time soon.

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The Poisonwood Bible

Barbara Kingsolver
I enjoyed this book much more than I had expected to. It’s the story of a quartet of sisters who are uprooted from their life in Georgia to live in a small village in the Congo with their Baptist missionary father. The story is told in alternating chapters – each “book” of the Bible begins with a chapter told by the mother, then the sisters take turns telling the story.

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Brush with reality

Since Becca brings up “Survivor,” I have a confession to make – last night I watched “The Apprentice.” I admit it, I couldn’t look away…
In the end, though, the only thing that stayed with me is the thought that Donald Trump really, really needs to fire his hairdresser. How much money does this guy have? Then why does he look like a tribble died on his head?

Marie Antoinette: The Journey

Antonia Fraser
I’ve read several of Fraser’s royal biographies, including Mary Queen of Scots and The Six Wives of Henry VIII. I was very much looking forward to Marie Antoinette – I resisted buying it in hardcover, and made myself wait til I had time to devote to the paperback (500+ pages).
Marie Antoinette is, for me, one of those historical figures who ubiquitousness (yes, it’s a word) led me to believe I knew everything I needed to know about her. Fraser’s book, however, details a genuine riches-to-rags saga filled with minutiae of the French and Austrian courts, the events that culminated in the deposition and execution of Louis XVI, and the fall from grace of the French queen.
I’m sure that many of these details are easily found elsewhere, but I do enjoy Fraser’s approach, even if she is unapologetically apologist. I do think the book would have benefited from some careful editing – some of the minutiae is repetitive or altogether unnecessary – and unlike other historical bios I’ve encountered, this one didn’t include any family trees or other visual representation of the major players. In this case, where the vast majority of ‘characters’ are titled, it’s not always easy to keep track of them – especially when titles are passed on to heirs, exchanged voluntarily or by royal decree, or forsaken for a more Republican name after the Revolution.
I also found myself very occasionally put off by Fraser’s insistence that her reader already knows all the salient facts, and is merely looking for hypothetical explanations. Granted, this approach is better than a condescending one that assumes complete ignorance; but given that I didn’t know about the infamous Diamond Necklace Affair, for instance, I would have appreciated some explanation of why it’s such a big deal to historians.
Overall, I enjoyed the journey, and I’m glad I know a little more about Marie Antoinette, who never, ever, invited the peasants to eat cake.
Call this one a recommendation if you like that sort of thing.

The Million Book Club

Our somewhat sporadic book club met last night to discuss Everything is Illuminated. As usual, some of us loved it, some us, not so much. Also as usual, the conversation was stimulating; I always love talking shop with other readers, gleaning new insights and approaches, discovering anew how different the reading experience is for each reader.

I was particularly appreciative of Danielle’s invocation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez – despite how much I enjoyed Everything is Illuminated, I hadn’t taken the time to question exactly why. With the mention of Magic Realism, and in particular One Hundred Years of Solitude, everything was, indeed, illuminated. So, to add to my previous recommendation, if you liked OHYS, you’ll probably enjoy EII.

Our next book is George Singleton’s The Half-Mammals of Dixie, a collection of short stories set in the American South.

The Stone Diaries

This was my first Carol Shields novel – I’ve read a couple of her short stories – and I zipped through it in record time. There’s something about it that feels inherently Canadian; it reminded me of Alice Munro and Margaret Lawrence.
The book is “written” by the protagonist, Daisy, from moments before her birth to moments after her death, but the narrator continually shifts from first to third person. In fact, most of the story is told in the third person, so that the occasional “I” really throws you – and reminds you that the narrator is naturally biased, and theoretically at least, writing from distant memory. In fact, the one unanswered question is “when did Daisy write her life?” – from beginning to end, the story is presented in the past tense, but if we are to believe that this is a memoir written by the protagonist, whose death, funeral, gravesite and epilogue are included, then we have to assume that at some point, memory becomes prediction. But which point? I like to think that her old age and death are imagined by Daisy while she in the depths of her ‘nervous condition’ in her 60s, but of course, it’s all conjecture.
One of the things that I most enjoyed was the complete lack of amazement at the advances taking place in the outside world – there’s very little real history, and certainly no ‘wow, isn’t that incredible’ reflection on things like landing on the moon or Watergate. Daisy is born in 1905 and dies in the 90s, so she essentially lives through the century. She spends her married life in Ottawa, but there’s no Trudeaumania. There isn’t even Beatlemania. It’s real enough to feel real, but isolated enough to be exclusively Daisy’s story.
Definitely a recommendation, especially if you’ve read and enjoyed Munro and/or Lawrence.
Currently on the nightstand:
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle (so far, it’s reminiscent of Under the Tuscan Sun (the book, not the &^%*# movie))
A Year in Provence was a fun read, and my initial impression of it being in the same subcategory of travellogues as Tuscan Sun was not altered – but I did find it amusing to learn that Mayle is almost universally disliked by his Provencal neighbours.


We watched Minority Report last night. I’d review it, but I’ve already posted a lengthy Homeric interpretation today.
Suffice it to say that the film includes oracles, priests, a Cassandra, blinding, loss of identity, possible Oedipal issues, and an expositional 2×4.
Still worth watching, though, if only to induce covetousness for the nifty gloves.