Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Sunday Salon

It's a busier than usual weekend for us, made so by the fact that Betty is in not one but five performances at a local theater this weekend.  She's part of the cast of Disney Kids Cabaret, as well as a children's production of Snow White. One is an afternoon production, the other is a few hours later in the evening, so we've been shuttling back and forth from the theater for the past several days.

The kids' birthdays are next week too, so in celebration of that and the play, my in-laws are coming down today.  Normally I've invited family and friends to the show and a party afterwards; this year, for various reasons, I just kept it small. Emotionally, we're not up for a whole big to-do, and while I kind of feel like I'm cheating my kids out of a big party, the finances aren't there for that right now. Somehow I think they will survive turning 9 with just a simple event.  (And no, we didn't invite our Congressman.)

I also had a busier than usual work week, making me too tired to read much more than a few pages at night.  That could be why it has taken me a week to get through the 275 pages of If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, the 2002 Booker Prize nominated debut novel by Jon McGregor. 

As I said in my Literary Blog Hop post and in my review, this is an oddly compelling book but one that I found difficult to get through after reaching the midpoint. McGregor's writing  is gorgeous and poetic, and the style a very unconventional one. Quotation marks are absent in the dialogue (which was fine) as well as character names (which was not).  I don't like novels where I need a spreadsheet to keep track of events and characters, but that's what I felt like this required of me as a reader. 

Half the Sky is still my audiobook, but I'm almost finished with it.  The busier than usual work week involved more local travel than usual, and more to come next week.  I'm thinking of just finishing up the last 50 pages of this in the print edition and starting a new audiobook, which will either be The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks or The Solitude of Prime Numbers.  Have you read or listened to either of these?  If so, which one would you recommend?

And in anticipation of the holidays (or not), I've started reading Scroogenomics: Why you Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays by Joel Waldfogel.  (I can practically hear my grandmother spinning in her grave at such a notion that one should stop buying presents.  The woman had a room in her small Philadelphia rowhouse dedicated to presents, all of which were not only bought but WRAPPED before Halloween ... leaving more time to buy gifts for that holiday.) 

Despite angering the spirits of my deceased relatives, I'm actually enjoying this book, which is a great combination of amusing and factual.  It's also one of the tiniest (think economical in size) books I've ever read.  It's not much bigger than the picture here; in actuality, it is just about as big as my palm.  We make such an annual production out of holiday giving, Waldfogel says, spending resources in time and money to buy gifts that people we hardly ever see will want, need, or use.  The wastefulness of the holiday as he presents it in terms of impact to the economy is eye-opening.   You would think that spending more and more and more is good for the economy in terms of jobs and businesses - and it is - but there is also a tremendously high cost. 

And with that, we're off to the show!

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Trisha said...

Two performances in one weekend?! Check Betty out! I find kids in theatre to be so very cool. It's one thing we didn't really have around here when I was a kid that I wish we had. Have a fun time!

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Oh, your books sound good! And how exciting about the kid performances and birthdays. Those are memorable moments.

Here's my salon this week:

Sycorax Pine said...

My family gave up holiday gift-giving a few years ago in favor of just getting presents for people whenever inspiration struck, and it has been *amazing*. I would never go back. The holidays are so much less stressful without the obligation of shopping, expenditure, and panicked gift-choosing. Somehow, regardless of how much thought I put into it, I always ended up getting someone a gift just for the sake of getting them the required gift, not because it was something they wanted or needed. Just accumulation for accumulation's sake. And now when I get a gift, it isn't dulled by expectation (oh, this is gift giving time) - I am always surprised and delighted by the person's thoughtfulness.

Of course, a lot of this probably has to do with being an adult, and more than capable of acquiring stuff for myself, should I really want it. If I were a kid, I would agitate strongly for holiday gift-receiving rights.

K. Harrington said...

Sounds like you have fun celebrations ahead. I want to read Half The Sky. So many books to complete before years' end!

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

I haven't listened to it, but I did think The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was a really good book.

K A B L O O E Y said...

Hey, wait: weren't both kids in the play? (sorry if I'm wrong) But Break a Leg, Betty! Although we don't say that around here because it used to sound too mean to Phin's daughter's ear. Oh! I wrote up a gift idea on the 14th that you'd probably love. Coolest gift I've seen for we bookish sorts. I thought of you and Florinda.
PS: sorry for using this space as a personal chit-chat forum, but whereas I don't jump onto the "buy a carload of plastic crap toys until our pile's bigger than your pile", I do love to pick out thoughtful, personal gifts.