Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Plane time

I have spent way more time on planes this year than normal, thanks to a couple of west coast conferences and wedding planning and friend visiting. All of which are delightful reasons to travel. But while I like the anticipation and excitement of travel, I dislike the gross food and tacky shoe shine stations in airports. And I especially dislike people who try to cheat the Southwest boarding system by lining up in NON-numerical order. Sorry, B23, you cannot line up behind A34 and expect to be seated. I do, however, like walking past those people and feeling like a superior rule-follower.

When I'm not smirking, I knit, listen to podcasts, and read. I sort of enjoy the forced "off-line"-ness of air travel. And I'm so glad you can't talk on your cell phone. Don't you hate that horrible period after you've landed, and everyone has unbuckled their seatbelts and is standing, hunched, in the aisles, and there's always some guy on his phone saying, loudly, like, "YEAH, I JUST LANDED. YEAH. YEAH. NO, PUT MOM ON THE PHONE. NO. YEAH. BRING A SANDWICH. [BLAH BLAH BLAH]." And everyone avoids eye contact and the rest of the plane is quiet. Awkward!

But reading is indeed a great part of travel. And in the spirit of Wordnerdy's book reviews, I think I should start putting up at least summaries of the books I read. This may be more for my documentation than your edification, but here goes. I'll start with a couple to try to prevent your (and my) eyes from glazing over.

Buster Midnight's Cafe by Sandra Dallas
This is a book I snagged from Mr. Cupcakes' parents house. It's about three friends from a mining town in Montana who grow up in the 1930s, and one of them becomes a movie star. It's narrated in a bit of a folksy first person style by one of the friends. It's an enjoyable story of how friends and relationships evolve as you age. It actually sounds like a real story you might hear someone tell you, which is not easy to do using period lingo and products.
Points: for educating the reader about the delightful depravity of Montana mining towns.

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
I think I read The Maltese Falcon for a course I took in college called Legal Reelism (geddit?) but that was my only Hammett experience. This book is also about a Montana mining town and its horrifying depravity and criminal activity. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and the journalistic/detectivey descriptions of each person are stellar. For example: "He was a man of thirty-four or -five, fairly tall, broad, and heavy without fat. His eyes were large, brown, dull, and set far apart in a long, slightly sallow horse face. It was a humorless face, stolid but somehow not unpleasant." There's so much description packed into each sentence that you need to slow down to really put the image together in your mind. Hammett was created to write screenplays. Also, according to the biography in the back of the book, he was created to meet lots of ladies.
Points: for the narrator killing a couple dozen people without remorse. And they say violence in the media is a problem today!

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Oh yes, please post book reviews! I always need more stuff to read. I read and generally enjoyed Sandra Dallas' Tallgrass, so I'll definitely check this one out.
"mining town in Montana"
"Montana mining town"

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