Wednesday, May 21, 2008

String Alongs Monthly Meeting

I had such a nice time at Bee's house Monday night. Had to be a good twelve people there and the conversation was fast and furious! It is hard to keep up with four conversations at once but I tried. There was a ton of good food too. Not a big surprise as we always eat well with that many women attending. And even though I am not the chef at my house, I can still bake when I want too. There was a lot of rhubarb available as it is in season.

I have had some bad luck with the last couple of books I have read and am finally reading something good. One of the disappointments was a book by Thorne Smith written in the 1920's called the Passionate Witch. A movie was made from the book called "I Married a Witch" with Veronica Lake as the witch.

I always thought she was gorgeous! Thorne Smith also wrote the "Topper" books made into movies and an early television show. Well, anyhow the book wasn't as funny as I hoped. I did read the whole thing but was disappointed.

Then I read another book about this sadsack British/Jewish librarian who gets a job in a small town in Ireland as the local librarian and when he gets to the town, someone has stolen all the books from the library building and he is expected to find the books and run the bookmobile. Supposed to be funny-but not...Can't even remember the title or author. But it was SO bad that I didn't even finish it!

But now the good news, I found this book called "32 Cadillacs" by Joe Gores. And here is the strange part: I read a review of the book and it mentioned that one of the chapters is shared with another book by another author-Donald Westlake. He writes hard boiled detective stories and a great series about this sort of hapless thief called Dortmunder. VERY funny stuff. So I figured that this book by Gores would be funny too but I couldn't find it from my local library system and thought I might have to get it through interlibrary loan. Well, the strangest part of the story is that I found that book on my own bookshelf! I think it was in a bag of books that I got from our friend Eugenie as it is withdrawn from Hartford's library! Can you believe it?!?
This is what Publisher's Weekly had to say about it:

This fourth book (after Gone, No Forwarding ) in his series about Daniel Kearney Associates, a San Francisco private investigation firm specializing in auto repossession, displays his skill in managing a large cast and a variety of subplots; Gores's own experiences in a firm very much like DKA lend an air of verisimilitude to the often-hilarious goings-on. As the King of the Gypsies lies near death after a fall, San Francisco gypsies defraud Bay Area Cadillac dealers out of 31 vehicles in a single day. The meat of the story concerns the recovery of these cars plus a 32nd Cadillac, a pink 1958 convertible in which the king has said he would like to be buried. Gores provides lots of authentic gypsy lore and often induces readers to cheer the bad guys, since, like all successful con artists, the gypsies prey on their victims' venality and stupidity. Good fun all around, capped by a neat, unexpected ending!

I must say, I am pleased to have finally found a funny book with good writing and a great cast of characters...
I also just saw the movie, The Darjeeling Limited directed by Wes Anderson. Family tension again provides dramatic comedy in Wes Anderson's new film, The Darjeeling Limited, about three American brothers traveling by train to find their reclusive mother in rural India. Like Royal Tenenbaums, this film succeeds because of its smart, funny script in addition to the visual beauty of India and its luxurious locomotive transportation. In Darjeeling, the oldest brother, Francis (Owen Wilson), blackmails his two younger siblings, Peter (Adrien Brody), and Jack (Jason Schwartzman), into traveling to a monastery where their mother, Patricia (Anjelica Huston), has been in hiding as a nun. Supposedly embarking on a spiritual quest, the three men reminisce about the recent death of their father, and the family's irreconcilable problems previous to their reunification. Though they do find Patricia, Francis, Peter, and Jack grow immensely from another brush with death, this time an Indian boy they try to rescue, giving the film an added conceptual depth that Anderson's previous films have been accused of lacking. Co-written by Roman Coppola (CQ), The Darjeeling Limited is a finely-tuned critique of American materialism, emotional vacuity, and our lack of spiritualism, presented in ironic twists and gorgeous cinematography and lighting recalling Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller. A lovely, poignant sequence occurs while the three brothers attend a traditional Indian funeral, and flash back to their father's one year prior. Moreover, the film's soundtrack culled from Satyajit Ray's films and vintage Kinks gives the film a timeless feel, removing it from the predictable indie rock scoring of independent releases. By far Anderson's best film thus far, The Darjeeling Limited offers a much-needed dose of cultural self-reflection, pillared against India's ever-evolving yet ancient religious backbone.

You should see this movie if for no other reason that the train itself-The Darjeeling Limited. Very neat-strange movie but very cool train trip!

Talk to you later,

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.
George Moore

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