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24/31 Stuff I'm Enjoying

Current audiobook: Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things, read by Juliet Stevenson. I never felt the faintest desire to read Eat, Pray, Love and my only exposure to the author's work is her well-known TED talk on creativity. I'm glad I took the plunge. Signature is a terrific novel (so far--I'm about a third of the way into it).

It takes place in early 19th-century Philadelphia, but it sits lightly in its period setting: while it's clear that Gilbert did her research, neither history nor botany (the thematic glue) ever weighs the story down. The principal character is Alma Whitaker, and every shorthand way I can think to describe her fails to do her justice: unattractive but brilliant daughter of a wealthy illiterate English plant importer; lonely, hardworking daughter of a tough, Calvinist Dutchwoman...okay, how's this: secret pornography-reading multi-lingual botanist who is running her father's business by the age of 21? That's more like it.

Gilbert uses vast swaths of narrative, minimal dialogue, and lots of lists, so that the characters unfold vividly in your mind more by accretion of little details than by their speech. This makes the novel less of an acting challenge than Juliet Stevenson deserves, but she's wonderful to listen to just the same.

Current Bingewatch on Netflix: Arrow Season 1. Cheesetastic but good in unexpected ways. The acting is stronger than I would have expected from a CW Parade of Beauty, and the writing veers all over the place from comic-book operatic to really solid. I'm way more interested in it than I thought I'd be.

Current Book: Dawn Powell's The Wicked Pavilion. Published in 1954, forgotten by 1965, and revived in recent years. Powell has a snarky, trenchant style, a bit Dorothy Parker-esque, very New York. My niece living in New York City recommended it and I can see its literary worth while not, strictly speaking, enjoying it.

Current Fic: I'm off fic at the moment. Open to suggestions, though.

Current Shows: Agents of SHIELD is growing on me a little. I said I'd give it six eps, so it's got one more chance to really hook me in. The new season of Grimm started off with a bang last night. Still enjoying Elementary. Loving Sleepy Hollow in spite of myself.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 27th, 2013 02:57 am (UTC)
Arrow surprised me too. I hadn't liked the pilot much but kept watching and it just kind of grew on me. I sort of ignore the flashbacks part and some of the acting is painful, but I really like a few of the characters and some of the storylines just sucked me in. Stephen Amell really surprised me in some of the depth he's shown as Oliver, and I am a sucker for the slightly broken but overly responsible with weight of world on his shoulders characters. And there's also Felicity. She's a gem.

AoS... I gave up on. I watched up the first 4 episodes I think and was just rolling my eyes over and over and over and just decided enough was enough. If it really turns around I'll catch up, but I can't see that really happening.
Oct. 27th, 2013 03:14 am (UTC)
I'm enjoying AoS on approximately the same level as Elementary (although Elementary is the better show by most standards of quality)--not deeply engaged, but enjoying it. I hoped and wished to be deeply engaged, but alas...

Felicity is the clear breakout character so far in the seven eps I've watched. The moment she first appeared on screen and opened her mouth, she was the Fonzie.
Oct. 27th, 2013 03:25 am (UTC)
Felicity was supposed to be a once-off. She was originally just going to be in a scene or two with Walter and then they needed a character to provide Oliver with some info and she just hit it off with him so well that they decided to keep her around. She's a regular in S2.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )



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