Archive for March, 2012

HUMPF, I SAY

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Have you seen the Red Lobster commercial with a lobsterwoman from Spruce Head and two lighthouses? Roseledge Books Regular Steve is sure the first is Marshall Point lighthouse, five miles down the peninsula from RB. I was also sure until I saw it one too many times while knitting during reruns of “The Closer.“ Now I think they may have fiddled with the picture because there should be no cottages or land to the left. Charlie says I’m not picturing it from the air. Humpf, I say. Clearly this deserves several trips to the lighthouse next summer for on-site inspections, arguments and glasses of wine. I can hardly wait. Meanwhile I am posting two of Charlie’s pictures of Marshall Point, mostly because I just like them.

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TV's Marshall Point is more from right where there is no land to the left.

And is the second lighthouse Pemaquid? Think Edward Hopper, but I‘m not at all sure. And a RB person who moved to Hawaii (hiss) asks, “What’s with the woman hauling red lobsters from the ocean?” Shrewd eyes do not fade, even when they are entirely too far away.

Lots in the news these days about what is factual, true, real, fiddled, created, imagined, retold, remembered, falsified, or subject to every other convolution that happens in the game of telephone, the stories of the Irish, or the findings of data hounds. The review of John D’Agata’s ’s book, The Lifespan of a Fact may be all you need to read of a long discourse on this matter, which is good because it won’t be out in paper yet this summer. And Mike Daisey’s comments about Steve Jobs and Apple in China are mostly useful for the conversation about what journalism is or is not.

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Charlie's Marshall Point. I love it, but what is it -- art, truth, terrific?

Personally, I take things with a grain of salt and figure the point being made falls somewhere between documented and speculative. Thus it is I’ve never fretted about fiction/non-fiction distinctions or paid much attention to authority, except maybe to question it or figure out how to change it. And I never consider an argument settled.

So it was that my mostly Scandinavian neighbors and I got together last week on St. Patrick’s Day to argue one more time about whether the Irish or the Vikings got here first. As always, I argued for the Irish and thought I won. The Irish coffee was maybe not as good as usual with Redi-Whip instead of real whipped cream, but then as the Dane among us pointed out, none of us is as good as we once were. More seasoned, though.

And always happy to hear about new evidence to support the Irish-first hypothesis. Mention in Icelandic mysteries, Greenland travels or arctic explorations, maybe?

SPRING COMES.

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Well we may have had our snow of the winter. Forecast for today is high 30’s, the traces and slush ruts will melt, and it is March 1st.  It will not only feel like Spring, it will BE Spring, meterologically speaking.  Could one ask for more?   This makes going to Maine seem all the closer, which means I am now busy sorting through clippings and reviews from this winter’s reading to amend my list of books to buy for the bookstore.

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A Maine picture for most seasons transfers Summer's joy to early Spring.

A Maine friend liked Henry Kissinger’s book, On China, and White House people are busy reading it, among others, so I’ll order it when it comes out in paperback. I know for sure that two Roseledge Books regulars do business in China and several others travel to unusual places and like to know more about where they’ve been. Besides, it’s a big fat book which is often a plus for readers on vacation, especially near a glorious ocean. I wish I liked Kissinger more, but he’s smart and I think he got more right about China than about Vietnam.

I just read an article about Bell Labs, innovation hub for much of my life thinking about library and information issues, and Jon Gertner’s book, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation, is due out soon.  Articles about China and Bell Labs beg the question, when do you need to read the whole book to gain the learning? It probably depends on what you want to know or how much you already know or care or on how contentious is a related argument or how much time you are willing to give and in what spurts or how able is the author as investigator, thinker, and writer.

Choosing a book is a tricky proposition, especially choosing a book for another, as there are as many reasons to read a book as there are readers, but choosing is the real pleasure of having a bookstore. Roseledge Books is every year an ongoing accumulation of my best guesses and the books you choose to buy are my yes! moments.  So the joy of choosing begins again.

In their spare time, the Chinese read novels about work.  (See New Yorker article, “Working Titles” by Leslie T. Chang, 2/6/12.)  Oh my.  I don’t think this is a go for Roseledge Books, although one could argue that good police procedurals, e.g. Michael Connelly, Ian Rankin, or Henning Mankell, have a fair amount of workplace activity involved.

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How do I miss Maine? Let me count the ways, the days, the rocks and buoys.

I have a new pacemaker which, like so many of my encounters with the health care system, needed a second try to get it just right.  My too mellow heartbeat just got a boost, so expect more energetic bursts and fewer nod offs from now on.  Felicia Carparelli’s Murder in the Library is testing my newfound impatience.  I am only on p.26, but I already want her to know more about libraries than I suspect she does.