Thursday, January 31, 2008

and she finally appears with more

I haven't read any of Grisham's latest lawyer novels but this one appealed to me because it was different. I quite enjoyed it and once again I'm dreaming of an Italian holiday. I thought it ended rather abruptly but I guess we can just imagine what happens next ourselves. I handed it over to Paul and he gave it the thumbs up as well for a fun quick read.

From Publishers Weekly: Third-string Cleveland Browns quarterback Rick Dockery becomes the greatest goat ever by throwing three interceptions in the closing minutes of the AFC championship game. Fleeing vengeful fans, he finds refuge in the grungiest corner of professional football, the Italian National Football League as quarterback of the inept but full-of-heart Parma Panthers. What ensues is a winsome football fable, replete with team bonding and character-building as the underdog Panthers challenge the powerhouse Bergamo Lions for a shot at the Italian Superbowl. The book is also the author's love letter to Italy. Rick is first baffled and then enchanted by all things Italian-tiny cars! opera! benign corruption!-and through him Grisham (The Firm) instructs his readership in the art of gracious living, featuring sumptuous four-hour, umpteen-course meals. The writing sometimes lapses into travel-guide ("most Italian cities are sort of configured around a central square, called a piazza") and food porn ("[the veal cutlets are beaten with a small bat, then dipped in eggs, fried in a skillet, and then baked in the oven with a mix of parmigiano cheese and stock until the cheese melts"), but it's invigorated by appealing characters and lively play-by-play. The result is a charming fish-out-of-water story.

*I quite liked the travel-guide side of it and tended to fast read past the football plays.


Once again a fun little book from the library shelf. Certainly something I wouldn't have gone looking for but I flipped through reading the bits that interested me, and that turned out to be most of them. The type of book that you can pickup and put down just as easily as reading front to back in one sitting.

From Publishers Weekly: In 2006's The Pedant's Revolt, Barham focused on the false information and bad advice in well-known folk wisdom ("starve a cold," one human year equals seven dog years, etc.), but in this follow-up she takes the opposite tack, examining old wives' tales and famously outlandish anecdotes that are actually true. She tackles literature, nature, food, history, medicine and famous figures, among other topics, putting the facts to stories like Virginia Woolf's affinity for writing while standing up (in emulation of her older sister, a painter). Other stories, like the origin of Saint Nicolas's gift-giving tradition, get shocking makeovers: as it turns out, the jolly fat man began his career by buying children out of prostitution. Surprisingly true legends also include the skin-coloring effects of eating too many carrots, the absence of the resurrection in the original version of Saint Mark's gospel and the fact that the "S" in Harry S. Truman doesn't stand for anything. Imminently browsable, this volume should provide the trivially inclined with lots of fun (and perhaps some late nights worrying, for instance, about bugs living in one's inner ear).


On Monday we went to see Juno and really enjoyed it. It's one that I'll watch again when it comes out on DVD.

We opened and enjoyed our second bottle of wine. It was the McWilliam's Chardonnay link from Australia. I'm not really a chard. drinker but this one has my approval. It didn't have the harsh first sip I get from other chardonnays and it stayed light and crisp through the meal. I served it with salmon the first night and finished it with pasta the next. It goes on my buy again list.

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