Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A hodgepodge

Lately, I have been wanting in subjects to blog about for various reasons, and because I cannot think of anything coherent to discuss but am smarting about a few things, I'll just jump around.

I finally finished Adam Langer's The Washington Story. It has nothing to do with Washington State or Washington, D.C., (I get enough of D.C. from living here and have little desire to read a novel set here at the moment). Rather, it is set during the time that Harold Washington was mayor of Chicago, from 1982 until 1987. I went back and forth on my opinion of this book throughout it. It is definitely one of the more personal books I've read, considering that the main character worked on her high school newspaper, is a young liberal-minded person, is reform Jewish, and lives in Rogers Park, a neighborhood in Chicago. While I never lived in Rogers Park, it is the nearest Chicago neighborhood to where I did grow up, and I know it fairly well. Other parts of Chicago play a role in the book too, particularly the near South side, which was apparently just beginning to become the fashionable neighborhood it is today in the late 80s.

The Washington Story became a little too zany at times, working off the impulse that many writers seem to have of linking all of a story's characters and their fates with one another. (Maybe such a tendency should be called the Crash syndrome, after the gimmicky Oscar-winner of last year, not to say The Washington Story was inspired by that glib movie). Nonetheless, I found the writing genuine and the sense of transience that Langer conveys about human desires and dreams to ring very true. Now that I'm through with it though, I need a new novel and hopefully one that is at least as compelling. Any suggestions?

In other news, my co-worker's blog has been put on the map by none other than the Food Network's Hungry Detective, a cop named Chris Cognac who sniffs around American cities for hearty meals. The Gourmet Piggy rips into the Food Network and in the process becomes the target of Cognac. Cognac's comments are unintentionally some of the most hilarious things ever ("I have a hot cuban wife and 2 kids that love me, so there..."). I love how the web connects people so easily--could this hilarity ever have ensued without the glorious "series of tubes" we (er..Ted Stevens) call the Internet?

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