Monday, August 06, 2007

Bookmarks for July 2007

All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (1992). A number of people have recommended McCarthy's writing to me, but for a number of reasons I have not gotten around to it. I decided that I wanted to change that this summer. And All The Pretty Horses is what I started with. This is the first of McCarthy's "Border Trilogy." I was caught up in the story immediately. In fact, what bothered me most was that I had so much going on that I had to keep putting it down and it took a few days to get through. This is the story of John Grady Cole, a young man who finds himself traveling to Mexico. His friend Rawlins goes with him and soon they meet up with a young boy named Blevins, whom they reluctantly allow to join them on the trail. The rest of the story is about breaking horses and men. But John Grady Cole is not likely to be broken.

I really enjoyed this tale of the changing west. It is set in Texas and Mexico after World War II and highlights a world in flux even as those in it try to make the best of what they have and are. I look forward to more from this author. I have started Blood Meridian and will try to review it next month.

I suppose I haven't read as many books this month as usual, particularly since it is summer. But I have worked on reading, little by little a couple of things. Last week I finished Late Wife by Claudia Emerson, which I was quite moved by. I suppose that should be reviewed now, but since I technically finished it August, I'll keep it for next time, when I can be more detailed. I started Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard. I don't know if I'll finish it. I started a volume of poems by Ovid, an anthology of narrative poems, and an anthology of short stories called 30/30. I'll probably finish the latter in the next week or so. The stories in this book (so far) have been quite enjoyable and readable. It appears to well represent modern American fiction.

So it appears I haven't read too many books, but I guess I have. I did add two feeds from a couple of my favorite websites to my My Yahoo page. These are from The Academy of American Poets and Poetry Daily. I love the idea of adding feeds, and these don't really disappoint. So nearly every day I have a new (to me) poem or something about poetry to read. I very much recommend these sites.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Overrated television shows (volume one)

I hope the reader will forgive me for not placing hyperlinks or images for this post (and those like it), but after reading, I suppose you'll know why. Hopefully, this will be a continuing (if not so regular) feature of Monk Notes. Thanks for reading:

Roseanne (1988-1997):
I tried to like this show, but couldn't. If this is the "average joe" type of family, then most parents need to be shot. Sometimes the meanness was funny, but most of the time it was just mean.
I watched several episodes before I decided this was among the most overrated series of all time. There are funny moments, and some episodes that were touching, but mostly it was about a mean, mean woman terrorizing those who love her. That just isn't funny to me.

Friends (1994-2004):
This isn’t a bad show; it just isn’t really a good show. (Remember this is about overrated t.v.) I watched many episodes and must admit to laughing quite a bit. But I also didn’t laugh at times when the laugh track tried to encourage me. The characters are mostly unlikable except when being stupid. I suppose idiocy has its charm. Rachel, though the character who experiences the most growth over the course of the series, is, frankly, a despicable person. Most of the humor seems to be zingers based on the situations and the characters don’t really do much of anything or have real world problems. When they do, those problems become part of the humor and little is solved unless the character just learns to “deal with it.” And don’t get me started about how the show trivializes sex.

Full House (1987-1995):
Full House is one of the most irresponsible pieces of crap ever aired. Like so many television shows, this trades on the “cuteness” of its characters. And I don’t find any of them cute. The children are spoiled brats, and the plot of many shows revolves around the uptight father who each time has to learn the lesson that his children are really in charge of their lives and they know better what they should be doing. The other men, one a struggling musician and the other a struggling comedian, fill in different roles of cute “uncle”. In other words, there are three grown men who get walked on by three minor females. There are almost no laughs, and the presumed adorableness of the kids wore off really, really quickly. And every time I hear that theme song, I look for weapons. How they stayed on television beyond two years continually baffles me.