Friday, 18 June 2010

7 Quick Takes (XLVI)


1. I almost didn't write this today. I've had the day off, and yet I forgot about this entirely. Because of my haste, this will be disjointed.

2. On Wednesday I awoke at 3:10 to prepare for work. My shift started at about 4:00. We were moving a house and were working so early so that we would be on the roads when they were abandoned. It was not broad daylight at 4:00, but it was certainly light enough that it felt more like day than night. Solstice is soon, and the light just keeps coming.
Anyway, that was quite a day. It was also pretty cool to see the house coming down the street on a truck.

3. On Saturday (I think it was Saturday) my mother and I went for a walk down in the Conn Creek Greenspace again, this time walking along the length of the South Conn Creek until we reached the road again. We've never walked that far before. Once you get down there, you see a number of old (and not-too-old, perhaps) beaver dams which terrace the creek. It's a fascinating, beautiful, tumbled and jumbled sight down there. There's no way to capture the whole of it in photographs; it's too long and stretched out. Maybe I'll go down there with a camera again, though, and see what I can do.

4. This week we started at the Marine Park again.

5. In the craziness of Wednesday, I somehow missed out on my course registration for university. I didn't remember until Thursday (yesterday), and when I went to apply I found that the only Renaissance course, which was important to my program, as that's my intended specialty, was full. I wound up registering for a number of courses I hadn't planned on taking, and being rather disappointed. Today, however, I got myself on a waiting list and was assured that, one way or another, I would likely get in that course. And even though I wound up in a number of courses I hadn't planned on, I'll likely still learn and enjoy myself. I might even learn more than I would have going into the courses I had planned on taking.

6. Also in the university-bad-news department, I didn't get into residence. The house-hunt is on.

7. Yesterday and today I read Dan Brown's Digital Fortress. I have a few notes on Dan Brown. First, he isn't really much of a writer. Second, the time-frame of his novels tends to be within one or two days. Third, his novels are so fast-paced that I think they can be best described as reaching their climaxes in the thirtieth chapter and finishing their climaxes in the one hundred twentieth. It's just all continuous climax, with no break or building of tension (because it hits crescendo so early and just holds it). Fourth, they are very formulaic, and so once you've read a few, you can predict many of the sudden twists in the rest. Fifth, those sudden twists you can't predict are, in fact, clever. When he's not cliche or outright counterfactual (see The Da Vinci Code), he can actually pull off some clever twists. Admirably clever twists. That combined with his ability to make that continuous climax gripping, means that his books are in the end a fun if meaningless way to spend an afternoon. Longer if you space reading between other tasks.
But then, I tend to appreciate the good in books while many many other people cannot do that in the presence of a whole lot of bad. If a book has one redeeming feature, I might enjoy it for that feature. Harry Potter, for instance, is poorly written, but I can appreciate its moral value. His Dark Materials may be anti-Christian and closed-minded, but I can appreciate its conviction and its beauty in writing and storytelling. The Chronicles of Narnia may be bigoted, but I can appreciate their smart narrative, their moral character, and their archetypal power. Recognizing the bad does not prevent me from enjoying the good, and enjoying the good does not prevent me from recognizing the bad.

I'm not perfect; some things really do turn my stomach too much for me to read the book. Other things bore me too much, such that the good doesn't seem worth the time. But I try to be willing to appreciate a work for its strengths and not its weaknesses. Funny how much easier it is to do this with books than with people.
See Jennifer Fullwiler, the host of this meme.

1 comment:

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