07 August 2007

The Weird, the Woeful, and the (Maybe) Wonderful

How’s this for a list of recent coincidences:

- In close succession, I read The Secret Adversary and My Brilliant Career, both featuring a character with the unusual name of Julius.
- Simultaneously I read Swift’s Journal to Stella and My Brilliant Career (whose author’s unused first name was Stella).
- On Wednesday morning, my lecture included some words of warning to any broke attendees contemplating signing up for clinical drug trials to earn extra cash. On the way home I picked up a copy of the free city tabloid mX - and on page 3 was an ad asking for volunteers for a clinical drug trial.
- Also in the mX, to my great delight, was a books page (the existence of which I never knew of before, as last semester Wednesday was my day off). It consisted mostly of an interview with John Connolly, whose The Book of Lost Things I recently read, and which I had returned to the library only that day.
- Finally, Wednesday evening I stumbled across this post. Which was interesting timing as, earlier, I had discovered that the city library has installed a sculpture at the top of the escalators. I can’t find any online photos, so you’ll have to use your imagination: a cone, maybe three feet across and four-and-a-half feet high, made entirely of books. Specifically, paperback books sans covers. Sure, it’s been designated art and is perfectly suited to its location, but all I could think was that if those books were intact and loose, they could have been read and looked after and enjoyed. Instead, they’re ruined.
Art or sacrilege: what do you think?

That’s the weird; the woeful is my punctuality in posting (or lack thereof). I had planned to keep perfectly up-to-date with my challenges, but my July reviews all arrived in August. But I did finish the books in July . . . I’m resolved, now, that I will NOT leave it until the last week of the month to pick up my challenge books; in fact, I plan to start my first one tomorrow. No, really. Honest. Which is actually another coincidence: it’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Milan Kundera was quoted in last night’s episode of Criminal Minds.

And the wonderful ... ish. Yesterday I opened the letterbox and found an envelope bearing the logo of my university (a rare event, and one which inevitably makes me think, What did I forget to do?). As it turned out, nothing; it was, in fact, an invitation to join the Golden Key International Honour Society, for students in the top 15%. I think my mother was more excited than I was:

‘Well - what does it say?’
‘I haven’t read it all yet - I only just opened it!’
Okay, okay, so it’s pretty good. It’s just that when you’re used to receiving academic accolades of one kind or another, top 15% doesn’t sound particularly thrilling; plus it gets old. I’ll probably sign up just for the boost it will give my post-graduation job-hunting, but I’m worried that the mention of a society will mislead potential employers into thinking it implies some kind of social life. Which it won’t; the activities of my university’s chapter seem to be all liberally fuelled by alcohol, and I have so little tolerance for the stuff that just the fumes give me a headache. But since said chapter’s website reminds potential members that employers just love to know applicants have a life outside the lab and the library (oh dear ...) it’s perhaps a false impression I need to make. No matter how much it stinks that I should have to do so.

Finally, I’ve had one of those out-of-nowhere brainwaves that I’m occasionally blessed(?) with, and a long-buried idea for a murder mystery has been resurrected. My villain had thumbed his nose at his creator by committing the perfect crime and getting away scot-free; but I think I have now outsmarted him. The problem is that I am sadly afflicted with an imagination bigger than my capabilities. I may have a hard time finding ideas; but once a good one’s planted in my brain, it tends to grow. A lot. Suddenly a straightforward whodunit morphs into a monster with three corpses, two time periods, and a mad wife in the country cottage. And a ghost. All in a foreign country I can’t afford a research trip to.

Good thing I love a challenge.


Christopher said...

It could be considered art, one of my first jobs in high school was at a bookstore, and when they pull books that are not selling they strip the covers to ship back to the publisher and then toss the books - perhaps these were rescued books?

Coincidences are fun!

sulz said...

thanks for the link love. :)

i actually never saw the mutilation until a comment in that post pointed that out. guess i wasn't exactly thinking. >.<

the art crisis picture was kind of ironic, in that sense, 'cos it has to cut up a perfectly good book in order to make its art...

CoversGirl said...

These books looked pre-loved to me . . . they probably came from a charity book sale. At leat, I hope they did.

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Header image shows detail of A Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c. 1776