Tuesday, December 17, 2019


WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here

1. What are you currently reading?
Cary Grant by Marc Elliott. I have never seen a Cary Grant performance that I didn't enjoy. And yet, when I list my favorite classic film stars, I forget to include him. I think it's because there's a distance, an aloofness, that Cary Grant maintained that just wasn't there with Henry Fonda or James Stewart.

I'm hoping that this biography by Marc Elliot will help explain that. I know we're not supposed judge a book by its cover, but I love the portrait on the cover. There's the impeccable Mr. Grant, black tie and not a hair out of place, sitting criss cross, and making the incongruity elegant. Perhaps it's those warring sides of his personality -- the charm and the cheek -- that are the secret of his appeal and mystique.

  2. What did you recently finish reading? Still Life by Louise Penny. I'd like to stay at the B&B in Three Pines. A room there sounds like a comforting and comfortable place to unwind after exploring the village. I know that the books are promoted as "The Chief Inspector Gamache series," but after reading this first one, I think Three Pines is the star.
I enjoyed this book a great deal and, in fact, almost loved it. Ms. Penny creates unique characters without condescending to them. The crime that shocks Three Pines feels organic, as if it almost had to happen in that town. And Gamache is wise, warm and imperfect. I love his quote: "They are four sentences we learn to say and mean: I don't know; I need help; I'm sorry; I was wrong."

The penultimate scene in the book bugged me, though. Once it was revealed who the murderer was, I needed the "why" and "how." I'd convicted the wrong person, and wanted to get to the denouement. Instead there's some derring-do that felt out of place for the characters and it distracted me.

Still, I'm glad I met this series and will certainly revisit Three Pines.

3.  What will you read next? I'm not sure.

"Because you like cats and words"

So said my friend Nancy when she handed me a gift bag. Inside were kitty dishtowels and a quotation quiz book. I was surprised and touched. Nancy is Jewish and doesn't celebrate Christmas, and we've never done the gift thing before.

We met at a local restaurant that is closing at the end of the month, after a 30 year run. Nancy's husband joined us to say goodbye. It makes her happy that he and I get along.

It was a lovely evening, a fitting farewell to an old favorite restaurant, and another opportunity to wear my Cubs Christmas sweater.

I feel valued. It's a nice Christmas-y feeling!