Saturday, November 1, 2014

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Gone Girl

Gone Girl opened in theaters yesterday, so while I was looking for a good weekend movie, I watched the trailer. Even though I've read the book and know what happens, the trailer still gave me the creeps. It took me two days to read the book (last summer) and I didn't like it. The thing about it was that I thought the writing was good, but I couldn't stand the characters. It's difficult for me to like a book if I don't like even one of the characters. By the end I was hoping an asteroid would hit and take them all out. That would have been a satisfying ending to me.

It's too bad because Gillian Flynn seems like a cool person. I like that she adapted her own book into the screenplay for the movie. But I won't be watching it; the book was enough of Nick and Amy Dunne for me. I've read that Flynn's other books are just as dark, if not darker. I can handle dark, to a certain point, but I need at least one character with at least one redeeming feature to have any hope of liking a book. If, by the end of a book, I'm fantasizing about rewriting the ending to include another ice age to kill off all the characters, that's not a good sign.

I heard an interview with Flynn on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me and she shared this anecdote, which I thought was funny: "My best friend from childhood was out having dinner and the woman next to her was reading 'Gone Girl.' And so she said, you know, how are you liking the book. And the woman said - slam. Well, have you read it? You know, I just - all I know is that there is something wrong with the lady who wrote this."

Monday, September 22, 2014

Banned Books Week

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that yesterday was the start of Banned Books Week. From Columbus State Library comes this fun little quiz, "Which Banned Book Are You?"

My quiz result was Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, by Marjane Satrapi. "You know that you would be able to right all wrongs in the world if only you were a prophet. In public, you must obey the rules, but in the safety of your home, you can embrace your rebellious side. Sometimes you feel trapped between the traditions of the past and a more modern future."

I can happily say that I've read Persepolis, but there are books on the challenged list that I still need to read, such as Catch-22, by Joseph Heller. So many books, and never enough time!

Friday, September 19, 2014


More than a year has passed since I last posted. The truth is that it's been so long I considered creating a new blog to start fresh. This neglected blog has had many fits and starts. But that's how life goes sometimes.

I thought about writing umpteen times, but I felt like I couldn't write about law school because this isn't an anonymous blog. So I didn't. And that's the way it's going to stay. I survived my first year and I just finished week four of my second year. In the meantime, there are plenty of other interesting things to write about.

So what it boils down to is this: I'm still here. I'll be posting sporadically, with a goal of once a week.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Book review: The Grail

The subtitle of The Grail, by Brian Doyle, "A year ambling & shambling through an Oregon vineyard in pursuit of the best pinot noir wine in the whole wild world," sums up the book in so many perfect ways.

It gives the reader an overview of what they are about to experience (and I say experience rather than read, because it really is an experience) and it captures Doyle's writing style so well.

Doyle is the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland. I think the best way to describe how he writes in this book is to say he writes like people talk, in incredibly long sentences, sometimes with a mile between periods on the page. He also doesn't use quotation marks. It's not for everyone. Once when I saw Doyle speak at a library event he said people have written to him to tell him the rules of writing or suggest edits.

The Grail is about Doyle spending a year at Lange Winery where he follows the season of growing grapes and making wine. He spends a lot of time with the Lange family, especially Jesse Lange, the son of the winery's founder Don Lange.

Each chapter is almost its own vignette, a piece of the winery or the history of wine making. As Doyle describes it, they are stories. He breaks down the making of wine into perfectly digestible, understandable bites of literature.

Page 7: "...I conceded something which I have lately conceded a lot, which is that I really only understand little stories, my brain only sparks to life when little stories are fed into it like berries into babies, so one day I said to Jesse, Hey, do me a favor, just tell me little stories, lay out the whole year for me in about five minutes, a sketch of what really happens, a year in the life of the vineyard?"

I found The Grail so enchanting because of the stories. Also, the wonderful illustrations by Mary Miller Doyle, the author's wife. I feel like I learned so much about wine, especially pinot noir, but it was such an entertaining journey. I also enjoyed it so much because it takes place in Oregon, and I lived in McMinnville for two years, which is very near Dundee, and the red clay hills where the world-renowned pinot noir wines come from.

Even if you're not a wine drinker, the story is fascinating. The book is from 2006 so I wondered about how business had fared during the rocky economy. When I finished reading I found Lange Estate Winery online and am happy to say that the family is still making wine.

Overall The Grail is a delightful read, and one that went really quickly too.

I'll leave you with a quote from Gabriel, the (then) manager of the tasting room on page 76: "Making wine is farming, and farming is hard. But the product of the farm is fascinating because ultimately wine is about people eating and talking and laughing and telling stories."