January 2010


January has been a rough start to the new year. Thomas came down with a very persistent stomach bug part way though the month. Initially it seemed like it was only going to last a day or two, but it came back and lasted the better part of a week. Just as he was finally recovered sufficiently to go back to school, Veronica came down with the same bug. Fortunately she was only home from work for two days, but those two days put her really far behind on a few key projects. Thomas definitely regressed a bit from missing the structure of his school schedule. He’s needed a lot of reminding about rules in the first week since he’s been back, but seems to be getting back on track quickly. A bigger issue is him fixating on everybody being sick. If anyone leaves the room or is out, he constantly asks if they are sick. He has also started saying he needs to throw up when he doesn’t. We need to read “the boy who cried ‘wolf'” and hope that he understands the concept.

The weather has been horribly cold the last few days. It’s been a striking contrast to earlier in the week when we had a brief thaw.

Erik continues to be very happy to be at the Brookline Booksmith, especially in light of recent changes at Borders, both at the corporate and local levels.

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  • Revolutionary Road

    The 1st Edition cover of Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road (1961)

  • Author:  Richard Yates  (1926-1992)
  • Rank:  #96
  • Published:  1961
  • Publisher:  Little, Brown & Co.
  • Pages:  336  (Vintage Contemporary paperback)
  • First Line:  “The final dying sounds of their dress rehearsal left the Laurel Players with nothing to do but stand there, silent and helpless, blinking out over the footlights of an empty auditorium.”
  • Last Lines:  “But from there on Howard Givings heard only a welcome, thunderous sea of silence.  He had turned off his hearing aid.”
  • ML Edition:  none
  • Film:  2008  –  **** #4 of the year  (dir. Sam Mendes)
  • Acclaim:  National Book Award Finalist,  ALL-TIME list
  • Read:  November, 2008 (more…)

My Top 10:

One of the most quoted scenes of all-time: "I coulda been a contender"; Rod Steiger and Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront (1954)

  1. On the Waterfront
  2. Rear Window
  3. A Star is Born
  4. Forbidden Games
  5. Sabrina
  6. Gate of Hell
  7. The Caine Mutiny
  8. Hobson’s Choice
  9. The Country Girl
  10. The Earrings of Madame De . . . (more…)
  • Love in the Time of Cholera (El amor en los tiempos del cólera)

    The 1st U.S. Edition of Love in the Time of Cholera (1988) by Gabriel García Márquez

  • Author:  Gabriel García Márquez  (b. 1927)
  • Rank:  97
  • Published:  1985  /  1988 (English translation)
  • Publisher:  Editorial Oveja Negra  (Colombia) / Alfred A. Knopf  (U.S.)
  • Pages:  348  (U.S. 1st Edition)
  • First Line:  “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”
  • Last Lines:  ” ‘And how long do you think we can keep up this goddamn coming and going?’ he asked.  Florentino Ariza had kept his answer ready for fifty-three years, seven months, and eleven days and nights.  ‘Forever,’ he said.”
  • ML Edition:  none
  • Film:  2007 – **.5  (dir. Michael Newell)
  • Read:  Spring, 2000 (more…)

My Top 10:

The iconic scene of Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in the surf in From Here to Eternity (1953)

  1. From Here to Eternity
  2. The Big Heat
  3. Stalag 17
  4. Pickup on South Street
  5. Roman Holiday
  6. The Moon is Blue
  7. The Actress
  8. The Naked Spur
  9. Captain’s Paradise
  10. Peter Pan (more…)

Go Tell It on the Mountain

the first edition dust jacket of Go Tell it On the Mountain (1953)

  • Author:  James Baldwin  (1924-1987)
  • Rank:  98
  • Published:  1953
  • Publisher:  Laurel
  • Pages:  221  (Laurel paperback)
  • First Line:  “Everyone had always said that John would be a preacher when he grew up, just like his father.”
  • Last Lines:  ” ‘I’m ready,’ John said, ‘I’m coming.  I’m on the way.’ “
  • ML Edition:  Gold hardcover
  • Film:  1984  (TV film, dir. Stan Lathan)
  • Acclaim:  Modern Library Top 100 Novels (#39), Time ALL-TIME list
  • Read:  Summer, 1998 (more…)

The French Lieutenant’s Woman

John Fowles post-modern classic: The French Lieutenant's Woman (1969)

  • Author:  John Fowles  (1926-2005)
  • Rank:  #99
  • Published:  1969
  • Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company
  • Pages:  366  (Signet paperback)
  • First Line:  “An easterly is the most disagreeable wind in Lyme Bay – Lyme Bay being that largest bite from the underside of England’s outstretched southwestern leg – and a person of curiosity could at once have deduced several strong probabilities about the pair who began to walk down the quay at Lyme Regis, the small but ancient eponym of the inbite, one incisively sharp and blustering morning in the late March of 1867.”
  • Last Lines:  “He walks towards an imminent, self-given death?  I think not; for he has at last found an atom of faith in himself, a true uniqueness, on which to build; has already begun, though he would still bitterly deny it, though there are tears in his eyes to support his denial, to realize that life, however advantageously Sarah may in some ways seem to fit the role of Sphinx, is not a symbol, is not one riddle and one failure to guess it, is not to inhabit one face alone or to be given up after one losing throw of the dice; but is to be, however inadequately, emptily, hopelessly into the city’s iron heart, endured.  And out again, upon the unplumb’d, salt, estranging sea.”
  • ML edition:  None
  • Film:  1981 – ***.5  (dir. Karel Reisz)
  • Acclaim:  Time All-Time List
  • Read:  Spring, 1998 (more…)

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