Thursday, May 13, 2010

I'm so glad we had this time together...

When I was growing up, Saturday night on CBS was the television watcher's dream: Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart and the sublime Carol Burnett. My first year in the dorm at the U of M, my neighbors across the hall would pop popcorn and I'd carry my portable TV to their room and we would watch Carol Burnett. And laugh. And laugh. And laugh.

I've just started reading Carol Burnett's This time together: laughter and reflection and it is delightful. I flew through 41 pages over a cheese pizza sandwich at Carbones (if you live in the West St. Paul area, stop in at Carbones and try one--yum, yum) and she is wonderful company!

Not a memoir in the strictest sense, it is a series of memories, vignettes, tributes to her friends--the book starts with her much-loved favorite actor Jimmy Stewart. Can you imagine having Jimmy Stewart in your living room, standing by the piano and singing? I know just how she must have felt.

If you, too, have happy memories of Saturday nights in front of the TV, spend some weekday nights with your nose in this book.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

a lo-o-o-o-ong wait wasted

Once you've read a book that nestles in a corner of your heart, you want to read everything new by the author of that book. I absolutely adored Yann Martel's The life of Pi. Pi is one of the most appealing and endearing characters I've ever met in a book.

This week, Martel's new book appeared on my desk. The anticipation started to build in my little reader's heart. I started the book on Thursday. I read the first several pages. Nothing. I read up to page 45 and still nothing. I returned the book. Nothing happened in those first 45 pages. Nothing. No action in the book, no involvement for me the reader. Blah.

Today, I read a few reviews and they panned the book. I'm still very disappointed. Let's hope Martel's next book is a stunner.

(Don't be shocked that I didn't finish the book. I often don't because I know there are wonderful books out there, waiting for me to spend happy hours reading. I was at a memoir workshop this week and the presenter said the "rule" for readers over 50 (yes, that's me!) is: subtract your age from 100, the remainder is the recommended number of pages you should read before abandoning a book. So there.)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Kevin, I wish I'd known you

Many years ago, I was in high school in Osseo, Minnesota. I have a vague memory of a tiny boy with big glasses and an arm that was much shorter than the other, a member of the AV Club and I always see him pushing an AV cart through the dusty halls of Osseo High. Flash forward to the 1990s and I see the name Kevin Kling mentioned in the newspapers as an actor/playwright taking his play "21A" on tour across the U.S. Could that Kevin Kling be the same guy forever pushing AV carts around in my memory? Yes, it could.

Flash forward to 2009 and the book "The dog says how" which I had to request for oh-so-many people that I finally decided to read it myself. I just about died laughing. Kevin has an unusual take on the world: part philosopher, part humorist and entirely open and honest. It was such fun to read a book and know some of the places and people described.

Last week, I read Kevin Kling's Holiday Inn and found myself laughing, crying, pondering and absolutely enjoying every word. How could I resist tales of the church Christmas program "Disasters of the Bible" put on by the teens with a Moog synthesizer and the church organist? Or Otto the man with the locking knee who drove 30 mph/90 mph/30 mph/90 mph, depending on when his knee locked? Or Kevin's memories of his first love (my jaw hit the ground on who she was--a friend of mine from Drama Club)? I wished with all my might that I really and truly knew this person with the wonderful way with words.

In August, Kevin is appearing in the Club Book series sponsored by the MELSA system--he'll be at Maplewood Library on Thursday, August 26 at 7:00 p.m. I'll be there--maybe I could sing the Osseo fight song (We'll sing a song, both loud and long to cheer our team to victory...) to catch his attention. Please join me...I'll be the one laughing and crying and grinning like a fool.

(the orange and black is in honor of the Osseo Orioles...)