Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Thoughts

On what's turned out to be a restful day, I managed to get out to the Woodland's Barnes and Noble this morning for a couple of hours.  I did a lot of browsing, even carried several books around with me before finally returning them to the shelves, but bought nothing.  I have to work through the dozens of books I have stacked up at home before bringing new ones into the mix.  It is going to take something really exceptional to get me to spring for it right now...yeah, right.

That's not to say I wasn't tempted by All Clear (Connie Wills), a new time travel/historical fiction mix that is getting good reviews; In the Garden of Beasts (Eric Larson), nonfiction about an American family caught in Germany just when it gets dangerous because of Hitler's rise; Doc (Mary Dorian Russell), a novel about Doc Holliday that I've seen reviewed positively by several other bloggers; 2030 (Albert Brooks), a novel of the future by one of my favorite actor/writers; and The German Mujadid (Boualem Sansal), a novel set in Algeria just as Muslim fundamentalism rears its ugly head.  They are all new books except for the Algerian one which was published in 2008.  I spent the largest part of a decade working in and around Algeria, so I am always on the lookout for current fiction from there.  Sometimes, I think, there is more truth in well written fiction than there is in politically correct nonfiction.

I plan to finish Michael Chabon's Manhood for Amateurs today and will have my thoughts about it posted later this week.  That one has pleasantly surprised me, and I'm enjoying it a whole lot more than anticipated.  It's more than a bunch of essays grouped by subject; it's a nice, informal, autobiography written in a format that Chabon masters here.

The Barnes and Noble crowd seemed pretty average today.  I did not go down the street to check on what things are like at the nearby Borders store, but the big "sale" does not seem to be much affecting B&N - at least for now.  Of course, these bankruptcy sales are generally a ripoff until very near the end, and sometimes even all the way to the end.  For instance, Circuit City proved to me that an entire bankruptcy liquidation can go by without any real bargains ever showing up for retail customers.

No baseball on television today - which is just as well since the Astros continue to have a liquidation sale of their own.  In the past week, the team has liquidated its three best offensive players (Bourne, Pence, and Keppinger) as new ownership seems to have given up on putting a legitimate team on the field for at least the next two or three seasons.  We have received 10 "prospects" in return for the three players.  Suddenly, the team has no face; it is pretty much a bunch of kids and worn out veterans with nothing much between.  The next two years will see the team get younger and younger and Houston fans will be asked to pay major league prices to watch a Double-A team get wiped out by legitimately-managed franchises.  This is Houston's 50th major league baseball season - and I have lived and died with the team in all 50.  This is the worst it has ever been for a Houston baseball fan.

The silver lining of that black cloud is that I'll probably have more reading time now that we don't have a major league team.  I'll have the radio broadcasts on in the background but I'm done going to the ballpark until ownership puts a real team in it again.


  1. I liked "Blackout," the first half of the "Blackout/All Clear" duo, but I only made it 1/4 through All Clear. The tone of the book changed and it just got boring.

  2. I'll keep that in mind, Factotum. Frankly, I didn't realize this was book two of a pair. Thanks for the heads up.