Monday, October 10, 2011

Driving to San Antonio

These last three days have gotten away from me to the point that this is the first chance I've had even to check in since last Friday.  My father was hospitalized until Sunday and all my free time has been spent on keeping an eye on that situation.  Thankfully, he is now back home where he will complete his recovery.  I will be in San Antonio all week (a four-hour drive from Houston) and I spent all morning getting myself here in time for afternoon meetings and a business dinner.  Instead of hitting the bar for another few hours I've decided to call it a night - it's all about pacing and endurance, after all.

On the way up, I finished listening to/reading This Book Will Save Your Life, by A.M. Homes, a literary novel I really enjoyed right up until its rather ambiguous ending.  Maybe its just me, but I absolutely hate endings that leave the main character in physical jeopardy right through the book's final sentence.  Why do I have to decide if the character lived or died?  What point is the author trying to make by ending a book this way?  Is it as pretentious a device as I always feel that it is?  Fair or not, I will be hard pressed to rate this one higher than a 3 when it had a very solid four right up to its last paragraph.

I also listened to a two-hour audio version of Stephen King's Ur, a 2009 King novella written for the exclusive use of Kindle owners.  While the thing does at times sound more like a Kindle commercial than a piece of fiction, I had a great time imagining what it would be like to actually own something like the special pink Kindle the story's young professor received.  That pink gizmo allows the prof to check out over 10 million alternate universes in which all the great writers in our world might very well have continued to write long after we thought they were dead.  Imagine any of your favorite authors, but especially those whose lifetime of work you finished reading long ago.  Now, imagine a device that gives access to dozens of new novels those same authors wrote in alternate universes - because they lived longer in those, or perhaps started writing earlier, etc.

What would you pay for that?  Could you resist doing nothing but reading for the rest of your life?  It's a great idea, and I wish that King had stayed with that one plot line.  Unfortunately, he didn't, and the rest of the story is a lot more humdrum and predictable.  Oh well; it was still a fun way to kill almost exactly half of my drive time to San Antonio.


  1. I hope your dad recovers quickly. I liked that drive between Houston and San Antonio, at least once I was out of Houston (which took an hour 25 years ago and probably takes longer now). One time, a college friend and I went to my mom and dad's (in San Antonio) for the weekend and decided to stop at every single Dairy Queen on the way.

    There are 14 DQs between Houston and San Antonio. We ate a lot.

  2. Thanks, Ms. Factotum. He's doing much better; big problem now is getting over an eye infection he picked up while in the hospital. That has turned into a huge problem for him.

    The drive from Houston to San Antonio is still a relatively nice one if you don't get caught up in afternoon rush hour traffic. Getting past Katy during rush hour is a nightmare these days - even with the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on road construction during the last decade or so.

    14 DQs has to be some kind of record...don't seem to be nearly that many these days. We had a private dinner at Sea World last night...spooky to be in that huge facility with only 70 other people, but fun.