Tuesday, August 31, 2010


This morning has been one of those days where things just seem to work out or be fun. I had to go to the bank and run some errands. I went and processed a bunch of billls...you hate paying them right, but doesn't it feel good once they are paid? I had a great feeling of elation this morning after depositing some cheques and then paying off some bills. I came across a small outdoor market and got some heirloom tomatoes from a local organic farm. Heavenly choirs aloft. And I decided to impulsively pop into the library where I got some stuff written about Antony And Cleopatra as one of my bookclubs is just heading into Act 4. I got a couple of great books, a compendium of academic criticsm edited by Harold Bloom. I've read it before, about 10 years ago, but it's all about Antony and Cleopatra so I thought it would be fun again. And just to keep up an image of being a pretentious git I saw an Umberto Eco book on language. There ya go fancypants. At my local library the staff has arranged a bunch of new releases. I hate this part. I always am waiting in line to check out my books and land up finding one or two other books in this recent release section. So I got a book about the art of conversation. I am quite famous for putting my foot in my mouth and having opinions that piss people off...ha ha ha, so I thought I will do some homework and try to improve my conversation skills. One of my greatest pleasures in life is spending time with my friends and shooting the shit, so I look forward to reading this book. Here is the cover which caught my eye...and when I got home I found this quick review at Amazon...Oh and I also stopped for a bowl of soup to look at these books. Then i went to the grocery store picked up a few things, some cabbage, some yoghurt, some onions, some fruit, and some fem hy. I managed to avoid chocolate. Sugar gives you cramps ladies. What resolve because of course, I am craving chocolate. The heat wave has returned so maybe I won't even need a hotwater bottle this month, ha! How's that for squeezing lemons into lemonade take that Pollyanna! And now you know my whole life story.

From Publishers Weekly
A fiction writer and former editor at the New Yorker and Random House, Menaker (The Treatment) regards conversation as a human art of great importance produced by all people everywhere. His witty approach is evident almost immediately, as he speculates on the creation of human language, moving on to the general rules of conversation, London coffeehouses as a forum for ideas, greetings, and name-droppers: They wrap the pig of name-dropping in a blanket of casualness, or even criticalness, and seem to actually believe you won't taste the inner wiener. At the book's core is a conversation between Menaker and an anonymous female writer. Taped in a Brooklyn restaurant, this lengthy transcript is analyzed in detail to show how the participants take risks, seek a common ground, interject humor, and discover perceptive insights about each other. Interview tactics and prepared remarks are covered, along with e-mail embarrassments, dating stratagems, sarcastic barbs, compliments, and interruptions. However, what makes a lasting impression is the parade of anecdotes about life in the corridors of the New Yorker and Random House, leaving the reader yearning for a full-scale Menaker memoir. (Jan.)

p.s. the shopping bag in above picture with a "murder of crows" is orange leather and a wonderful gift from my sister. Shout out.She gave my daughter one in green leather. Kewl!


mister anchovy said...

It seems that I am unable to ever finish reading a book by Umberto Eco. Oh, I've tried. I've had the best intentions. I may have even reached the halfway point in one of them before abandoning it. One in particular I've taken three shots at. I did this only because I can be stubborn from time to time, not because I think I was wrong about the book. I understand that many people love and respect his books, and I leave it to them to suffer through all of them, so I don't have to.

Furtheron said...

conversation!!! What is that? I have to tell my kids dinner is on the table via a social networking site these days :-)

Candy Minx said...

Mr. A, I am not a fan of Eco either and no one was more surprised than me that I picked up this book. I took a look at it yesterday while eating my soup and went. "meh". Yawn. So I don't know if I'll make it. I did however read all of "The Name of the Rose" and I prefered the lowbrow "Holy blood and Holy Grial" more. In fact, "The Da Vinci code was way more fun that Eco's book. And I read all of "Foucaul'ts Pendulum"...but that is because I have way more willpower and sheer charismatic resolve than you, and I am gullible to any rumours in publishing that a fancypants writer might be something I should read. In this case, your cynicism has served you well ha ha! My gung-ho-ness has failed me. As for "Foucault's Pendulum" I thought it was a rip off of the brilliant "Crying of Lot 49" by Pynchon, and Pynchon's book was 1/5th the size and a hundred times better. But I do look very sophisticated carrying around an Eco book at a coffee shop. heh heh.

Furtheron, I must tell you again how much I enjoy your blog and I am so pleased to "meet" you. My daughter read this post yesterday and she texted me I just feel guilty because I had put my foot in my mouth with her yesterday. I told her actually, according to this book I already have the three major qualities of a good conversationalist ...the author says it takes "curiousity, humour and impudence". My daughter said, don't worry you've got impudence down pat. What are we to do about young people and their obsession with gadgets. I don't know...bribery always worked for me. I was not above bribing my kid to go out for dinner with me and talk. Sometimes heading to a cafe with a kid frees up both caregiver from preparing the meal, and allows the kid to get total undivided attention from a parent. That is all kids want...a little secret I'm sharing with you. It looks like they hate us, but they really want us to totally overwhelm them with paying attention to them. (but not in front of witnesses, like their friends) heh heh.

tiff said...

ha! ha! ha! ha!

"you are too grumpy, we are going for dinner and to a movie, because you are grumpy you don't get to choose the movie."

Candy Minx said...

Hey,What can I say.... I was a strict parent my darling daughter, too bad for you......ha ha ha!

Furtheron said...

LOL!!!! Glad to see my family life isn't as unique as I sometimes think :-)

Gardenia said...

The bag was the first thing I noticed - I have a fetish for birds - esp. black ones. :)

Your sister has impeccable taste!

I need the conversation book. Once I know someone I have no problem - the beginning is rough.

tiff said...


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