Saturday, July 25, 2009

We've Got A Bigger Problem Now

Overheard last night: a woman talking about a friend of hers, who apparently didn't understand that to get maximum efficiency out of birth control pills, you need to be taking them regularly before you get pregnant. America's in trouble.

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#52 -- "The Solitaire Mystery" by Jostein Gaardner

#53 -- "The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick" by Peter Handke

I picked up "The Solitaire Mystery" to see if I wanted to keep it around -- I read it in 1998 or so -- and intending to just skim a few pages, I ended up halfway through the book before I looked up. It's not so much engrossing as just easy and rather pleasant. It's more aimed at young adults, but what the hell, I like the mix of fantasy, reality, and beat-you-over-the-head metaphors. It's a fun read.

One quibble: way back when I read horror novels, I couldn't stand Dean R. Koontz books in part because of his insistence on including an overly precocious/wise-beyond-his-years child in every one (except for one that had an overly precocious/wise-beyond-his-years dog). The kid in this book would fit in to a Koontz novel pretty easily.

"Goalie" was recommended to me by the much-missed Vak Fan, and geez it's grim. If Camus wrote a soccer goalie into "The Stranger," you'd more or less have this. It's an impressive achievement in its unflinching look at everything that's crappy about humans, but I can't say I exactly enjoyed the experience. I kinda needed a hug after this one.

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