In Which--No, Really, Shut Up, Bob Costas!

17 August 2004

Last night I sat and watched the Olympics. I read the end of Shadow and a little more of Quicksilver, but mostly I watched the Olympics and snarked at the announcers with Mark and Timprov and C.J. And at the commercials. We were very silly. I giggled a lot. I played a couple of games of solitaire (with actual cards).

Given that I had run errands in the afternoon and that I have plans to have coffee with Stella and probably run more errands this afternoon; given that I am devoting two full days to wedding stuff this week, at the very least, and most likely will call down to Hastings to see if Michelle needs anything else; given that the best way of dealing with being spooked by a story is to write the damn thing...I probably should have been working and not watching the Olympics.

But I can't really muster guilt about it. How often do I sit down and spend the evening just watching TV? Umm...I must have done at some point. When I was sick doesn't count, either. Probably during the last Olympics. Oh wait, we watched Katherine Hepburn and Futurama on Valentine's Day, and I only read a little bit during that. Mostly I am incapable of just watching TV. So when I do it every once in awhile, it doesn't seem like a very big thing. It seems like it's maybe all right.

Anyway, I figured out how to do Chapter 29 about halfway through the broadcast, so rah for that. This brain, it's a very silly brain. Very hard to predict what's going to make the penny drop, and the silly thing seems to be stuffed with pennies.

Here's what bothered me about Shadow: the premise. In some ways it was very well-handled, but ultimately when you have amnesia as a central premise of a nearly-600-page novel, I think you have a problem. Either the amnesia is a transparent authorial device for worldbuilding and exposition and disappears when it becomes inconvenient -- which Parker did not do, thank goodness -- or it brings about a certain detachment. You're my long-lost best friend? Oh. Well, I guess I'm overjoyed to see you, then...yes, watch me be overjoyed...ish...maybe. And that detachment spread to me very quickly. It was one of those cases where Parker's virtues were better than the corresponding flaws would have been, but they were still themselves the thing that put me off a bit.

It's a scary thing, looking at novels that couldn't have been done better but still bother me a bit. Inherently flawed novels. Yikes. Spooky.

I think I'm thinking too much about finishing this book and not enough about finishing this book.

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