In Which Our Heroine Doubts the Beach Boys

12 September 2005

Yesterday afternoon we had the happiest dog: all three of her household monkeys were sitting in the same room at the same time. Two of them on the couch together. (Acceptable monkeys on the couch together is something Ista approves of very much, especially if they leave her space to join them.) And Timprov was in his chair, where she can walk under his hand and get petted more or less whenever she likes. So that was really good from her perspective, and Timprov had Bradley Denton's Laughin' Boy, and Mark had Lois McMaster Bujold's A Civil Campaign, and I had...Andrejs Plakans's The Latvians: A Short History. Umm. Something wrong with this picture. So I went and got Sarah Monette's Mélusine, which I bought just last week with one of my birthday gift certificates. Muuuuuch better.

Not that there was anything wrong with The Latvians, mind you, but I was reading it to know more about Latvia, not really out of any joy in the book itself. It was a means, and Mélusine was an end in itself, and I want the sequel, oh, approximately yesterday.

Some people I know say that they won't talk publicly about books written by friends of theirs, and I can respect that as one place to draw the line. Considering how sociable fandom is, though, it seems like I would have to resort to bingeing on Trollope in order to be allowed to talk about anything at all, after another couple of years. Others have said they won't talk about anything they critiqued. I can sympathize with that point of view, too, and I certainly won't go around saying, "X is in there because I told her it needed to be" or "I said he should fix Y, and don't blame me if it's not." That's tacky. But there are some things I've read in draft form and will really want to squeal about if they come out in published form, and I think that's okay.

I won't lie about a friend's book. I will not say, "It is so great! These characters are so vivid and this setting awesome!" if I really feel that they're not. I won't encourage anyone to buy books if I like the author but not the book. (This also goes for jewelry, paintings, hand-carved boot-scrapers, etc.) But I don't want to keep my mouth shut about books I really like, no matter how much I like their authors.

(I didn't have anything to do with Mélusine until I bought it last week, for the record, but I hang out with Sarah when I get the chance.)

Totally unrelated to that: am I the only one who suspected that She did not have nearly so much Fun Fun Fun after Daddy Took the T-Bird Away, promises from Wilson brothers and Mike Love notwithstanding? (And Al Jardine, the Diamond Lake of the Beach Boys, for heaven's sake; Al Jardine in the backseat going, "you shouldn't have lied now, you shouldn't have lied" is not going to make any expedition more fun fun fun.) Even as a kid, I found the last bit of that song unconvincing: pshaw, yeah, right, she's gonna have a great time in the passenger's seat with you while you run your errands, dude. "We've got a lot of things to do now"? Picking up your mom's dry-cleaning is so not in the same ballpark with tooling around at top speeds by herself in the T-Bird, you moralizing opportunistic loser.

I was inspired, after thinking about that song for a day or two as a preschooler, to ask my mother exactly how fast Roman chariot races went. Just out of the blue. She rolled with it; she always rolled with it. Gave me an estimate of top horse speeds compared to how fast our car went on various roads. I knew the song meant that She drove much faster than the Indy 500, but it was important to me how much faster she was driving: could she fly, at that speed? Could she go shooting off into space? It seemed important.

I was also unclear as to how one walked like an ace, but I was pretty determined to figure it out and try it.

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