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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The two books Iím currently reading couldnít be more different, but they represent, each in its own way, what I hope to get out of reading. In other words, one is simple and sentimental, while the other is challenging and intense. I donít always want to be challenged by what I read, but I also donít want every book to be undemanding and straightforward.

The thing is, Iím enjoying both of these recent novels just about equally. One will take me longer to finish, but the other kept me reading straight through from beginning to end. (I actually just finished it this afternoon.) I like the way emotions are laid out on the page in this kind of book, but I also like how feelings are explored in more depth in the other kind.

Itís a good thing both kinds exist, I suppose.

Ordinarily I expect movies to challenge me more than television shows. When Iím watching TV in the evenings, most of the time Iím happy with the one-hour dramas that the medium provides. Maybe itís because there are so few shows with the complexity and ambiguity of Lost (or, in an earlier time, The Prisoner) that Iím so easily satisfied. Or maybe the sameness that runs through so much of television makes those shows stand out.

Either way, Iím frankly just as happy to watch a well-edited reality show as I am to watch a layered, stimulating drama. And I say that with all due apologies to writers, actors and others.

23 March 2005

Looking up.

The kind of challenge I expect from a movie is a little like what I expect from my job. I donít want it to be so easy itís boring, but I donít really want to have to work all that hard at it. I donít mind if itís a little like a crossword puzzle, where you know there are going to be answers, even if itís not clear right away what they are. Every time I attempt the impossible, at work or at the movies, Iím disappointed. So mostly I donít bother.

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The two books, by the way, are The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth, and The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom. Can you think of two more disparate reading experiences? And yet, both are worthwhile, at least in my universe.

Recent recommendations used to be found on the links page.

One year ago: Spicy
"Maybe it'll work out, as Peter Marshall used to say when a contestant picked the wrong square."

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