June 8, 2011

Last week my Book Group read Muriel Barbery’s Elegance of the Hedgehog. I’d been afraid it would be one of those things where intellectual banter (or its very irrelevance) was the whole point, but in fact it turned out to be a remarkably (even shockingly) moving book about characters with very real lives. Of course the narrators could only be French, and their new neighbor Ozu who brings them together could only be a Japanese as seen by the French… Now I’ve got hold of the author’s previous novel, Une gourmandise (yes, this time I’m going to try to tackle it in French before looking at the translation Gourmet Rhapsody).

While on the subject of France, I went and saw the new Woody Allen movie Midnight in Paris, and found it just as delightful as did most of the reviewers I’ve read. The hero (played by Owen Wilson) is an American writer tired of doing successful Hollywood scripts and determined to try his hand at “real literature.” He is also madly in love with Paris and especially Paris as it’s supposed to have been in the 1920s, with Hemingway and Stein and the like. So he stumbles on a way to go back… Some of it is pretty obvious: the historical characters mostly say the sort of thing you’d expect them to say, and a couple of plot turns could be seen well ahead of time. (When a private detective is introduced, Blake Edwards fans can be sure that something bad is going to happen to him – in a funny way, of course.) All very entertaining, and sitll manages to make a valid point or two about life.

My Bible reading project is proceeding more or less on schedule; I’m on target to finish by the end of summer. Just finished the first book of Samuel. I love going through all the unedifying parts of the Old Testament that most Christians never hear about; it certainly gives a sense of perspective. More on this in a day or two.





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