Thursday, 2 September 2010

Okay, so... The Great Big Summer Reading List, discovering Anderson Cooper, and re-discovering Star Trek

I've been absent for MONTHS. I wish I had a good excuse, but really the biggest reason is that I've had nothing much to say. I'm not saying that I have anything particularly interesting to say NOW, just that so many things have been swimming through my head lately, and I need to get a few of them out somewhere, so I may be turning to this blog again.

Mostly I've been reading a lot, which is fantastic (since I've had no luck doing any writing). In any case, a few words on my recent favourite.

One day a few weeks ago, I was walking home from the grocery store when I saw a box of books outside my local charity shop: paperbacks 25 cents each. I am not sure how anyone can resist 25 cent anything, let alone 25 cent BOOKS. And what was right on top? A book called 'Dispatches from the Edge' with Anderson Cooper's ever-handsome photo. It's as though it was right there waiting for me, specifically, to walk by and make it mine. Sometimes, kismet happens.

I have this thing for war correspondents, and the books they write. They're generally pretty amazing books, and they invariably make me want to catch the next flight to the worst war-zone I can find... (My all-time favourite is a book by Chris Hedges called 'War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning'. EXCELLENT BOOK.) I know that Anderson Cooper isn't technically a war correspondent, but his book is no different than those other memoirs I find so compelling.

The book was a heck of a lot more personal than I thought it would be, and then not in the ways I thought it might be. If you can find it, please read it. It's an easy read, and well worth the couple of hours it will take.

It's funny though, because I've never been much of a Anderson Cooper fan. In fact, when I bought the book, I'd never actually watched his show. I've long known who he is, obviously, since I've seen him on CNN during American election coverage ever since I started watching US election coverage on CNN (turns out he was hired right around the time Bush started bombing Iraq and I started watching CNN out of sheer morbid curiosity and because, being in New York in March of 2003, CNN was the sane alternative to Fox 5's Right-Wing-Terror-Apocalypse-Fear-Mongering-Bullshit). The fact that I don't watch ANY of CNN's programming is probably somewhat more indicative of why I've never watched Anderson Cooper 360, but Anderson's book got me curious.

I hit up the CNN website a few days ago and found the podcasts of his show. I've got to admit, I'm kind of a fan. Ever since I re-enrolled in classes for the fall, I've been trying to find a way to make myself watch 'the news' again. Most of the time, news programming makes me alternately shut down or verbally assault the television... and yet now it seems I have found a show I can watch without tuning out or lashing out. Yay!

'Dispatches' is not the only book I read this summer. The top ten list includes Peter Gzowski's book 'The Game of Our Lives' (about the Oilers and Gretzky in the VERY early 80s, before they won the Cup); 'A Problem From Hell', Samantha Powers' incredible book on genocide as well as her biography of Sergio Vieira De Mello which is called, simply, 'Sergio'; 'This Side of Paradise' by F. Scott Fitzgerald; 'Erewhon' by Samuel Butler; and Leonard Nimoy's memoir, 'I Am Spock.'

The last one I blame on my lovely friend Ali, whose unexpected love of last summer's Star Trek movie finally convinced me to rent it, and then brought back memories of being 12 and wracked with insomnia and curling up a foot and a half from my family's 13" television at 3 a.m. with the sound really low when they played the original Star Trek series. I watched them all out of order, and I can't, for the life of me, remember a single plot. My main memories were thinking that Spock was a lot like my math teacher and the production value of the show was SO sixties. But seeing Leonard Nimoy in the newest Star Trek moved me (COMPLETELY UNEXPECTEDLY) to nostalgic tears. Two days later, I saw 'I Am Spock' at a charity shop for 6$. Again with the kismet...

Overall, this summer can be summarized thus: 60 days off, 13 days of work, 33 books read, one news anchor discovered, and one old show re-discovered. Not too shabby...

Hopefully, this semester will be as good (albeit with a LOT less days off!).


Lauren said...

1. I'm fairly certain I've seen just about every episode of every Star Trek series. My dad has been an avid fan and that's what he was always watching when I was little.
2. The Star Trek movie = awesome. And Chris Pine is pretty easy on the eyes as well - bonus.
3. I <3 Anderson Cooper. I don't really watch anyone else on CNN unless the story is particularly rivoting (I am usually sucked into watching every second of mine disaster coverage - I am both fascinated and terrified by coal mines and the people crazy/brave enough to climb down into them).

Susan said...

Joeceff and I love Star Trek and we were so happy the the latest Star Trek movie got it right!
I'm so glad to see that you are back. Don't worry about having nothing to say, even your "nothing" is better than most!

mer said...

!!! I've missed this...