Friday, October 4, 2013

The Farmlands and Dusty Towns Next to the Sea

   Here are more 'on the road' pictures from my California trip. They were taken in the car between the bay area and the central coast. There is so much farmland in California and it is fun to drive past the farms and to wonder what is growing in them. We drove past a couple of fruit and veggie stands and I saw a sign for grapefruit, ten for one dollar! I was amazed at that incredible price. But then I saw and even more amazing deal, avocado, ten for one dollar! I wish I could go to the fruit stand and buy ten avocados for only a buck. I would have avocados on everything.

    I recently listened to a good audio book called 'The Night Circus' by Erin Morgenstern. This is one of those books that seemed to garner much hoopla when it first came out When I heard about it, I wanted to read it because I love romanticized versions of circus's and romanticized versions of Victorian England. Two years later, I finally read (well, listened to) it! It was an exciting story full of magic, romance and obsessive rivalries. 'The Night Circus' was also full of beautiful imaginings and interesting characters. In tone and theme it reminded me a bit of the book 'Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell' by Susanna Clarke. So if you enjoyed Clarke's book, I think you will also enjoy Morgenstern's book, and vice versa. A perk to listening to this book instead of reading it is that Jim Dale narrates it. American listeners of the 'Harry Potter' books will be familiar with Dale's charismatic and delightful narration style. While listening to 'The Night Circus' every once in a while I would be like, "Hey, that sounds like Hermione' or 'That's that character has a bit of Ron in his voice.' Not to say that Dale does not have vocal range, because he is quite the master. I also found out recently that Jim Dale is the narrator for the show 'Pushing Daises.' Another point for Jim Dale! I love that show!
    Also, for the sake of nostalgia and reasons completely unrelated to the realm of literature, I was excited to see the authors last name is Moregenstern. Erin Morgenstern is not the first Morgenstern to have charmed me! Rhoda Morgenstern is one of my favorite sarcastic yet plucky fictional TV characters from the seventies. One thing that always frustrated me about the Mary Tyler Moore show is that for some ridiculous reason Rhoda was pigeonholed as the unattractive fat friend. No wonder so many women have body issues. For decades now we have seen beautiful people cast as the ugly and unattractive. I also think it is annoying in general when for the sake of laughs a fictional character's defining characteristic is how unattractive they are. 

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