can it be? a…book update? (gasp)

I’ve been in a funk lately, and seriously considering going on a blogging break, but now that the horrible humidity of the past few days is dissipating, things are looking a little better. I don’t mind heat (that much, if it’s dry heat), but humidity and I don’t get along. We never have. I’ve lived in a humid-summer climate for 24 of my 30 (almost 31) years, and I still don’t like it. It wouldn’t have been so bad yesterday if I would have been allowed to lounge in my boxers and t-shirt (not a picture I will inflict on the world), but as (un)luck would have it: the person who was going to rent our apartment fell through, news that my landlord told me a mere 20 minutes before he was showing the place to someone else. 20 minutes to throw on jeans and clean up (again). Sigh. I just want my privacy back. I don’t like that I have to be constantly waiting for someone to show up to see the place. Perhaps if our landlord would finish the apartment he wouldn’t have as much trouble renting the damn place out again. I mean, we have bare bulbs hanging in the bathroom (that’s really kind of a hallway, it’s strange), no water in the second bathroom, open electrical outlets, you name it. We’re not quite sure what the hell he’s been doing all year since we moved in (and the first 2 months we lived in one room because the kitchen and bedrooms weren’t “finished”). He comes over and starts sawing something (loudly) at 11 at night, but we see no evidence that work is actually being done anywhere in the house. Only one month to go, and luckily, my parents and my mother-in-law are visiting over the next two weeks, so that takes my mind of my annoying landlord.

Ok, rant over. Because it was too hot to think too much or do too much, I actually finished reading two of my library books this week! Both were mysteries (summer reading = mysteries for me), and both were sort of “academic” mysteries, for lack of a better word. The first was the fourth book of Sarah Stewart Taylor’s series featuring Sweeney St. George, a professor of art history who specializes in funerary art forms. I quite like this series, and although I had figured out the “whodunit” aspect midway through, I still enjoyed the book. In this volume, Sweeney is in charge of a museum exhibit of funerary art, including Egyptian burial jewelry, Victorian death daguerreotypes, etc. When she attempts to track down a piece of jewelry that she wants to add to the exhibit, it’s discovered to be missing, and the last person to examine it was a talented undergraduate studying Egyptian art…20 years ago. Moreover, the student had been present during a museum robbery, and apparently killed herself a few weeks later. Sweeney is intrigued by the young girl’s death, and when a murder happens during the opening night of the exhibit, she can’t help but think that the two are connected. Sleuthing, relationship trouble, etc. ensues. Overall, I find Sweeney to be an interesting character, hence my interest in finishing the book even though the mystery was not one that I felt was overly difficult to solve. And although the book can take on a “lecturing” tone occasionally, it wasn’t enough to bother me. My one gripe? At one point, Sweeney discovers some poetry written by the dead student 20 years ago, and in my opinion, does a piss poor job with close reading. I didn’t think the underlying meaning of the poem was that difficult to grasp, but Sweeney, who is an art historian (and, I would expect, capable of reading between the lines when it comes to pieces of art) completely overlooked the blatant message. That aside, it’s good summer reading, and a nice counterpoint to the literary criticism I’ve been reading as well.

I’ll save my review on Mark Mills’ The Savage Garden for another post (gotta space them out here). For now, it’s back to “work.”

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