Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Jury Is Out

I have jury duty again on Monday and am still undecided about what to bring to read while I wait to be called.  I am almost finished with Plunder Squad and have Butcher's Moon to take along.  But I have a ratty, ugly, old copy of Butcher's Moon - not one I'd wish to been seen reading in public.  This is a shame on so many levels - that such a good book should have such a bad cover - I'd be hard pressed to convince anyone of Westlake's genius with a cover that looks like this:

It is also sad that I even care what I am seen reading - but I ruthlessly judge others so I should be prepared.

Ideally, I would bring some comic books with me - but I like to read comics sitting at a table or lying on the floor - neither of which I will be able to do in a federal courthouse.  And I worry that the lighting will be bad.  I have several copies of Sweet Tooth and The Unwritten to read and this would be a nice block of time to do so.  But I won't.  And for those same reasons I won't read Osamu Tezuka's Ode To Kirihito in public either.  I should note here that I stopped reading comics as a kid and just returned to them two years ago.  I only discovered Osamu Tezuka because someone (you know who you are) who is also a Westlake obsessive edited an award-winning book on Tezuka (which I bought and it is quite wonderful) and I am now sort of interested in certain manga (which is something I actively used to dislike - though for no good reason).  [Side Note:  There was something called Read a Comic in Public Day at the end of August.  And I participated in it (which is very unlike me - I am the kind of person who mocks people who participate in public displays of anything) and read Tonoharu by Lars Martinson.] 

I have the past few issues of The New Yorker and The New Scientist to read.  I picked up the October issue of Backpacker magazine because it has a cover story on all the things one needs to know if lost or trapped in the wild.  This is normally not a concern for me - I live in downtown Washington, DC.  But after reading a lot of The Walking Dead and Justin Cronin's The Passage, I've come to realize that I'll be the first one to die in the event of the dead rising or a plague of virals or anything apocalyptic because my outdoor survival skills are woefully inadequate - and also because I don't like to run.  (I figure I'll have to carry the magazine with me as I flee the dead or whatever.)

I am also considering bringing the new Jonathan Franzen novel Freedom and the new Kate Atkinson novel Started Early, Took My Dog.  The Franzen looks wonderful but I have to be in court before 8 AM and am worried my brain will be too mushy (we work evenings and nights) to appreciate the book.  I hope the courthouse has a Starbucks. The Atkinson is probably the better choice.

Because I cannot have too much entertainment with me, I am charging up both iPods right now.  I'll skip what I could watch (Ashes to Ashes, the IT Crowd, Lead Balloon and Outnumbered to name a few) and say the real dilemma is which headphones to take.  I hate earbuds but my Sennheiser and Grado headphones look incredibly dorky.  People laugh when I wear them.  People who like me, even.  But they sound so good.

3 comments:

Nick Jones (Louis XIV, 'The Sun King') said...

BG, you should've dropped me a line about the Tezuka book – I would've sent you a copy. If you send me your address (use existentialennui@gmail.com) I'll see if I can round up a few books to send your way in recompense.

I bought the new Atkinson too, but Rachel's reading it at the moment. Which is good, as I haven't read any of the other Jackson Brody novels yet. But I nabbed a first edition of Case Histories the other day, so I can start with that.

Book Glutton said...

Very kind offer but I was glad to buy it. Good publishers need all the support they can get so I was quite happy to pay for it. I bought it a few months back on impulse when you first posted that it was nominated for an award - an Eisner?

If it should ever come to be, I will take an autographed first edition of your Westlake biography.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

You know I actually like that cover - it's tacky but it's 70's tacky which is cool by default