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Sunday, February 29, 2004

A return to the stomping grounds 

Briefly checking in before I engage in my annual mockery of the fashion-wearing vapid actors and actresses at the Oscars, which will no doubt be boring and tedious but, what the hell, I watch 'em anyway. Thanks to all who sent in kind wishes about the job hunt. It is both more promising and more frustrating than it was a few days ago. Toronto, however, was absolutely lovely. I guess the good weather people are experiencing all across the East Coast and beyond has spread upwards to Canadian cities and at just about 50 degrees F, it was practically balmy.

The travel book log was somewhat low, although I did get two books finished on the bus ride in: Sylvia Maultash Warsh's Edgar nominated PBO FIND ME AGAIN, which starts slowly but evolves into a wonderful Toronto-set mystery that alternates between 1979 and the 1750s; some very nice writing and a whiff of alternate history as well. I'd have no qualms if this took the Edgar Prize, though I'd have to compare it to the rest of the nominees. Daniel Mason's THE PIANO TUNER is meant for a book club later this month that my friends and I are about to start, but I'd picked the book in the first place and was delighted to find it a ripping adventure set in 1880s Burma. Great escapism for travel. Also finished during my trip: Chet Raymo's THE DORK OF CORK (bad title, wonderful novel with great heart and sly humor) and Kevin Wignall's AMONG THE DEAD, which may have a similar premise to I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER but has some wonderfully nuanced prose and a look at the disintegration of what were once close college friendships. I wasn't quite as enamored with it as his first book, PEOPLE DIE, but it is a matter of taste after all.

Look for the blog to be back to its usual prolific state starting tomorrow morning, with some commentary on Robert McCrum's latest "World of Books" column in the works as well.

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