Book review part 2

I’ve had a few more thoughts on my review of The Passenger. My review immediately after reading it was pretty harsh – perhaps deserved, perhaps not. But the afterthoughts are less harsh.

  1. I’m pretty sure I know who the title referred to, who was “the passenger”. It makes sense to me, but I’m sure other readers will have their opinions.
  2. One of the reasons my criticisms were harsh is that the writing reminded me of two of my favorite magical realism authors, Charles de Lint and Jonathan Carroll. Only reversed – de Lint and Carroll’s style of magical realism always had lots of hope and wonder attached. Their stories were uplifting. McCarthy, not so much. In fact, none at all.

Call it magical realism or urban fantasy, this is a genre I like a lot. De Lint is one of the finest fantasy authors of all time. He reminds me of a good soul from rural KY who happens to live in Canada and writes about the backwoods and spaces in between. His recurring characters, like The Crow Girls and The Trickster, are memorable. It’s hard to say what to read from de Lint first – he has been prolific. The Wild Wood is a good suggestion. I have most of his books in high quality hardback and paperback.

Carroll isn’t well known in America, but I get the same feeling reading his books – that the world is magical, and most anything is possible. His settings and his life are primarily in Europe, Austria to be precise. His writing is much like McCarthy’s – poetic and evocative. I have all his books collected as well.

So that’s part of why I had a negative reaction to The Passenger. He took one of my favorite genres and painted it solid black. Bold move, but nihilism isn’t my style.

Consequential decisions

SDSU’s magic run came to an end last night. They had a 10-12 minute cold streak (!!) in the first half that sealed their fate. If not for that, they could have won. But they had a great tournament run and should be proud. I’d give a lot if my UK Wildcats had gotten as far.

Made some big financial decisions yesterday. Dropped my employer’s $150/month group health plan for a $0/month Kaiser health plan. Same coverage, same benefits. Once in the Medicare world, things get weird, like $0/month premiums for full medical coverage, as long as you’re paying for Medicare parts A & B. Go figure. I hope I don’t regret leaving the employer plan, because once out, you’re out.

In the same vein, I signed up for Social Security. It’s a calculation, and my calculation right now is that the time is right for me. Depends on how long you’ll live and how long SS will be solvent, and that second thing has me worried. OK, the first thing too. Take the money now while it still exists, even if I get the shit taxed out of it due to other earnings.

These are two big, non-reversible decisions. No mulligans. (Actually, there *is* a mulligan on filing for SS benefits, but I used that five years ago.) But I’ve been grinding through the tradeoffs on these for a while, so I’m (mostly) sure I understand the consequences. One consequence is that now I’m completely, officially, indisputably, old. Hard to believe.

Finally, the big news today is that Herr Drumpf is getting arraigned and arrested today in New York. You can spin that news a lot of ways, but I choose to spin it as “no one is above the law”. Happy about that.