Saturday, May 28, 2005

Spanglish; Goodwill Books

First of all, this is not really my kind of movie (nothing blows up), and I knew that going in. I think it's good, though, to occasionally watch a movie in which nothing blows up, and I've kind of gotten to like Adam Sandler over his last few movies. He does a good job of playing a basically decent, befuddled sort of guy who would like to do the right thing if he could only figure out what it is. That's his role in SPANGLISH, too, and he's his usual likable self in it. Part of the problem with this movie is that the role of his wife, played by Tea Leoni, is written in such a relentlessly unsympathetic fashion that she comes off as totally unbelievable, and the movie sort of falls apart because of that. I know there are people who have absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever, but they don't make very good fictional characters. (Unless, of course, they're villains in pulp novels. I have no problem with that.) Also, a good rule of thumb is that any movie which consists of people sitting around talking about their feelings should not be more than two hours long, unless they're damned witty about it, which the characters in SPANGLISH are only occasionally. These comments probably sound a little too harsh. I watched the whole movie and stayed awake all the way through it, so that's got to say something for it.

Back on the writing front, I got 25 pages done yesterday before it was time to go to the graduation. Just 10 today, but that just leaves me with a short final chapter to write tomorrow and I'm done with this book. The reason I only wrote 10 pages today is that we were out running errands for much of the day. One of my stops was a Goodwill store, where I went through the book section and found a few things of interest. I always enjoy browsing through the books at Goodwill stores. They're just jumbled up, in no order at all, which can be frustrating, but since the store relies entirely on donations for their stock, you never know what you're going to find. The first thing I picked up today was a Pocket Books edition of THE BEST OF DAMON RUNYON. It's the 21st paperback printing, from March 1944. The colors on the cover are still bright, the pages are white, and the book smells great. You paperback collectors know what I mean. I also came across Clive Cussler's THE MEDITERRANEAN CAPER, a later Pocket Books printing, not the rare and valuable Pyramid Books edition Bill Crider mentioned a few days ago, but I was glad to get it anyway because I want to read another Dirk Pitt book and this is the next one in the series. Then there's DARK MASTER by Raymond Giles, a plantation novel published by Fawcett Gold Medal in 1970. That's a genre I started collecting in a haphazard fashion because of Harry Whittington's involvement with it under the pseudonym Ashley Carter. I didn't have anything by Giles and thought I might as well invest the fifty cents. I also got one hardback, a 1945 Grosset & Dunlap edition (no dust jacket) of Erle Stanley Gardner's THE D.A. CALLS A TURN. I like everything by Gardner I've ever read, including the D.A. series. And this book smells just about as good as the Runyon book. Not a great haul by any means, but these days when it's getting harder and harder to find good, old books, I'll take what I can get.

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