The Calligrapher

Docx, Edward. The Calligrapher. Boston: Houghton Miffler Company, 2003.

Reason read: March is hero month. The hero in The Calligrapher is a dead poet.

I love books that have the ability to suck you into its pages. I started reading The Calligrapher and before I knew it 75 pages were devoured before I next looked up.
Onto the plot: Jasper Jackson is a classy cad. He knows his wine. He knows his fish. He knows fashion. He knows his classical tunes. As a professional calligrapher, he knows the poetry of John Donne intimately. He also cheats on women who are already labeled “the other woman.” He can’t have a monogamous relationship to save his life…until he meets gorgeous-girl Madeleine. She is everything he has ever wanted in a partner: smart, funny, sarcastic, gone from home a lot as a travel writer, and of course, so beautiful everyone stops to stare wherever she goes. Miss Perfect. Jackson is willing to give up every other fling and sexual conquest for this girl. He has met his match in Maddy. He even takes her to meet his grandmother. No other woman has had the honor. Unfortunately, the other broken hearts Jasper has trampled on to get to Madeleine just won’t go away. He needs to deal with those messes before he can come clean. But. Is it too late?

Quotes I really liked, “Time cleared its throat and tapped its brand new watch” (p 43), and “Curious how the empty eyes of a dead fish could beseech a person so” (p 224).

As an aside, I have never thought about them before, but vellum and parchment and how they’re made. Calf and sheep, respectively. Ugh.

Author fact: Docx has written a bunch of other stuff. None of it is on my list, though. Bummer. As another aside, I checked out his list on LibraryThing and was a little taken aback by the photos. He’s one of those authors who has a hunch he might, just might, be good looking.

Book trivia: This should be a movie starring Hugh Grant. Oh wait. He already did one of those cad-turned-sensitive-guy movies for Nick Hornsby.

Nancy said: Pearl made comparisons to A.S. Byatt and she described the plot. That’s it.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Dick Lit” (p 78).

Old Man & Me

Dundy, Elaine. The Old Man and Me. New York: New York Review Books, 2005.

Introductions to books often bore me, I’ll admit it. I’m the one who will skip them nine times out of ten. For some reason I didn’t skip Dundy’s introduction to The Old Man and Me and I’m very glad I didn’t. I appreciated her explanation of who Honey Flood is, why Honey is the way she is (think Jessica Rabbit, “I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way”), and why she wanted Honey that way. Dundy wants her reader to know the purpose of Honey in Old Man is as a response to the male anti-heroes of the era. By creating the female counterpart, Honey Flood is the Angry Young Woman who hates everything English. Additionally, Miss Flood is opinionated, hot-tempered, easy annoyed, more often than not, sarcastically irritated and a liar to boot. As Dundy explains, “But what I hope I had going for me is that Bad Girls are more interesting that Good ones” (p ix). Amen to that. So, about Honey…she’s out to seduce an older man. She’ll go to great lengths to land an interview with him, including befriending people she can’t stand. Why? He married her stepmother after her father’s death and by default (stepmum later committed suicide), has all Honey’s inheritance. In short, Honey wants her money back. True to Dundy’s intro, Honey is nothing short of nasty. There were surprises within Old Man and Me that popped up unexpectedly.

Lines which sparked the imagination, “Bollie was a sort of chain-talker, lighting one end of a conversation to another without letting the first go out” (p 8) and “She had lost her husband only two days ago and already she was a lost soul” (p 29).

Confessional: I didn’t catch that The Old Man and Me was a continuation of sorts of The Dud Avocado so I read Old Man before Avocado. My mistake. Bummer.

Reason read: January is the time people make resolutions. It’s also the most popular time to put affairs in order, like creating or revising a will.

Author fact: Elaine died in 2008. At 82 years of age she wrote the introduction I mentioned earlier. She lived to be 87 years old.

Book trivia: The Old Man and Me is a sequel of sorts to The Dud Avocado. The main character is in Dud and although she is older, she appears again in Old Man.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “American Girls” (p 18).