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Jeremy's journal

He'd had the sense, moments earlier, that Caroline was on the verge of accusing him of being "depressed," and he was afraid that if the idea that he was depressed gained currency, he would forfeit his right to his opinions. He would forfeit his moral certainties; every word he spoke would become a symptom of disease; he would never win an argument.

Jonathan Franzen

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Sunday, October third, 2010

🦋 Landmarks

There were no parrots -- that was one thing I noticed -- nothing bright or feathered or talkative at all. The other thing I noticed was that this wasn't a restaurant, like the book said it would be: it was a motel. The book had gotten it wrong. Or maybe the place had changed owners or something. Because it was definitely a motel. The neon sign outside said so, even though the O and the T and the E and the L were out. Just the M was lit, flickering and buzzing to let you know what kind of place you were about to go into.
Exley gives you a great sense of the physical place which is Watertown. And all of the places Clarke has mentioned so far -- Crystal Restaurant, the Watertown Daily Times building on Washington St., the library across the street from there, the VA hospital, the New Parrot Motel (since renamed the Relax Inn) are easy to locate and view with Google Maps.

posted afternoon of October third, 2010: Respond
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🦋 Upstate

Every Sunday morning my dad and I would walk down to the Crystal, which was my dad's favorite restaurant and bar, eat breakfast, take a few laps around the Public Square, then walk home. Usually we'd run into someone my dad knew, and my dad would talk to him (it was almost always a him, and it was almost always someone my dad knew from the Crystal, and as a matter of fact, it was usually someone who was either going to or coming from the Crystal) for a while. I just stood there and let the noise of their talking go back and forth over my head and didn't think about anything in particular until my dad said, "OK, bud, let's get going." But the Sunday after I found out about A Fan's Notes -- how my dad loved it, how it was set in Watertown -- every guy my dad talked to I thought might be Exley.
I'm not sure yet how much I am going to like Exley, how good of a read it is going to be -- but I am pretty sure 30 pages in that it is going to be an interesting book... Much of the structure is seeming forced. I do not connect with the psychologist's voice, and did not at first connect with Miller's, though it is growing on me. I like the Watertown setting though, it reminds me of the time I spent upstate in Potsdam (Watertown is the closest city of any size) and it is making me want to track down A Fan's Notes, to which this book is an homage.

posted afternoon of October third, 2010: Respond

Friday, October first, 2010

🦋 Making the Rounds

We've been to a couple of local author events at indie bookstores around NJ these past few weeks -- not long ago we went to Words in Maplewood to hear Meredith Sue Willis reading from her new book Out of the Mountains, short stories about Appalachia in the 21st Century; and tonight we headed out to the Clinton Book Shop to see Joyce Hinnefeld and get a copy of her new book Stranger Here Below, coincidentally also with an Appalachian theme. (Plus Ron, the shop's gregarious manager, sold me on Exley by Brock Clarke, which he said was the best book he had read this year.)

The picture to the right is of the river which flooded over its banks yesterday in the center of Clinton, marooning a big piece of construction equipment. The constant roar of the water flowing by was amazing.

posted evening of October first, 2010: Respond
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