UPDATE 12/9: Welcome to readers who are here because of my Sunday Spotlight column. And if you’re a books fan, be sure to check out Rick Bentley’s story about a Fresno State student who shares her 1,000-square feet apartment with almost 10,000 books.
The intro: I envision this occasional series as kind of a “virtual” club of people bound together not so much by common titles but simply a love of reading. I tell you what I’m reading, and you tell me, and we get a sense of satisfaction by knowing there are other people out there who love text in an image-based world.
I get very excited when The New York Times comes out with its list of 100 Notable Books of the year. But I also feel a little overwhelmed. There are so many books to read and not enough time. And while I enjoy keeping up with current titles, there are so many older books clamoring for my attention that I just sort of sigh and dream about a life spent reading.
It turns out I’ve only read one book on this year’s Times list: John Irving’s “In One Person.” I’m an Irving Loyalist through and through — I read every one of his novels as they’re published. Like most of my reader friends, I have a special affection for his earlier works (ah, the thrill of reading “A Prayer for Owen Meany” for the first time), and I’ve been a little less enraptured with some of his newer stuff, but I always come back for more.
That said, “In One Person” is a solid, gripping read. It’s funny, surprising and very sad. Irving’s narrator, a headstrong young man named Billy Dean, lives in a small Vermont town in the early 1960s, goes to an all-boys private school and has an extended family of rather eccentric characters. (His grandfather, owner of the mill in town, is known for playing women’s roles in the local amateur theater society.) Oh, and there’s a wrestling subplot. (Does all this sound familiar?)
“30 Rock,” 8:30 p.m. KSEE (Channel 24.1): Instead of the regular taped format, tonight’s episode of the NBC comedy will be broadcast live. And they really mean it will be live here. The cast will perform the show for an East Coast audience and then three hours later do the same show for West Coast viewers.
The plot of the episode is that Liz (Tina Fey) gets angry that no one has remembered her birthday. Actually, the plot could have been about starting cat farms on Mars. The real reason to watch is to see which cast member makes the first mistake or uses an inappropriate word.
Of course, doing a live show is nothing new for former “Saturday Night Live” cast members Fey and Tracy Morgan. Even Alec Baldwin should be comfortable with the live program because he’s hosted “SNL” so many times he seems like a series regular on that NBC late-night show.
My money is on Morgan to be the one who stumbles first.
RB is on vacation this week, so you’re left to talk Emmys with me. The nominations were announced this morning for the 61st annual Emmys (set to be awarded Sept. 12).
There’s all kinds of analysis, perspective and talk of snubs around the Internet … and here’s a little bit more from me. Know, however, that I’m not a TV critic, just a guy with a DVR. So here are some of my initial thoughts about this year’s Emmy field. Check out the full list below and give us your reactions as well.
- Props to “30 Rock” and “Mad Men” for leading their respective fields (22 for Liz Lemon’s crew and 16 for Don Draper & Co.) I’ve really come to appreciate both of these shows a lot more over the past year.
- “Family Guy” getting a best comedy nom is definitely a flop. I’m a “Family Guy” fan, but even I’ll admit that it’s not as funny as it used to be. The shtick has gotten a bit tired.
- More on the comedies: Props for “How I Met Your Mother” getting a nod instead of the usual “Two and a Half Men” — but “Big Bang Theory” is still funnier than both of them … It might even be funnier than “30 Rock” some weeks. That’s a flop.