Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Talking Animals

posted by Tim Walters @ 7:39 AM

Time flies when you're frantically preparing for a gig. Also, I've been beta-reading a friend's unpublished novel, which is not to be blogged. But I have snuck in a few books in the last month and two days:

Lloyd Alexander: Time Cat

I suppose that if I had thought about it, I would have guessed that Alexander had written stuff besides the Prydain books. But I never thought about it until I saw this at my neighbor's yard sale. A boy and his cat wander in time, sometimes to places you might expect (Leonardo's childhood), sometimes to less-familiar territory (early Spanish Peru, heavily sanitized). Pleasant enough, but comes off as more of a travelogue than a story; both the boy and the cat remain observers more than participants.

John Fowles: The French Lieutenant's Woman

I read this years ago, and in my recent Fowles excitement decided to revisit it. I'm impressed with how he manages to get away with doing everything a writer isn't supposed to do--whole scenes told not shown, big infodumps, authorial intrusions. In the hands of any writer less deft it would have been lumpy pudding; it's as much an essay on the Victorian age as it is a novel, but never fails to fascinate. I haven't seen the film, but would be very surprised if they managed to capture anything of the book's flavor.

David Nemec: The Rules of Baseball

A breezy anecdotal look at the history of baseball's rules. Interesting, but I often wanted more detail. Also, you get to call a home run a "circuit clout" once per book, tops.

Richard Adams: Watership Down

Some days you just need to grab a beer and a perfect (and perfectly comforting) book and head for the back yard. Adams may be a one-shot author (although that may be selling Shardik a bit short), but what a shot.


At 7:23 PM, Blogger Todd T said...

This is where a poster is supposed to chime in with something brilliant about the original post, and here it is: the "gig" link seems to be broken.

Since you are freshly imbued with rulesy knowledge about baseball, perhaps you would care to try these quizzes:

1. Recently a record was tied in the National League when a team got four sac flies in an inning. How can that be?

2. Long ago a team recorded four putouts in an inning, and each one was crucial. How can that be?

Lloyd Alexander has written quite a few non-Prydain books, though I don't know that any deserve to attain the pedestal that that series is deservedly placed upon.

I've never read Watership Down. One of these years I am going to have to dedicate myself to reading all of the must-reads I haven't read yet. Or several years.

One of these days I will comment on your previous post, where you had read a book on the nature of memories. This is an important subject for me and I am interested in that book. But, though gigless, I've been crazy busy.

At 7:55 PM, Blogger Tim Walters said...

Fixed the link, thanks.

1--The only thing I can think of is that maybe a sure sac fly that gets dropped is scored as a sac fly plus error.

2--Was there ever a time when baseball experimented with four-out innings?

I highly, highly recommend Watership Down. I bet Tory would love it, too.

At 7:36 AM, Blogger Todd T said...

I like both the name and the logo for Different Skies. Is that the same show from which you brought back a mind-bending DVD?

You are abolutely correct on baseball quiz the first.

On the second one, a runner scored from second on a play that eventually resulted in a tag somewhere else on the basepaths the third out of the inning. But he failed to touch third on his way, so the defense appealed at third, and the umpire called the runner out. If he had not been called out, his run would have counted.

At 10:45 PM, Blogger Tim Walters said...

I don't remember if I showed you the Woodstockhausen or Different Skies material. But the video artist (David Tristram) is the same in both cases. We're in the process of making a DVD of the 2004 festival. (And thanks for the compliment on the logo, which I helped design--I did a much simpler still version; Otso Pakarinen did the animation.)

Come to think of it, there must have been two dropped flies, since the last out can't be a sac fly. Sounds like a 2005 Giants game.

At 6:07 PM, Blogger Todd T said...

Oops, my mistake. It was 3 sac flies. I must have been thinking of the four outs in the other example. Mets were the latest to do it, and only NL team to do it, this past June vs. Yankees.


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