My book club decided to read Ian McEwan’s The Children Act, chosen because not one of us seven had already read it. As I’m not a fan of McEwan’s writing and I didn’t want to buy it in hardcover… I went to my neighborhood library, the St. Agnes branch. I haven’t been there in years. I found a line of 30 people at the desk and no one to answer questions. The first floor was all children’s books and there was an endless staircase upward – and I mean endless – but no sign saying what was to be found upstairs, and no sign directing to an elevator, and did I say, no one to answer a question.
I left, making myself a promise that when I give my annual donation to the New York Public Library, I will never again mark it for the St. Agnes branch.
Okay, what to do about The Children Act? Download to your Kindle, you say? Well, I don’t own one. I like to turn real pages when I read at night. I like to hold a real book. Enter my tech friend Leonardo. She says, “You can download the Kindle software to your computer and read the book when you want to. Don’t you remember I told you?” I’m sure she must have told me, but when she talks to me about technical stuff, I only retain what is currently important to me.
So, I downloaded the free software, and read it on the computer. And, surprise, I really liked The Children Act.
I also read Jenny Offill’s Department of Speculation (in trade paper, at night, turning the pages). It’s a gem. A gem.
My Canadian theater critic friend Lynn Slotkin (The Slotkin Letter) and I went to Lincoln Center to see The Mystery of Love & Sex at the Mitzi Newhouse. A rave in The NYTimes. Author, Bathsheba Doran. Great resume. Name actors in it: Diane Lane and Tony Shalhoub.
Eeeeeks! Of course, all art is subjective … But really, I don’t get it. Why was this mounted, and by Lincoln Center Theater, no less? At the very least, workshop it. My friend Slotkin is kinder than I am. Her review will be up on her site very soon.
The luminous Diane Lane, who has not been on stage in years, totally disappears. Tony Shalhoub plays Tony Shalhoub. Maybe it’s the director’s fault. No question, it’s the director’s fault. Afterward, Slotkin and I went to Rosa Mexicana and sat at the bar eating guacamole, while I ranted. I had a glass of red. I needed it.