Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Monday, 22 November 2010
An Abundance of Katherines opens with a very ordinary tale of adolescent heartbreak. But Colin is not ordinary, and neither is his predicament: his nineteenth Katherine has just dumped him. Him! Him, who is destined for greatness, if he could just work out how to make that difficult transition from child prodigy to adult genius. Him, who can make a dozen anagrams out of any given set of words. Him, who can speak far more languages than anyone will ever need to.
Enter Hassan, the loyal best friend who cares enough about Colin to tell him when his conversational tangents are Not Interesting. He drags Colin away from home so that he can forget about Katherine XIX, and together they can engage on the American rite of passage par excellence: a road trip. But they never make it past Gutshot, Tennessee – here they meet some new friends, find a job, and Colin works on his Important Project: a mathematical equation that will predict the success of a relationship.
Colin is a collector of useless facts, and shares many of them with us. By the end of this book, you will not only have spent time with some lovable characters and learned more than you ever thought you wanted to about maths, you will also know which President was so fat that he once got stuck in the bath and why the shower curtain always seems drawn towards you.
Think of this book as Adrian Mole meets the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, with a dash of social commentary thrown in.
Warm, witty, and engaging, this is a “Young Adult” novel with an appeal far broader than the genre would suggest. Lovable, self-confessed geeks like Colin and Hassan are particularly likely to enjoy it.
Sunday, 21 November 2010
Saturday, 20 November 2010
Saturday, 13 November 2010
Friday, 12 November 2010
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
First, there were the famed scones from my host: while not (of course) the same as British scones, they are reminiscent of them, and were a great start to the day. Then I wandered down to Union Station to meet up with a Twitter friend - who turned out to be exceptionally kind, generous and encouraging. We prayed for each other right there in the station. Very cool.
I made my way to Dupont Circle, where in a misguided fit of excitement at having found the house where Donna lives in the episode of the West Wing where Josh throws snowballs at her window, I asked a passing stranger to take a million photos. A task she undertook with gusto and flair, but alas, all in vain, because although the houses are very similar in style, it wasn't the right one.
Still, it made me happy at the time. And under the blue, blue sky I made my way to Embassy Row, where after making admiring noises at posh buildings I eventually struck up conversation with yet another kind and knowledgeable stranger who pointed me in the direction of Georgetown. I'm not normally a walker, but my unusual physical exertions were amply rewarded when, somewhere on Q street, I passed a box marked with my two favourite words: Free Books. Among which was Hilary Clinton's autobiography, which I've been thinking of buying. Much happiness ensued. I continued my path through the beautiful Georgetown streets with the houses that are all so different yet somehow form a coherent whole. I could have photographed every single house; they all had character, and colourful charm.
Georgetown University was nice, too, and I love listening into students' conversations and imagining that I am still one of them. I walked and walked and walked, it seemed, in pursuit of a cafe that my guide book had recommended, but instead I passed one that called itself the "cutest in Georgetown" and it lured me with its outside patio and old issues of Time Magazine, and I'm glad, because although the coffee was terrible, the crepe with banana and Nutella was so enjoyable that I didn't even get cross at the article in Time about the alleged benefits of being an only child.
And in the evening, after much getting lost, I finallly ended up at Busboys and Poets, for an authentic DC experience listening to a Very Famous Man I've never heard of talk about the Death of the Liberal. Really interesting, and great food at the same time. Should I ever move here, this will become one of my favourite places.
Tomorrow, Eastern Market, Library of Congress, Hawk and Dove, and Politics and Prose, although that seems a lot to manage in a morning, so I may have to let one of them go. I love this place.