The bread shall rise again

Better luck with the bread machine last night. The yeast in the old packet I’d used the night before had apparently moved on to wherever yeast goes when it dies. Bread and molasses for breakfast this morning. Yum! (My wife thinks it’s gross.)

I started a new short story this morning and wrote a thousand words. I expect it will be less than 2500 when I’m finished. I’ve been thinking about this story for a while. It features characters I’ve used a few times before, so there’s a certain comfort in returning to them. I think I’m overwriting it at this point, but I’ll trim the excess on revision. I have to wait until I get to the end to decide how much of what I’ve put down is essential to the story and how much of it is just stuff rolling around inside my head.

I’m almost finished reading The Dinner by Herman Koch, which will be out next week. The author is Dutch and apparently this, his sixth, is his breakout novel, selling over a million copies in Europe. The whole thing takes place during a five-course dinner at an upscale restaurant, the kind where the servers won’t leave you alone and the manager explains every course in detail. Four people are at the table. Two are brothers, the other two are their respective spouses. One of the brothers is a politician and a likely candidate for Prime Minister. The other brother is the narrator. The four have gathered to discuss some serious matters related to their sons, but it takes a while for them to get around to that. The book tackles some delicate subject matter, and doesn’t always espouse the PC viewpoint. The narrator starts out sympathetic (his disdain for his brother makes him seem like the better person) but flashbacks reveal much about him that might shift the reader’s attitude toward him. It’s being billed as a mystery in some quarters, but it really isn’t.

It’s nearly a year since I became a dual citizen but my Canadian pride shines through. Last night’s How I Met Your Mother was Canadian to the core. It was another Robin Sparkles episode, but it dealt with Robin’s darker days, when she decided to get out from under the “Sparkles” cloak and become…Alanis Morissette. In addition to the requisite video (which ran with a disclaimer on MuchMusic—yes, that’s a real channel), there was a “Behind the Music” piece that featured Geddy Lee, Dave Coulier (who had a close encounter with Alanis Morissette and starred on Full House with Bob Saget, who is the future voice of Ted Mosby), Paul Schaffer, Jason Priestley, Gino Vannelli, Dave Thomas (Bob and Doug McKenzie), hockey player Luc Robitaille,  Alex Trebek, one of the Barenaked Ladies, k.d. lang, and Alan Thicke, along with a healthy dose of Tim Hortons.

I went to the Montgomery County Book Festival on Saturday. I only heard about it a few days earlier thanks to a tweet from Murder By the Book, who ran the book concession. In the past, MCBF has been focused exclusively on YA, but they’re branching out to include adult readers and hope to expand the festival to an entire weekend. Jonathan Maberry was the opening speaker and Sherrilyn Kenyon was the closer. There were several author panels and signing sessions. I had a chance to say hi to Jonathan (I blurbed one of his books many years ago) and sit in on his speech and a panel, but had to leave before I managed to find Sherrilyn Kenyon. It was great, though, to see a lot of teens really excited about books and reading. They were buying books by the armload and talking about them over lunch among themselves. That’s encouraging.


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