Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Recent Reading and Viewing

I'm starting to really enjoy my current "morning person" phase. It's amazing how much I manage to get done before the time I'm usually just getting started in the morning. Today I ran some errands, made a research trip to the downtown library, got groceries and was home an hour before lunchtime.

Now for a catch-up of TV and book stuff.

Over the weekend, I read Wizard Squared, the latest book in the Rogue Agent series by K.E. Mills. This one went back to the events of the first book, but in an alternate universe where Gerald made a different decision and things took a very different turn. Now that Gerald has gone mad with power, and the only person who could defeat him is our Gerald, who is equally powerful, but still good. After the more fun romp of the second book, this one goes rather darker. I'll have to read it again to catch everything, since I got into desperate page-turning mode toward the end. Exploring "what ifs" is a favorite theme of mine, and it's interesting to see how one decision can send things spiraling in a different direction. What I love most about this series is the characters. I keep hearing that nice people make for boring characters, but Gerald, the main character in this series, is truly nice. In fact, that's his primary characteristic. He is a nice, gentle, good man, thrown into some difficult situations. When you think about it, it's probably more interesting to put a nice, good man into a really hairy situation than it is to put a tough guy into that situation. Poor Gerald is really getting the Job treatment, though. I know she's recently sold more books in this series, but I haven't seen a publication date for the next one.

Meanwhile, Tuesday night has really become TV night. I was already watching Warehouse 13 and White Collar, and then they made things difficult by putting them opposite each other (grrrr), but fortunately, cable repeats things, so I can catch the 10 p.m. showing of Warehouse 13. In between, there's Covert Affairs, which is more typical USA Network fluffy action. I liked the pilot well enough. I like the characters, and there's promise in the situation. When ballet starts again in a few weeks, this may be one I catch OnDemand or in one of the later airings (I really love the way the cable networks do that) because the night is just too packed to try to keep up with everything while also being out that night. I hope these summer series finish before the fall TV season starts again, or it will take all week just to watch the Tuesday series.

Last night, when I was looking for something to watch but not wanting to stay up late enough to watch a whole movie, I watched Haven, one of the new Sci Fi Channel series, OnDemand, and I rather liked it. It's another sort of lighter take on the X-Files theme, this time set in a small town in Maine where weird things are happening. An FBI agent sent to the town to question someone who turns out to have just been killed finds that her mysterious past may have links to this town. She ends up working with a local cop. She's the believer in the pair, open to admitting that weird things are happening. He's the skeptic, even though it turns out he's something of an X-file himself, since he doesn't feel pain and there are hints there's more to it than that, but his skepticism ends up being more like denial because he just doesn't want to face the possible truth. I have to admit that the individual episode plots are rather on the silly side (and not intentionally so, like with Warehouse 13), but I love the main characters and their interaction, and the overall plot arc is intriguing. I particularly like the female lead because between the writing and the acting they seem to have found a way to convey assertiveness without it crossing the line to bitchy. She has a wry humor underlying even her most pushy moments, and her assertiveness never comes across as unreasonable. The guy is interesting to me primarily because the actor would be perfect casting for one of the main characters in the book that's currently simmering on the back burner. It was like he stepped out of my head. Their interplay is fun. They don't seem to be hitting us over the head with sexual tension, and while there is some "Don't tell me you didn't see that, how else would you explain it?" conflict, they don't do a lot of bickering. They mostly swap clever one liners. After watching the pilot, I immediately watched the next episode, and now I'm caught up and have to wait for the next new one.

And now since I have tons of reference books to plow through, and Working Girl is going to be on one of the HBO channels, I think I'm going to adjourn to the sofa for the afternoon. I have a lot of fondness for that movie, possibly because I first saw it on a great spontaneous quasi-date, but the theme song also makes me want to take over the world.

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