I'm commuting to my new job, so I got a book on CD from the library to make the trip pass more quickly. Unfortunately, I can only listen to it for so long before I need to switch to music or talk on the phone - otherwise I end up, as I did two days ago, taking a nap at a Subway parking lot in Barneveld, WI. But it does help the time pass.
I'm listening to The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman. I read her Practical Magic a couple years ago and found it enjoyable, so I thought I'd give this one a try. Whoa, I just realized that the protagonist is never named. Well, anyway, she is a lightning strike survivor. Her brother Ned is a meteorologist who studies lightening strike victims. She's moved to Florida to be near him after their grandmother, who she was caring for, dies.
I'm enjoying it, but there's really a bit too much symbolism for me. She's still hiding from her emotions and getting involved with people since her mom died when the protagonist was eight years old. She's also, as a consequence of the strike, always physically cold, and drinks steaming hot tea even in summer. Another side effect is her loss of the ability to see the color red. All red things now appear white or gray, icy. So red, passion, has turned to ice. Okay, I get it. She meets a man who was also struck by lightning, Seth
Lazarus" Jones, who was dead and came back to life. Now he's always hot: his breathe sets paper on fire, his touch leaves heat blisters on people's skin. They're opposites, and they are powerfully attracted to each other. It's the first time the main character has allowed herself to feel passion for someone.
Yeah, yeah. It's a bit much for me. I'm also feeling cranky about it because the main character's scientist brother, observing the moon, mentions that there is zero gravity there. Not true! A scientist in particular wouldn't make that mistake. Gravity is 1/6th as strong on the moon as on Earth, but it's not ZERO. Come on.
And yet I want to know what happens.
I'm reading Just Kids, Patti Smith's account of her friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe. It's a great window into life in New York City in the 1970s. It reminds me of Please Kill Me, which details the history of NYC punk through a series of interviews with the people who were there (I can't recommend Please Kill Me enough, by the way).
Soon I will go to Borders and buy the new Scarlett Thomas book, Our Tragic Universe. It's a pretty depressing title, but I'm excited regardless.