Saturday, November 3, 2012

Beautiful Ruins

Thanks to Red for hosting what may be the last ever BC in The 'Dena.  The night started out like a skit from The Californians, with at least the first half hour devoted to "How did you get hearre?"  Be it The 10 to The 110 to The 5, or The 405 to The 101 to The 134, it just goes to show our DEDICATION to discussing a good book among friends over lots and lots of wine.  We started off with pepadew peppers stuffed with chevre and a platter of spinach and feta spanikopita, followed by a hearty vegetarian bean chili (with a kick!) out of the Once Upon a Tart cookbook, accompanied by corn bread and jalapeno jelly, followed by French cookies and petits fours to finish off the evening.  Lish!

Once Upon a Tart in NYC... probably underwater now

Welcome to the Maharani!  We're delighted and excited to have you on board (even if you did get a bit of a break the first month since you already read the book)! 

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter scored roughly a 6.  Forget the relative merits or detractions in the story, the Maharani brought the hammer down right out of the starting gate with a criticism of the cover!  That's right, we're talking about the book jacket.  El Jefe thinks this is a BC first, but, hey, what's the point of a new member if they don't bring fresh commentary to the table?!  Specifically (sorry, just can't resist), one can't judge a book by its cover after all.  If you thought you were picking up a sophisticated, subtle tale of love and loss, nostalgically set in the Cinque Terre circa 1950--well, you were, that is until you flip to the chapter about the cheesy movie producer and the even cheesier dude with the tattoo hawking his Donner Party movie script.  Say what?  Exactly.  It's not that this book was terrible.  It was really two books, one of which most people liked (the one about broken hearts on the Italian coastline and Richard Burton and Liz Taylor) and the other of which was more or less lame.  (This is how El Jefe is remembering the consensus opinion three weeks later, however, admittedly it may just be El Jefe's opinion.)  But really, this story was not all bad, or even half bad.  Certainly there was humor in this book, from the madcap hijinx that unfolded on the set of Cleopatra, to the descriptions of the producer Michael Deane's plastic surgery, to the charmingly named Hotel Adequate View.  The way the book mixed in real life personalities from 1950's Hollywood also was fun, and there were a number of likable characters from Pasquale the innkeeper to Alvis Bender the novel writer to the drunk fisherman on the beach in Porto Vergogna.  Although Beautiful Ruins won't go down in BC history as a fine piece of literature, it was an easy and enjoyable enough read, and (in retrospect) a breath of fresh air in comparison to next month's beast!!

 Cinque Terre, Italia

Those lips! No wonder she fell for him!

Our next meeting is on Monday at the Maharani's house.  El Jefe is on apps and Red on dessert.  Come with your note pads to review the propositions and your calendars to pick a date for Holiday BC.  Hope you've been reading early and often.  xoej