I have a new post up with some notes on non-Bryce-Harper players I saw at the Tournament of Stars this week.

River Ave Blues looked at the final mock drafts of the major draft analysts, and they ranked mine as the most accurate.

I’m holding the review of Word Freak for now, as Stefan agreed to a brief Q&A about the book and his current Scrabble habits and I’m waiting for the response.

Alan Lightman’s slim, quick-reading 2007 novel Ghost revolves around a very ordinary man, David Kurzweil, whose life is turned upside down when he sees something out of the corner of his eye that he can’t identify or explain. He ends up at the center of a public controversy over the existence of the supernatural, turning his life upside down as he struggles to decide what exactly he saw, and what it might mean.

The ostensible subject of the book is that battle between faith and skepticism, and Lightman – the first professor to receive a joint appointment in the sciences and the humanities at MIT – limits the phony dialogue and extended narrative digressions that can easily ruin a book like this, instead creating a raft of secondary characters to represent many different views on the subject. (Oddly enough, the one role he omits is the traditionalist – at no point does David seek counsel from clergy of any faith.) Lightman also cleverly confounds any attempt by his characters to provide a clear resolution to the question, as proving or disproving the existence of the supernatural is not his aim.

I think the book’s ultimate theme – or perhaps moral – is that, in the small view, it doesn’t matter whether David’s experience represented a genuine contact with the supernatural, but whether he fully believes in it himself. David doesn’t see any meaning in life, so he lives a life without meaning. He has a job that, at the time he takes it and even at the time that he sees whatever he sees, is just a job. His love life is in shambles, with a divorce that he hasn’t emotionally accepted after eight years and a girlfriend to whom he can’t fully connect. As he finds himself forced to defend what he saw from skeptics and from co-opters, his personality begins to emerge from a hibernation that may have started when his father died when David was still a child. He has shied away from real relationships for at least the eight years since the divorce, and perhaps for longer (the marriage did fail, after all), and suddenly is forced to deal with people and to define himself along the way. Whether the supernatural exists is not Lightman’s question; he’s exploring what would happen to an ordinary man placed into an extraordinary situation that has the potential to change his life in either direction.

Next up: One of those books that people can’t believe I haven’t read previously – Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea.


  1. robert mchugh

    Keith as a big book guy, you looking forward to TIm Burtons take on “Alice In Wonderland”? Here’s Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter

    It comes out a month before Iron Man2, Nottingham, A-Team, Toy Story 3 and a few weeks before Clash of the Titans. Could be a monster movie for a few weeks

  2. The Old Man and the Sea is the only Hemingway book I can revisit anymore. I find all of his others maddening now due to his style, especially with the dialogue. For me, it can be easy to lose track of who’s speaking because Hem forgoes the he said, she said, etc. for the most part. Perhaps my attention span is slipping… Old Man and the Sea, however, benefits from simplicity by virtue of having few characters.

  3. Hi Keith (and all), Saw this cryptic crossword clue and thought it may be up your alley:

    Road crew agitated about a guy who got a lot of hits (3,5)

  4. Easy – and I got mad hits like I was … …..

  5. I know.. so easy, but nice play into a Beastie Boys reference! Here’s two I made up:

    Bash Brother rookie mate defaces punk relic (4,5)

    Catching son puts U.S. Govt. Rds. Dept. inside alien (2,3)

  6. Where’s that board game article?