Downton Abbey

Going without cable has been a new experience for me, but it’s turned out to be quite rewarding. I’ve rediscovered my love of audio books, and found myself picking up more hobbies than ever before. But, that aside, I still want to turn on the tube every now and then and today I am incredibly glad that I did.

PBS Masterpiece “Downton Abbey” was on and it’s incredible! It’s a WWI period piece but it’s high budget and well acted! It’s like all of the greatness of the BBC’s Jane Austen films without the horrid acting. (Don’t get me wrong though, those are still great..even if long!) Within half an episode of Downton Abbey I’d declared that I wanted the boxed set for Valentine’s Day; forget the chocolates and flowers this year!

Check it out! It’s on PBS every Sunday evening at 8 pm. You won’t be sorry!

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

Even now, weeks since I’ve finished reading Tom Rachman’s novel, The Imperfectionists, I’m not sure what to make of it. I picked it up off of a table that was buy two, get the third free (I’m a sucker for those sales!) because it was the only one on there, aside from the two I had planned to buy anyway, that I did not already own. The cover was enticing, with unusual lettering and a tied newspaper at the bottom; however, when I flipped it over to look at the description on the back I found nothing but several additional glowing reviews. A little irritated at the arrogance of designing a book cover such as this, I reluctantly bought it with the other two and let it sit on my shelf for a few weeks.

I picked it up out of desperation, really, since I had created a wish list of books for my birthday and Christmas, and felt that all of the titles on that list were off-limits until after those had past. As usual, people like to get me one book, or maybe two if I’m lucky, but try to stick to presents not on my list because everyone thinks “everyone gets [me] books.” That is fine with me because if I had it my way, I would own a houseful of books and wear goofy old t-shirts instead of the professional clothing that I’m required to wear for work. Alas, my friends and family pretty much keep me looking nice with sweaters and scarves and I appreciate it beyond words, but it still means I spend around 6 weeks each year not buying the books that I most want and then kicking myself for not purchasing them regardless of the list when I only get one or two from the list. To get to the point, I was about three weeks in to the dreadful six to eight week no-book-buying part of the year and I had finished all of my new books…except for The Imperfectionists.

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I am tempted to make this my shortest review yet by simply saying this: Yats is the best restaurant ever. Period. That being said, I don’t think I can resist this opportunity to gush over the incredibly good food and reminisce on the many, many meals I have enjoyed there.

Yats is my favorite restaurant, hands down. Yats specializes in Cajun-Creole food, and has been my go-to place for a quick bite to eat in Indianapolis for almost a decade now. For people located in and around Indianapolis, Yats is probably a staple in your diet, but for me it is food that I crave weekly and only get to eat once or twice a year. When I visit Indy, I try to go as many times as possible, often buying the stuff by the quart to freeze and bring home with me! Fortunately for my waistline and wallet, the food is even healthy and super affordable! For those of you with picky eaters in the family, they also offer rice with cheese and/or beans for children…I’m sure adults could get it too if they really won’t branch out.

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Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Having focused on modern and contemporary American literature, I was amazed to find that I had somehow overlooked Colum McCann’s writing until only recently. I’d heard of Zoli, and have been meaning to read it for many years now, but it has somehow never made it home with me. It’s supposed to be one of the best historical fiction books about Gypsies in World War II Europe, and after reading Let the Great World Spin I cannot wait to get my hands on McCann’s other books.

With an entirely new time period, cast of characters, and tone, Let the Great World Spin ultimately tells the tale of an unnamed thrill seeker who, on a quest for bigger and greater challenges, finds himself walking, running, dancing, and laying on a tightrope suspended over 100 stories in the air between the twin towers. The novel strives to reveal the slowly spreading reactions of the audience as it spreads from street corner to street corner, then to the news reports on tv,  into the court house, and then into the minds and narratives of the bustling city of NYC. The slowness of people to recognize what was happening above their heads reminded me of just how ingrained it is for us to view the world in view limited to people and shaped by our expectations/definitions of normal. The thrill seeker, by placing himself in an unexpected space, is arguably challenging the confines of the human view and also challenging the assumption that what he is doing is actually a performance. If it is out of the scope of view of his audience, I find myself re-thinking his motives and, yet again, who this adrenaline junkie is and why he has worked so hard for this single stunt.

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