you_are_free.jpgThe Man Who Saved Britain: a Personal Journey into the Disturbing World of James Bond by Simon Winder is uneven but full of hilarious insights into the tastelessness of pubescent male Bond fans (my brother and I both qualified); Winder shows how the evolution of Fleming’s fantasy world parallels the grimness of recent British history • You Are Free by Cat Power I enjoyed more than the soulful recent The Greatest • Children of Men for the cinematography, with amazing tracking shots, and the well-realized future Britain–the plot and acting are fine but not its strengths • I’d been wanting to read Epitaph for a Peach by David Masumoto for its elegiac portrayal of the decline of heirloom farming in California, but it’s a beautiful and hopeful book too • Straight Man by Richard Russo — a university novel with just enough absurdism • Finished The Wire (Season 3), which has to be the best show on TV; like CSI and that ilk, but for adults shop_around_corner.jpg• The Shop Around The Corner (1940, with Margaret Sullavan and Jimmy Stewart), a better Christmas movie than It’s A Wonderful Life • Noticing a new bulb coming up each day through the mulch of Fall’s leaves • This American Life, now available as a podcast, reminding those of us who got too infuriated by NPR’s hideous pledge drives why public radio matters • Making your own sausage rolls with home-made puff pastry (not the wildly overpriced stuff in Whole Foods) and good North Carolina pork • For too long I assumed Bright Eyes was just for shoe-gazing emo kids, but I’m pleased to have my mind changed when I finally listened to I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning–I’ll have to try more Conor Oberst, as long as he doesn’t cry too much during the songs • Getting the New York Times Sunday edition delivered.

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