156 Years Ago

Weather once more bright and beautiful altho’ very warm. Business was not so very bad, not even as much so as I anticipated for the present season. I did not have much time to devote to my French during day. In the evening I was too tired to do any thing at it. So accepted Mr. Brown’s invitation and went to the Atheneum with him. Mrs. Wilkinson continues [as] the presiding Star of the House, her acting in the Italian Wife was very good. We did not stay for the last piece before going home however we did indulge in a ‘Julip’ at the U.S. Hotel for which I had to fork over. To bed 11. Exp 25c.

This is from a diary of a Cincinnati merchant that my wife found at the Missouri Historical Society. Apparently, the author, one Joseph J. Mersman, was just as meticulous about describing his activities when he was more interested in visits to the bawdy house than the theatre. I was intrigued how his writing sounds more like a like a blog posting. By the next year, he was in St. Louis writing longer but less frequent entries chronicling his responses to the recent events of the day. News of the New York City Opera House Riot is fed through his innuendo filter, while he tells a gripping tale of the St. Louis waterfront fire that deserves the Hollywood treatment. Weekly Exp: $1.50

Cannie Chameleon

Okay, I had a very complicated system to determine which books I was going to read in my spare time. As that time became very sparse this last semester, and some books, traveling books, were becoming rather urgent, I've had to reprioritize my TBR stacks (four of them) into one, with overdue bookrings at the top.

I got the Krakauer book out the door a couple of weeks ago. Next up was Jennifer Weiner's Good in Bed, which, I guess, has really fired up the whole American "chick-lit" scene. One thing I like about Weiner is her eagerness to embrace her genre label, and stand up for it. Check out her blog, SnarkSpot, for a spirited takedown of Erica Jong's sidewise glance at "chick-lit."

While I enjoyed Good in Bed, it was one of the few books where I wished for a bit more depth in the male characters. They fall into the demon/saint category. Of course, Dr. K sees past Cannie's snarky facade to see her inner wonderfulness, but I guess I can't see why her did made his choices. I was expecting something from that storyline, and all I got was an explanation for Cannie's emotional neediness. I don't want to be the kind of father that Cannie had, so I was hoping for some sort of insight, besides "Don't be a jerk", into why Jennifer Weiner thinks a guy would abandon one set of kids to create a new batch. Eh. Oh well. Not like I was going to get everything tied up in a nice wrapped package.

Still, I gave it a "Really Good" at AlexLit. And the book is off to New Hampshire, and I'm off to the next book in the stack.