Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sunday, October 18, 2015

One good book, one not-so-hot

Start with the one I didn't like, or at least I didn't like most of the characters and thought the plot was tedious - Jonathan Franzen's newest novel, Purity, 2015. He writes well, but who cares? Sigh. I thought this page was brilliant:

César, the new aide, was supposed to have been at Charles’s at six to give him a bath, PT, and a hot dinner. It was now eight-thirty. The trouble with Charles was that he didn’t like having aides but didn’t dislike it so much that he forbade Leila to employ them and oversee them. As a result, she did a lot of work for little thanks.

Striding down the concourse, she called Tom’s home number and was shunted straight to voice mail. Next she called the agency.

“People Who Need People, this is Emma,” said a girl who sounded about twelve.

“This is Leila Helou and I want to know why César isn’t at Charles Blenheim’s.”

“Oh hi, Mrs. Blenheim,” Emma said cheerfully. “César should have been there at six.”

“I’m aware of that. But he was not there at six. He’s still not there.”

“OK, no problem. I’ll see if we can find out where he is.”

“‘No problem’? It is a problem! And this is not the first time.”

“Sorry about that. I’ll find out where he is. It’s really no problem.”

“Please stop saying ‘no problem’ when we have a problem.”

“We’re a little shorthanded tonight. One sec … Oh, I see what happened. César had to fill in for another aide who got sick. He should be getting to Mr. Blenheim’s pretty soon.”

The agency couldn’t foresee a staff shortage? Thought it was OK to send someone three hours late and not notify them? Made a practice of pulling aides off scheduled visits and sending them to other clients? Didn’t even train its desk personnel to apologize?

Leila knew better than to ask these questions. She was halfway into the city when Emma called back. “OK, so, unfortunately it looks like César won’t be able to get away. But we do have someone else we can send out. She can’t do lifting, but she can help Mr. Blenheim with other things and keep him company.”

“Mr. Blenheim doesn’t need company. Mr. Blenheim only needs lifting.”

“OK, no problem. Let me reach out to César again.”

“Just forget the whole thing. Send a male aide out at nine tomorrow morning, and never mention the name César to me again. Can you do that for me? Is it no problem?”

but the rest of the book was really not good.

An interesting book though, was Quiet The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Non fiction book about introverts and extroverts. Interesting research and well written. Susan Cain wrote it, 2013.