Why I’m going to cheat.
So, we decided to go to Spain for the summer. The plan was that without any distractions, I would finish writing my current book, and hopefully, get a good start on the next one. Only, here’s the thing. Despite all the advice to writers to turn off the internet, nobody really does that. At least, nobody from Seattle. In Seattle, home of Mama Starbucks, Aunty Amazon, and the Evil Empire, we have two god-given inalienable rights: good coffee and strong network connections. 24/7. No exceptions.
So when we arrived in our purposely rural little rental villa (two days and much car failure late, but that’s a story for the next blog), the first thing I did was check for the promised wifi. (I had emergency backup Starbucks with me, of course. Duh…) Our lovely hosts don’t speak English. Nada. My Spanish is limited to the request for the pen of my aunt, which is about all I remember from sixth-grade Spanish classes. Our (online) Google Translate wasn’t online, of course. Eventually, our hosts began to smile. “Ah, weefee. Sí. Lo tenemos.” They were pointing to their mobile phone. “Qué?” I asked, making a severe dent in my Spanish knowledge. They nodded and smiled again. And left.
By the next morning, I had figured out that if I stand in the far corner of the living room and hold my phone out the window, I could get a signal. (And no, I don’t want to reveal how long it took me to find that exact spot. Sleep is way the heck overrated if you’re having a weefee crisis.) Using that, I translated “What is your password for the weefee?” (¿Cuál es la contraseña para el weefee?) They looked shocked. But, by the end of the day, they had dubiously brought over a slip of paper with a long password and the name of their network. Which, of course, didn’t work. Seems that the two-foot stone walls of the ancient converted mill we had rented were not particularly weefee permeable.
Several days of corner translations later, and we had worked out a deal. We could have the router in the mornings, and they would have it in the evenings. Now, if I could only convince them that since the weefee is connected to their mobile phone, it doesn’t do me much good to have the weefee-machina if they then leave with the phone. But I have a fallback plan.
What does all this have to do with the Friday Five Challenge? Well, my plan is simple: this week I’m going to cheat. One of my very favorite books EVER, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, is on my Kindle already. I would buy it all over again just for the fantastic cover. So I’m going to write up my challenge, and start drinking. In the nearby town is a lovely square surrounded by bars with outside seating, all of which offer free weefee. Of course, mostly it doesn’t work so you have to work your way around the square from bar to bar until you can get online. If I’m not too smashed by that time, I’ll add a few graphics and links and post this Challenge. (Of course, if I can’t tell I’m too smashed, it could end up interesting…)
Rosie Amber’s Friday Five challenge is to take ONLY FIVE MINUTES to browse an unfamiliar category and select a book based solely on the cover art.
To Elgie Branch, a Microsoft wunderkind, she’s his hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled wife.
To fellow mothers at the school gate, she’s a menace.
To design experts, she’s a revolutionary architect.
And to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, quite simply, mum.
Then Bernadette disappears. And Bee must take a trip to the end of the earth to find her.
WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE is a compulsively readable, irresistibly written, deeply touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s place in the world.
- Book Title: Where’d You Go, Bernadette
- Author: Maria Semple
- Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (June 7, 2012)
- Price: $9.28/£5.99
- Reviews: 4132 for a total of 4.2 out of 5 stars
- Pages: 337
My Analysis: (Okay, actually my review. 5-Stars, of course.)
Greetings from sunny Seattle, where women are “gals,” people are “folks,” a little bit is a “skosh,” if you’re tired you’re “logy,” if something is slightly off it’s “hinky,” you can’t sit Indian-style but you can sit “crisscross applesauce,” when the sun comes out it’s never called “sun” but always “sunshine,” boyfriends and girlfriends are “partners,” nobody swears but someone occasionally might “drop the f-bomb,” you’re allowed to cough but only into your elbow, and any request, reasonable or unreasonable, is met with “no worries.”
Have I mentioned how much I hate it here?–Maria Semple, Where’d You Go, Bernadette
My first day of work in Seattle, someone whispered about a coworker who “dropped the f-bomb”. Since I came out of software and we were dropping the entire f-word without any euphemisms, this struck me as completely hilarious. So of course I adored Maria Semple’s Bernadette for calling Seattle on that one. And really — what’s not to love about this book? For me, anyway, it echoed my own love/hate relationship with Seattle, with mother/daughter relationships, with the passive/aggressive behavior that Seattle has raised to an art form, with the tree-hugging, granola, birkenstocks with socks, & goats culture, and with the overall loving, accepting, and nurturing the place manages to provide despite itself.
Problems with this book? Well, yes, I did think the whole escape (no spoilers so I won’t say where) was fairly lame. As a mother, I found it difficult that the daughter was abandoned. And I’m not an architect, so I don’t care whether those references are accurate or just the metaphor that I took them to be.
But I am smart, and that’s given me the chance to be around people who are at the genius level by any measurement. And what I particularly love about this book is that Semple gets the very brilliant people right. They still screw up, but they use their intelligence to analyze their emotions, revise their hypotheses, and do it right the next time.
Yep. I love Seattle, and I love “Where’d You Go, Bernadette“. You will too.
BUY or PASS: BUY (and buy extras for your daughters)
Here is Rosie’s Friday Five Challenge. It only took five minutes and a couple more to write up, and was a ton of fun. I hope you’ll consider joining in. All Rosie asks is that you link back to her original post here so we can all join in viewing your challenge results.
AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?
My Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….
- Go to any online book supplier,
- Randomly choose a category,
- Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,
- Read the book Bio/ Description for this book, and any other details.
- If there are reviews, check out a couple,
- Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?
- I’ll be back next week with another Friday Five Challenge, do feel free to join in.