Friday, September 15, 2006

Jury duty reading suggestions

I was at jury duty yesterday, being shuffled from room to room and doing a lot of waiting and clockwatching. I also did a little bit of reading. In fact, I packed up my bag full of goodies before leaving the office on Wednesday, because I'm the kind of person who packs books for a short train ride or an hour or two in a doctor's waiting room like I'm being banished to a desert island... "What if I'm not in the mood for this by tomorrow? I should bring a few alternates." That sort of thing. In this case, my mobile library served me well...

1. 3 copies of SUDOKU TO GO. This was more like a drug study than anything else. Honestly, I've probably written 20 press releases about how addictive these puzzles are, and I've seen friends and family have their lives ruined by the addictive nature of the things, but I've only completed one puzzle and never tried another. Which is another way of saying "but I didn't inhale," I guess. I left these up at the desk at the jury pool with the rest of the "How To Be a Juror" pamphlets. They were gone by the time I sat back down... Junkies, I tell ya...

2. 1 bound galley of Bob Littell's VICIOUS CIRCLE. I had never served jury duty before (it's taken them a while to find me) so I was a little nervous and distracted. I also hate being in courthouses and hospitals, because despite the miracles of medicine or the justice of law, something bad for someone is always going on in there. Long story short, VICIOUS CIRCLE was a little too thrilling a thriller for me in this particular environment and kind of made me edgy, so it went back into the bag.

3. 1 copy of Peter Blegvad's THE BOOK OF LEVIATHAN. The other thing that was difficult about reading VICIOUS CIRCLE was they were constantly calling out names and taking roll of the different people being shuttled to the various courtrooms, and it was hard to keep track of that while following the action on the page. So I'm glad I grabbed a collection of Peter Blegvad's LEVIATHAN comics from London's Independent newspaper on my way out the door. This was just the thing... Fans of George Harriman's Krazy Kat comics, or Calvin & Hobbes, or even Ivan Brunetti and Art Speigelman will get a kick out of this stuff. I only grabbed it because it was a beautiful book, so I was really surprised. Also, the short panels and storylines were easy to follow while being assaulted by a video of medieval viking guys beating up some dude, tying him up, and throwing him in the river. Apparently "trial by ordeal" was the predecessor to our justice system, or at least that's what the cast of 60 Minutes told me in the instructional video. I couldn't recommend this highly enough. LEVIATHAN, that is, not the juror video. You can check out a sampling of Blegvad's handywork here.

4. 1 copy of The Economist magazine. The issue with the special report on climate change! I wonder if they decided to call it the "Special Report on Climate Change" instead of the "Special Report on Global Warming" because they figured since no one in power believes that global warming exists, if they called it "climate change," someone might pay attention. Depressing, but helpfully broken into small articles.

--John Mark

No comments: