Project Enterprise: Supersize TNG

insurrection9. Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) This wasn't bad. But it felt more like a supersized TV show than an actual movie. A fine adventure for the Next Generation crew. But nothing special.

Overall: B- My husband came in toward the end and commented that this is the one where everyone seems like swingers. The Ba'ku don't quite strike me that way -- more like a slightly annoying New Age commune. And they are just way too clean for an agrarian society.

Plot: B+ This would have been one of the great TNG episodes on TV. For one thing they started out violating the Prime Directive -- one of their favorite things to do. For another, Fountain of Youth and all that. And a love interest for Picard is always nice. They went almost light enough on the comic relief, too. The only one who can really pull it off is Worf.

Costumes: B- Nothing new on the Starfleet side, the New Age Ba'ku have Renaissance Faire peasant garb. Which is way too clean. The So'Na's clothes are OK but nothing special.

Extra cast members: B F. Murray Abraham does his usual good job. He's no Ricardo Montalban, of course.  I was struck this time by Anthony Zerbe, playing Admiral Dougherty, don't know where I know him from.

F/X: B+ This is almost entirely for the skin stretching and stapling the So'Na go through -- gross! And new to the series.

Series ranking: 1. Wrath of Khan 2. First Contact 3. The Voyage Home 4. Insurrection. 5. Generations 6. The Undiscovered Country 7. The Search for Spock 8. The Motion Picture 9. The Final Frontier

Project Enterprise: Seeing Double


10. Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)This movie is all about the doubles. Data's got a clone. Picard's got a clone. If I'm Riker or Geordie, I'm like hey how come I don't have a clone?

Overall: B Better than the last one. At least this felt like a movie, with some real scope and a big-screen villain. They should get docked, though, for calling the bad guys' ship a "scimitar."

Plot: B+ Doubles. B-4 is Data's "little brother." Shinzon is Picard's Romulan-engineered clone. All about mortality? Sure, why not? It worked for Wrath of Khan.

Costumes: B Romulans OK, Shinzon OK, Starfleet no change.

Extra cast members: A- Really only one but he's a good one -- Tom Hardy is Shinzon! And he's good, too -- way skinner than he is as Bane. But the same gravelly menacing voice.

F/X: B- Shinzon's deteriorating face isn't bad, but that's really all there is.

Series ranking: 1. Wrath of Khan 2. First Contact 3. The Voyage Home 4. Nemesis 5. Insurrection. 6. Generations 7. The Undiscovered Country 8. The Search for Spock 9. The Motion Picture 10. The Final Frontier

And the survey says ...

Richard-Dawson-225x300I lifted this one from Citizen Reader, a blog I admire greatly. You should check it out. Author You've Read The Most Books From: If you went by my LibraryThing account, it would be Patrick O'Brian. But I'll be honest about my romance habit and admit it's more likely Georgette Heyer, from my high school days, or Lisa Kleypas, from more recent years.

Best Sequel Ever: I know I'm supposed to say Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel -- but I'm going to go with Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness, just because.

Currently Reading: Wedlock by Wendy Moore and The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Drink of Choice While Reading: Coffee ... or, later in the day, white wine with a couple ice cubes in it. Yeah, I'm classy like that. I already told you I read romance!

E-reader of Physical Book? Either/or depending on the book. Genre fiction works well for me on an e-reader, and not just because people can't see what you're reading. But I still need the physical page for focus with nonfiction or literary fiction.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School: I would have had a massive crush on Yunior from Junot Diaz's stories. But I doubt he would have dated me. Otherwise, Quentin from Lev Grossman's novels The Magicians and The Magician King. I liked geeks in high school. I still do.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: Lost Girls by Robert Kolker - I don't read a lot of contemporary true crime but this book WAY transcends that label and delivers a complex and disturbing portrait of the life some young women are living.

Hidden Gem Book: Other Powers by Barbara Goldsmith. A biography of a remarkable woman -- Victoria Woodhull -- who defied pretty much every convention she came across. A great portrait of late 19th century America while you're at it, which I think is what a terrific biography provides.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life: 1) When I successfully defied my second-grade teacher, who thought Caddie Woodlawn was too advanced for me to check out of the library, by showing her the card that proved I had already checked the book out like five times 2) When Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series helped get me through the horrible year of 2005, when I was editing the local daily, coping with a horrendous hurricane year in work and life and also dealing with a couple major medical crises. Those books were just what my brain needed.

Just Finished: Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace by Kate Summerscale. Not as absorbing as her previous book, The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, or as jaw-dropping as her first book, The Queen of Whale Cay, but a worthy read that will make you consider and appreciate how important feminism is. Or women's rights, if you prefer that term.

Kinds of Books You Won't Read: Horror (never read anything by Stephen King; I'm just a wuss that way) and certain flavors of popular women's fiction, of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood school. Yech.

Longest Book You've Read: I honestly don't know the answer to this but the longest book I've read in recent memory is A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin.

Major Book Hangover Because Of: Not sure about this question. If it means the kind of book that hangs around your head making you feel kind of bad after you've finished, it would be The Disenchanted by Budd Schulberg. If it means the kind of book where you're depressed because it's over and you really wanted to stay in that world for longer if not forever, then maybe Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. And the George R.R. Martin books count in both categories, actually.

Number of Bookcases You Own: Two -- but one of them is really, really big. And a couple of booktrucks, if that counts.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times: Jane Eyre. I used to read it every year at Christmas, when I was in my 20s and far from home. It changes from reading it as a kid (identifying with young Jane in the horrible school) to a young woman (identifying with Jane the governess in love) to ... a more mature reader. Who does have to wonder if that Rochester guy is really worth all that heartache given his track record and treatment of our heroine.

Preferred Place to Read: A porch or deck -- outside but in the shade/under cover. I especially like to read on a covered porch in the rain.

Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All the Feels From A Book You've Read: I'm not the kind of person who remembers or writes down quotes like this. So instead I'll just go with the Groucho Marx classic that covers two of my favorite things in life, books and dogs: "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

Reading Regret: I haven't read Moby-Dick and I gave up on Vanity Fair (even though I liked it). Is that what they mean by regret?

Series You Started and Need to Finish (all books are out in series): Patrick O'Brian again, for real this time.

Three of Your All-Time Favorite Books: The Song of the Dodo by David Quammen, One Art by Elizabeth Bishop and Titan by Ron Chernow. All nonfiction, come to think of it. Is that weird?

Unapologetic Fangirl For: Naomi Novik's Temeraire series. Yeah, there be dragons. And they are awesome.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All the Others: I'm supposed to say the next book in the Hilary Mantel Cromwell series, right? And I am excited for that. But I'll say the next book in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness because I'm trying to be ruthlessly honest here. Also because I know what's going to happen to Thomas Cromwell, but I don't know how Harkness will wind up her trilogy.

Worst Bookish Habit: Hoarding. I do it with books I own. I do it with library books even though I can presumably get them back out if I am actually going to read them. And I do it with advanced review copies. Fortunately I now have that really, really big bookshelf.

X Marks the Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I bought it and started reading during a church-attending period of my life ... but gave up when I came across the anti-gay passage. For one thing, why? For another, Lewis was the childhood author I read most, possibly after Laura Ingalls Wilder, so it's heartbreaking to see him expose himself as a bigot, even if it was a different time.

Your Latest Book Purchase: The Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoller Seitz, as a birthday gift for my husband. It hasn't arrived yet but I'm pretty safe because he doesn't read this blog. (Do you?)

ZZZ-snatcher Book (last book that kept you up WAY late): I stay up later than I intend to not infrequently -- but the last book I really remember having this effect was Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn's first novel. Or maybe it was Blindspot by Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore. Not sure which I read most recently but both were impossible to put down, even to sleep.

Shelf Consciousness

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="1529,1530,1531,1532,1533,1534,1510,1535"] For the last year, almost all of our books have been in boxes. (I use the first person plural here to refer to my husband and me, not in some pretentious royal sense, by the way.) We packed in March of last year, moved in April and have been recovering ever since. A few times over the last year, I thought maybe we shouldn't have so many books in the first place because we managed to get along without them. But I missed them -- not just specific books I wanted for a specific reason, but the comfort of those volumes we had kept because we loved them so -- and those that we hadn't read yet, so they were still full of promise.

In the last month we finally got our friend Rudi to build the set of bookshelves we had envisioned. No, that's not true. We envisioned a big set of shelves on a mostly blank wall. Our architect friends told us we should fill in the entire wall, all the way up to the peak. Rudi took that concept, and the existing circular window, and turned it into art.

A little more than a week ago it was finally done -- the fitting and cutting and sanding and varnishing. It was finally time to start emptying the boxes. Then we had to figure out how to shelve the books.

I hadn't worried about this too much -- in fact, I'd looked forward to it -- because I'd assumed that since I work in a library, my opinions on this would rule the day. I wasn't planning to insist on Dewey Decimal shelving (or, God forbid, Library of Congress). But I figured we'd divide it by fiction vs. nonfiction, shelve the fiction alphabetically like we do at the library, and shelve the nonfiction roughly by subject.

Mark objected on the grounds that "systems never work." (Tell that to all the cataloguers and shelvers in the world, honey!) But I quickly realized that in our particular situation, he was right -- my proposed system wouldn't work -- or if it did, it would require regular use of an extension ladder. We are both very fond, for example, of the works of Michael Chabon. But if we went alphabetically, he'd wind up 13 feet up.

Our fabulous new bookshelf does indeed go all the way to the peak. Which is 15 feet. It doesn't include a ladder. It probably should, but attaching hardware to this baby would kill me. So the books going on the high-up shelves are books that, by necessity, we don't expect to be consulting any time soon. Which means they are absolutely perfect for the books that used to make us feel terribly guilty for taking up shelf space. Books we've read, don't expect to read again but just can't let go of. Books that loved ones gave us that we can't bear to give away .I've got a few like that from my dad, who was a serious book hound in his later years. I treasure "Yesterdays: A History of Massachusetts State College 1863-1933," a book about the institution that later became UMass Amherst, where my parents both spent their entire working lives and is my alma mater. But I don't expect to sit down and read it any time soon, if ever.

Mark agreed with the fiction vs. nonfiction divide, with a couple of exceptions where ambidextrous authors like Nick Hornby are shelved all together, or a novelist's single book of essays -- like Chabon's "Maps and Legends" -- go with his other works. Our Trinidad section includes fiction and non. Otherwise, fiction is kind of a free-for-all though it's been unexpectedly liberating to just be able to put the books wherever we choose, defying the tyranny of the alphabet. We grouped writer's works together. We put things within arm's reach that are either in the lineup or likely to be soon. Both of us are working our way, slowly, through Patrick O'Brian so those books have a nice chin-level spot. I've arranged some recent writers from the Key West Literary Seminar together, something I'd never get away with at a "real" library except as a temporary display. I've got a section of galleys which we get at the library -- if I don't get to them in a certain amount of time, I tend to give them away so they'll circulate. True crime, a growing interest especially the historical stuff, is on the bottom shelf. It's a tad inconvenient but it's accessible.

Nonfiction was both easier and trickier. Except for the high-up books, we agreed to group those basically by subject -- but our categorizing is broad to say the least. There's natural history/science. There are essays, nonfiction about literature (including essays) and a small section of books about books. There's European history, English history and American history. I put those in mostly chronological order, though I separated out the omnibus volumes from the books that chronicle more specific times and people. I was the littlest bit sorry to see that I apparently purged Norman Davies' massive tome "The Isles," which had been sitting on my shelves reproaching me, both for being silly enough to buy the damned thing and then not reading it, for well over a decade. I'd actually have room for it now and the shelves would suit a four-inch monster like that. And I always feel comforted to own a bunch of doorstopping tomes, in case my library and I survive the apocalypse and my Kindle purchases aren't available in the post-apocalyptic era.

We're still settling into our relationship with this bookshelf. I plan some minor re-organizing within the natural history/science section. But it's just about set and it is truly wonderful to have almost all of our books in one place. The scariest part is that there is room to grow.

Not very closely related but still interesting, if you're interested in things like shelving and classification is this recent blog post from a reference librarian, objecting to the label "non-fiction" as an organizing concept for libraries. I'd never thought about it but it IS kind of irritating that such a broad and diverse array of books is most essentially defined by what it is not.

Outside of a dog

I was pretty sure I was going to like Dennis Lehane's new book, Live By Night, when I read this line on page 36, referring to a gangster who had strangled a guy:

"It had been over opium, a woman, or a German shorthaired pointer; to this day Joe had only heard rumors."

You just don't get that many GSP references in fiction.

Fortunately, by the time I reached the end of the book I had lots of other reasons to like it. You can read them in my review that ran in today's Miami Herald.

Awesome German shorthaired pointer photograph by Mark Hedden, shot yesterday at Wahoo Key.