Daily Horoscope & NYTBR 17 February 2008

Dear blog readers, today self’s horoscope is:

Throughout the day, waves of anger and joy and other tumultuous emotions will make you feel like you work in an Off-Broadway theater.


This morning, digging through a huge pile of “stuff” overflowing the top drawer of her desk, self finally dredges up copies of Dearest Mum’s Bank of America statements. Not only does she uncover these, there are also Dearest Mum’s statements from each and every bank where she has an account. Dearest Mum sent these to self in a humongous pile last fall, so that when self marches smartly into Bank of America office in Burlingame (where Dearest Mum opened her account, because her best friend lives in Hillsborough, so she figured this particular branch is used to dealing with “classy” people like ourselves), self would have the wherewithal to show that: a) she is no fresh-off-the-boat immigrant; b) Dearest Mum has means, these two being the pieces of information Dearest Mum thinks are most vital to bringing her fraud case to a prompt resolution.

Ahhh, ahhh, of course, none of these have worked with implacable Bank of America officials. And just before self caves in and does what all of her uncles have been urging her to do since before Christmas (“Sue! This is America!”), she has decided to make one last-ditch effort to reach a Bank of America official. And this morning, before self can even say “Abracadabra,” there emerges a Filipina woman in B of A Customer Service.

And, once again, self finds herself spilling the whole sorry tale: the six charges from Landmark in one day; the further charges from Rustan’s Supermarket (apologies if all of this is beginning to sound extremeley burlesque-like, dear blog readers), all of these charges appearing while Dearest Mum was staying in Daly City with self’s aunt. And, by the way, let’s not even mention that if these charges from above-mentioned supermarket(s) were indeed legit, it would be akin to Dearest Mum having bought out entire contents of both supermarkets. Which, as we all know, is impossible. For Dearest Mum eats like a bird and has an absolute horror of gaining even one lb. over her “ideal weight” of 98 lbs.

Okey-dokey! Ms. Filipina Customer Service informs self that Dearest Mum’s fraud complaint has passed “the statute of limitations,” or something like that. The sound of her voice is echo-y and self isn’t sure she heard right. In addition, there is a kind of creeping guilt that is beginning to make itself felt in self’s person (in the form of a migraine).

    If only self hadn’t been so distracted by winning the Juked Fiction Contest!
    If only self hadn’t been so distracted by son going on Mother of All Road Trips!
    If only self hadn’t been so distracted by Beloved Sister-in-Law being diagnosed with tuberculosis and leukemia!

Now, self can do nothing but wait. For dear Bank of America Filipina informs self that she doubts she can help, but will try. And in the meantime, here is The New York Times Book Review, which is just the ticket to distract self from her mundance concerns about Dearest Mum’s money. Below, the list of books self is interested in reading after perusing the 17 February 2008 NYTBR:

(1) After reading Elinor Lipman’s review of Alex Witchel’s new novel, The Spare Wife:

    Edith Wharton’s autobiography of growing up among the New York hoi polloi, A Backward Glance

(2) After reading Jim Shepard’s review of Mark Harris’s Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood:

    Mark Harris’s Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood

(3) After reading Francis Fukuyama’s review of Samantha Power’s Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World:

    Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World

(4) After reading Nathaniel Rich’s review of Imre Kertesz’s latest novel, Detective Story:

    Kertesz’s Detective Story

(5) After reading Rachel Donadio’s end-paper essay, “The Paranoiac and The Paris Review” :

    two novels (published in the late 50s) by Harold L. Humes: The Underground City and Men Die
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