Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's Not the Jacket; It's the Content.

Very early this morning, a little after 2:30, before I went to bed, I began reading Five Chiefs: A Supreme Court Memoir by retired justice John Paul Stevens, owing to my interest in the Supreme Court (In fact, when the Court convenes on October 3, the first Monday in October as is tradition, it'll be the first time I follow a full term at length, using SCOTUSblog ( for that), and realized that it's not the book jacket I had an issue with when I read The GQ Candidate by Kelli Goff; it was the novel itself.

By the time I got up from a table near the large lobby of Edwards Valencia 12 to wait for Meridith outside the theater that Dolphin Tale 3D was playing at (I saw The Lion King 3D, and more about that tomorrow), I was on page 51 of Five Chiefs. And I had no beef with the book jacket. I slipped it back into center as necessary, and I didn't mind it.

If The GQ Candidate had been that absorbing, I would have not written anything about the book jacket. I was bored with it. The flashbacks to twenty-five years prior were tedious, and I connected not at all to any of the characters. The characters in anything don't even have to be likable for me to connect with them. I enjoy eccentricities, raw charisma, such as Michael Sheen as Castor/Zuse in Tron: Legacy, and entertaining evilness such as Scar in The Lion King. I liked Governor Luke Cooper, black and Jewish and running for the Democratic presidential nomination, and he seemed good-hearted, but very boring.

Stevens had served on the Court from 1975 to last year, and there's a wealth of experience to write about, as he does here, through the five Chief Justices he served, while also giving overviews of the first twelve Chief Justices of the United States before those chapters. He knows greatly of what he writes about, and his is a calm, measured voice, ably giving insight into the inner workings of the Supreme Court, making it accessible for all who are interested, but might not know so much, explaining the process by which cases are chosen to be heard.

No problem with the book jacket here!