The Breakfast Table

Fruit Leaves and Water Pipes

Dear Katie,

That War and Peace story won’t quit, will it? One of my colleagues here was at the Met that night, and the next morning she looked pretty shaken—she’d really thought someone might have been seriously hurt. Death by overacting? I suppose there are worse ways to go. Personally, I think they should pay the poor guy to perform his mosh-pit leap every night. The Met hasn’t sounded this interesting for a long time. As for Monica (talk about mosh pit leaps), she’d be better off playing a shrink on television: Couldn’t Dr. Melfi, of The Sopranos, use an apprentice?

I love your take on the Shakespearean cross-dressing in the Middle East. (I also love the thought of all those fresh-to-Saudi-Arabia reporters cross-dressing to get their stories.) Wow, I think I’d dress up as a woman to hang out in chic restaurants with girls with such idiosyncratically hedonistic tendencies. Smoking fruit leaves out of a water pipe? Do you think this is something worth trying?


P.S.: You wrote yesterday that you’ve been reading dozens of novels as procrastination. I’ve almost forgotten what it was like to read novels purely for pleasure. What have you especially liked? Disliked? Any revelations?

P.S.S.: I finally got my hands on last week’s Village Voice—it’s hard to find in Times Square—the one with the annual “Pazz & Jop” poll. It’s a great issue, as always. But they missed my favorite LP from last year, Joe Henry’s weirdly elegiac and spooky Scar. (I demand a recount!) This guy may be the best songwriter alive. I’ve always wanted to find a forum to sing Henry’s praises (the best of his to own are Shuffletown, Trampoline, and Short Man’s Room, in more or less that order) and, what the hell, this seems like as good a forum as any.