Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Why would Ruth, a smart woman and a potentially interesting character, fall for the hapless, born again soccer coach? He's so lame I want to punch him in the face repeatedly with a roll of quarters in my chubby little fist and I'm really not that prone to violence.
What is the point of the gay marriage sub-plot--to show there is only happiness where there is tolerance? Kind of obvious and kind of weak.
Why do Ruth's daughters suddenly and fervently embrace religion? A plot device.
Why does the ending suck so bad? I don't know but I was almost angry when I read the last few pages and saw this would be how it ended.
Sorry, Mr. Perrotta. While I look forward to your next work, The Abstinence Teacher is not worthy of the considerable abilities you have shown in other novels. No hard feelings.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Tomine has always done stories that are like eavesdropping on someone's private life and usually that private life is in a downward spiral. The main character in Shortcomings is Ben Tanaka, a Japanese-American, whose relationship with his girlfriend, Miko, falls apart before our eyes. Ben is an almost unredeemable character-self-absorbed, self-involved, self-pitying, petty, pretentious--the list goes on. He's lucky to have anyone in his life, let alone a girlfriend. It is almost painful at times to watch as Ben undoes nearly everything he might have going for him but you know he can do nothing else. As ever, Tomine's lines are sharp, his humor black, and his characterizations keen.
work-damnit!' feeling? Ah, the holidays.
I got a lot of reading done and I'll be posting on those shortly.
In the meantime, here's a great link of some of the best titles of the year according to the New York Times:
Regular readers of Reed Next's Next Reed (Are there any? Are there many? Would love to hear from you. Feel free to comment) will recognize some of the books as ones reviewed here already. Great minds and all that...
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I got to meet Conroy many years ago. A really decent guy but what struck me most was his resemblance to Alan Hale, Jr. the Skipper from Gilligan's Island. Perhaps in these photos, it's hard to see but in person--whoo boy!
Here are some photos. A caveat: try as I might, I couldn't find one w/ Conroy and Bob Denver but I'll keep looking.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I really like reading Leonard Pitts' columns and I thought this one was especially good. If you have time, take a look.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Oh, I wasn't crazy about how things resolved and kind of saw some of it coming but I'll trade that slight dissatisfaction with the number of times I laughed out loud or reread a paragraph because it provided me one of those breathless moments I love when I read, something that hasn't happened in a while (great line on page 157 about fathers and sons, for example). Clarke shines throughout the book with what becomes a strange detective story and a cast of oddball characters in odd situations. And did I mention it's funny? I think it's deserving of the attention and acclaim it has received. Others would disagree but the book evokes a reaction or a feeling one way or the other and that is testament to his skill as a writer. I've read books I liked and others I didn't but 6 months later, I couldn't tell you what they were about. Love or hate Arsonist's, I think it'll stay with you for a long time.
His family life was messy; they all lived in the shadow of the death of a brother, Jeffy, who died at 2 years old yet Shalom and his living sibs don't seem to get the attention from their parents they need. His mother's side boasted a long line of rabbis and certain sense of entitlement and his father was an irascible drunk who could build things (Jews don't build things; they buy things from goyim who build things). Young Shalom feels a tremendous responsibility to try to hold the fragile state of the family together but it's far too big a job for a young teenager and the situations are too long broken for him to fix. From there he swings like a pendulum, first further from his religion and then back to strict observance. Rinse. Repeat.
Some of it is hilarious and some of it just makes you incredibly sad. Auslander could have been profane for the sake of it but I disagree with critics who say so. Sneaking off to the mall in the next town to eat un-Kosher food reminded me of a friend I had growing up who would smuggle me Twinkies during Passover and we were hardly Orthodox. The story of bargaining with G-d about the Stanley Cup or living as a young married couple among other Orthodox Jews that weren't questioning their own faith were all very real examples of what it must be like to not only question how you were brought up but the fundamentalism that goes with such strict observance.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I'll say this though: I think he writes women beautifully and that's no small achievement. Smaller in scope than Kite Runner, but equally moving, Hosseini crafts a beautiful work by telling the story of two women who find what they've lost (family) in each other. The ending was a nice surprise, as well. If you're a book snob like me and don't tend to read books that become HUGE bestsellers, get over it. Hosseini is going to be around for a long time.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Second, I owe you some reviews. I believe there are four books I've read and one I'm hoping to finish shortly that I need to add to the blog plus reviews from older annual lists that I plan on adding. The rub is I've either been too busy to post or when I sit down to write, I'm utterly uninspired. Bear with me as I try to find center since I seem to have books coming out the yin-yang.
Now, back to your regular programming.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
In a chilling turn of events, the child actors who play the leads in the upcoming Kite Runner film adaptation are reportedly at risk of great harm or even death. The studio fears that rival ethnic groups in Kabul will react violently, especially to a pivotal rape scene, when the film is released. Paramount is delaying the release of the film and government officials are looking to move the boys and their families to another country where they will be safe.
I'm just flabbergasted by this. Kind of makes Hosseini's amazing novel ring that much truer.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
This is just the kind of crap we don't need but that people need to be aware of.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
I’ve learned to appreciate a person whose work I admire for their work and not for some bullshit perception that since I like the music (or writing or acting or whatever), the person must be swell and cool and share my views. Not so Zevon and this book leaves me with a really bad taste in my mouth and the desire to take a long, hot shower.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Anyone else read this? Anyone else sickened by it? I get it but I just can't justify his indictment of society by burning books. What about New Orleans libraries and schools that were so devastated by hurricanes? Could they use the books? There have to be other ways than burning them? I'd always heard good things about Prospero's but this guy is maybe just a little apeshit crazy.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Friday, May 04, 2007
The Yiddish Policeman's Union imagines that after WWII,
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Friday, April 06, 2007