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I’ve rarely seen a movie made from a book and then read the book afterwards. But, in the case of The Ice Storm, I’ve seen bits and pieces of the movie (Elijah Wood!) about a million times. As far as I remember, I’ve never seen it straight through, but have always been excited to find it in progress as I’ve been clicking through the channels. The 70s aesthetics, the look of the ice storm itself, the abject sadness of it: entrancing.

And–I mostly liked the book, too! Thank goodness–it would have been so disappointing to have hated it. What I thought was most successful was how willing Rick Moody was to go to the ugly side. Read the rest of this entry »

When my alarm went off at 9am Sunday, I wasn’t too psyched. I was sleepy after a late night, had a headache, my random foot injury hurt…but it was the BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL so I hauled down to Brooklyn Heights and settled into St. Francis McArdle Hall for the morning.

I had wanted to see Justin Torres and Tayari Jones speaking about writing childhood, but either I read the schedule wrong the other day or some events got changed around because their panel ended up happening at 10am, before I arrived. My back-up choice was not bad, though.

11am: The Good, the Bad, and the Family with Sergio Troncoso, Elizabeth Nunez and Tom Perrotta, moderated by Rob Spillman

These three writers read short selections that pertained to family from their most recent books. Both Troncoso and Nunez’s excerpts struck me as a touch didactic, but their pieces were out of context and they were charming when discussing the way they negotiated their family’s reactions to their work and how they mined their family’s experiences to create stories that, in the end, were fictional, and their own. I really liked Tom Perrotta’s reading. I hadn’t given a lot of thought to his new book because, although I’ve always enjoyed reading him, for some reason I’d gotten it into my head that he was too commercial for me anymore. Hearing him read a passage about a¬†teenage¬†girl in the aftermath of a non-religious rapture in which many people on earth disappeared, I realized that was dumb. The book sounds great. Rob Spillman asked the questions and time ran out before the conversation could be opened up to the audience, which made me very happy because Q&A’s make me cringe! Read the rest of this entry »

After writing about rereading books in the last post, I decided to make good on my wish from earlier this year to reread In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard. I read it for the first time in just a couple of hours on the beach in Mexico, which was super fun, but given that this is only Jo Ann Beard’s second book, and she’s one of my very favorite (most favorite?) writers, I needed another go at it so I could actually savor the prose.

But, this is a book that is impossible to take slow. What I’ll have to do is read it over and over again until I memorize it (as I have with some passages of Boys of My Youth). I think, because each sentence is both simple and perfect, there is nothing to slow the reader down. They range from understatedly hilarious to understatedly tragic, and are always incredibly true. There is an amazing economy here. Check out this first paragraph:

We can’t believe the house is on fire. It’s so embarrassing first of all, and so dangerous second of all. Also, we’re supposed to be in charge here, so there’s a sense of somebody not doing their job. Read the rest of this entry »