Saturday, May 28, 2005

Book Crazy

Perusing the May/June Pages Magazine on this lazy, gray Saturday afternoon and found a couple things of interest. The first is a list of books being turned into movies, something I have a real love-hate thing about. It's sort of like a car wreck, I can't help but look and despise myself for doing so. Neil Gaiman wrote the script for Beowulf so I have high hopes for that one. If you haven't read Gaiman's American Gods, consider giving it a try. Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections is slated to star Tim Robbins, Naomi Watts, Brad Pitt and Judi Dench (I have not read this book. I haven't decided if it is worth my time. Thoughts anyone?). The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy will star Minnesota-grown Josh Hartnett (he might be hunky but I don't find his acting to be all that great), Scarlett Johansson and Hilary Swank. And Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs will star Annette Benning and Gwyneth Paltrow. There is going to be a live action/CG version of Charlotte's Web, one of my favorite books. When I was a kid it was a book about friendship, but now I also see that it is a book about the power of words and how good marketing can get you far. I will not be able to watch this movie in public because for as many times as I have read the book and seen the animated version knowing full well what happens, I sob every time Charlotte dies and keep on sobbing right through to the end. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (is Foer any good or is it all just hype?) is in the adaptation process as is Carl Hiaasen's Hoot. And of course we all have probably heard about The Da Vinci Code. It will star Tom Hanks, Audrey Tatou and Jean Reno (when I first glanced at this I read Janet Reno and wondered what the heck she was doing in a movie before I realized my error). I haven't read this book. I don't know if I will be able to bring myself to see the movie. Pages also features an interview with Michael Cunningham about his new book Specimen Days. I was worried at first, Viriginia Woolf and now Walt Whitman, but it actually sounds quite good. I made the mistake of seeing the movie of The Hours and haven't been able to read the book yet. I know Nicole Kidman won an Oscar for it, but her portrayal of Viriginia Woolf as a bristly doormat got my dander up. Maybe if I read Specimen Days and like it I will be able to finally read The Hours. Apparently the big book group thing now is to talk with the author over the phone. Both HarperCollins and Ballantine have programs that give your group the chance to talk with the author. Kind of exciting and good PR for the author too. For those who don't know what to ask an author, Pages offers some suggestions including this gem, "What is the book's major theme?" If I were an author and a book club person asked me that question I'd start crying. Didn't you read the book? Or maybe you're too stupid to figure it out for yourself? And finally, I think I mentioned Bookstore Tourism last year but at that time the website was sorta flat. It has changed and it has lots to offer including a blog and a book. I was telling my husband the other day that I would really like to go to New York City sometime since I have never been. But I was only nominally interested in seeing the Statue of Liberty and all that. No, I want to go book shopping and see the New York Public Library. On that note, I just want to say that I finished reading Montaigne's essay "An Apology for Raymond Sebond" today. There is much to think about and digest, so look for the first of a two-part post on it tomorrow afternoon.