Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Drat You Bookforum!

These last few days I've not been doing much book reading. Instead I've been engrossed in reading the latest edition of Bookforum. This is an extremely dangerous magazine and should be read with care. I've already turned down a bunch of pages and I haven't even read all the articles yet! Some of the more interesting tidbits I've found are a review of the movie of Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation. The book is fantastic, thought-provoking, stomach churning, and nonfiction. The movie is, according to the reviewer, very good, thought-provoking, stomach churning, and fiction. The thinking on the turn to fiction was more people would see it than if it were a documentary. All the information from the book is still in it, it has just been placed in the context of a story. I am keen to see it. I have only read Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses and wasn't very excited by it. But his new book, The Road, a sort of end of the world as we know it novel, sounds so good I think I will have to read it. The reviewer likens its philosophical foundation to that of a Joseph Conrad novel, particularly Heart of Darkness. The reviewer also mentions over and over how graphically violent it is which makes me worry about what it might do to my dreams if I read the book. Perhaps it is one to read during the bright light of summer. Pynchon's book gets a write up but it doesn't make me want to read it. Francine Prose, however, makes me want to read Rachel Cusk. What clenched it was how Prose describes Cusk's new book Arlington Park:

At moments the novel seems like Desperate Housewives as scripted by Katherine Mansfield in collaboration with Muriel Spark.
Yup, that's one for the TBR pile! There is also a nice interview with Gore Vidal. Does never having read Vidal make me a philistine? I've had his book Creation on my bookshelf since I was a teenager but never got around to reading it. Now I'm going to have to because Vidal says of all his books, that's the one he wants people to read the most. But I am also interested in his new book Point to Point Navigation: A Memoir, 1964-2006. In it he apparently refers frequently to Montaigne and memory. Vidal's idea of memory is so different from Proust's it is worth mentioning. He thinks that you can never remember the event itself, that when we remember what we are remembering is the last time we remembered the event. Memory becomes layered. I think Proust would agree memory has layers but the two ultimately diverge since Proust believes that you can remember the actual event in glorious technicolor if only the right thing comes along to trigger it. Oy. Just when I start to think that maybe I can wrestle a little control over my TBR lists and piles I find a bunch of new books to add. Yeah, I know, what was I thinking? There is a word for this: delusional.