Sunday, October 15, 2006


sooo arty

The amazing, award-winning, ridiculously talented Annie Leibovitz will be speaking at Politics & Prose on Monday - I'll be going over directly from work. Does anyone want to come? Let me know! She'll be hawking and signing her new (seemingly overpriced) book...I might buy one just to, you know, indulge in some harmless hero worship.

On another note, I've been reading Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin. I had picked it up with great expectations: the back blurb teases of a rough Irish burglar who falls in love with a consumptive young woman. It is a "magical masterpiece that will transport you to New York of the Belle Epoque." To top it off, the cover is that beautiful B & W image of Grand Central Station. (To find it, go to and look at image IH059772) Judging books by their covers is my thing, and I was pretty sure that this one would kick ass.

And ugh. It's so stupid. The plot is great, and the characters are multi-dimensional, but the author is just trying to be too cool. There's this mysterious wall that comes into the city and sucks people up, or something, never to be seen again. What the heck? Here's a sample paragraph:

The Baymen were waiting, Peter Lake knew, for a great window in the cloud wall to open and reveal a burning city that was not consumed, a city that thrashed like an animal and yet did not move, a city suspended in the air. Sharp on detail and alert to small signs, they insisted that such a thing would appear, and that, after it did, the world would light up in gold.

The worst thing is that I have the feeling that I'm supposed to feel inferior reading it, and when I get to a nonsensical part, I'm supposed to pretend that the problem is with me, and not with shoddy writing. I think this because the author's bio begins with, "Educated at Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford..." I know it's just listing facts, but when those facts are presented first, it seems as though they're supposed to be strong enough to carry the weight of the story. Or maybe I really don't understand the brilliance of it all (but probably not).


There are a bunch of movies coming out that I want to see. Listing them here, so that I don't forget:

- A Good Year
- Marie Antoinette
- Flags of our Fathers
- The Prestige
- We Are Marshall

And that's what you get for picking a book based on its cover. ;) hehe I'm guilty too, but everytime I have, I've been disappointed. (Okay, not every time, but MOST times.)
She does take some great shots. On a random side-note...I work with her older brother almost every day. He's a builder in the area.

Good to see you this weekend.
Ummmm no. I really can't remember the last time that fiction marketed with the author's academic pedigree (and not having anything to do with colleges, college life, or post-college life) was any good.

It's like they all think that they're hitting the pinnacle of genius if they chew up magical realism, florid prose, and popularly emotional ideas (9/11, the Holocaust, wars) and spit them out for our reading (dis)pleasure.

tc: I always judge based on a cover. It's a rule of mine :-)

jc: what! what! Crazy!!! (But that explains her random bookstore visit). It was good to see you - I'm glad you said hi after you thought I had ignored you!

m: Amen!
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