Sunday, May 23, 2010
Two Books and a Movie
Our book group meets tonight, and though I hardly ever see these people, it's already reached my ears that our latest read was not at all popular. In fact, I'd bet my favorite socks that tonight's hostess didn't finish the book.
Well, I hope Hostess remembers that she's the one who was so hot to scratch Thomas Pynchon off her list. Of course, Ekim was enthusiastic about this pick, even though he'd already read it, because he'll enjoy talking about it. He will be the book's biggest fan.
I was not really looking forward to reading Inherent Vice, even though Ekim kept saying that it was an easier read that any of Pynchon's others. That said, I'm happy to state that I enjoyed it much more than I thought, and actually found myself laughing out loud a few times. I liked the main character, thought his friends were funny (mostly), and found the commentary on life in general quite entertaining. Pynchon has a clever and droll wit. However, I did not find it to be a fast read; something about Pynchon's style challenges my concentration. I find myself needing to go back and reread numerous paragraphs to keep up with what's going on. Inherent Vice is driven by a hoard of interesting characters and goings-on and the reader must sit in the back seat and try to see through the fog. Will things ever be clear? Well, the ending is suprisingly upbeat and hopeful.
In contrast to the above read, which took me much longer than it should have, Beasts, by Joyce Carol Oates (2001), is a page-turner of a novella that I easily whipped through in a day. The story takes place at a small woman's college in New England during the 1970s and focuses on a poetry professor and his small class of students.
These girls have unwittingly stepped into a nightmare. It's a suspenseful story told by Gillian, the quietest and probably most sheltered young woman in the group. If you pick it up, you won't put it down.
We also rented Benny and Joon because I had a hankering to see it again. What a blast from the past! There were so many well-known people in it. Julianne Moore, Aidan Quinn, Oliver Platt, William Macy (Fargo!), and of course Johnny Depp, who stole the show. Joon was played by Mary Stuart Masterson, who seems to have fallen off the face of the earth. Anyway, it's a really fun movie.
So. Whatcha reading??