Sunday, December 27, 2015

Bibliophiles, Rejoice!

Since this article—"In the age of Amazon, used bookstores are making a comeback"—ran on the front page of today's (12/27/15) Washington Post, I trust many of you have already read it.  But it's such encouraging news that I still thought it was worth sharing here.  (And yes, I appreciate the irony of blogging about a revival of interest in print media!  :-)

In Search of the Real Truman Capote...

This commentary from The Atlantic (which I'm posting quite belatedly, alas) makes what I consider a plausible, if not necessarily persuasive, case that "Thirty-five years after it was published, Music for Chameleons is Truman Capote's best, most personal work." I haven't read the book in at least 20 years, but I still remember being generally wowed by Capote's audacity and ambition.

Like most of you, I have so many books on my "must read" list that I doubt I'll get back to this one—unless we discuss it as a group in the future, of course.  :-)  But even without doing a fresh read, I feel comfortable saying this much:

If you liked either Answered Prayers (which we discussed in 2014) or Breakfast at Tiffany's (which we discussed earlier this month), then it would be worth your while to check out Music for Chameleons. For that matter, unless you flat-out hate Capote's style (which many people do), it would be worth it.

Carol and The Price of Salt

In a sign that we Bookmen truly are trendsetters, we discussed The Price of Salt, the Patricia Highsmith novel, back in 2005. That was a full decade before "Carol," the film based on the book and directed by Todd Haynes, opened in theaters.  I haven't seen it yet, but hope to do so this week.

Prior to that, we discussed an even more famous Highsmith novel, The Talented Mr. Ripley, way back in 2000.  However, that was the year after the acclaimed film based on it, of the same title, was released, so we can't claim any prescience there.

When I did a quick rundown of our reading list (a permanent part of this blog) just now, I found something like 15-20 titles which have also been adapted into screenplays for cinema or TV (not counting those that began life as works intended for the stage, like "The Normal Heart" or "A Streetcar Named Desire."  And there may well be more.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Eminent Outlaws

I wish I had been at last week's meeting.  I searched for a parking space for 45 minutes to no avail.  Two of my comments/criticisms would have been 1) I felt Bram had too much esteem for Maupin.  I've enjoyed some of his books but I would never put him in a category w/ James Baldwin or many of the others.  2) I saw "Angels in America" in New York (Kathleen Chalfant, Joe Mantello, Jeffrey Wright, Cynthia Nixon and F. Murray Abraham as Roy Cohn so there must have been some cast changes when I got there).  After both parts I thought it was one of the best pieces of theater I had ever seen.  Then I saw the National Tour and didn't feel the same way.  I got to thinking, "Was it the acting or was I just caught up in the hype about the New York production?"  I would love to know what others thought of the play.