Friday, December 01, 2000

Working on 'Ragtime' by Doctorow. It's not really a novel, any more than Bellow's books are novels (though for different reasons). More like an historical entertainment, part nostalgia, part nostalgia punctured by some of the ugly truths we now know about the early part of this century, set in a springy cadence.

I reread a few chapters of Stephen King's 'Stand', which came to hand when I left the house this week. This is the uncut version--a mistake, it was too big already. But King does get at some piece of America when he writes. The brand names and the speech rhythms and the sights and sounds of it all.

Last night after the meeting I went to Barnes & Noble to drink tea, eat a pastry, and leaf through the new biography of Gore Vidal. Leafing through is the only way to read it, since after a few pages one is looking for gossip and the appearance of the famous friends and enemies. Like his fiction, it felt pretty thin, and didn't capture the author of the truly funny essays.

Alla has given me a video called 'What Was Wrong With the Shooter', a joke about the movie 'The Shooter' which she made and also let me see.

Tuesday, November 28, 2000

Have to spend four days in Atlanta this week. I've finished all the Donald Westlake books I could find in the bookstore, also now sadly through with the Pullman trilogy 'His Dark Materials'--will there be another one in the series? Reading 'Bee Season', which is eerily precise rendering of childhood anxieties lyrically presented. Movies this week: 'Gladiator'--total waste of time. 'Topsy Turvy'--brilliant evocation of Gilbert and Sullivan's London world and their challenging working relationship. No idea how true to fact it really is, but very satisfying.