January 26, 2005

Books and Movies.

Our main page appears to be empty, so let me take a brief break from my work to put something here.

I've read several books this month, but I don't have the time to write about any of them in much detail. I recommend The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, which was my first encounter with his work. A couple of quotes:

"He looked at me with eyes narrowed as if to apologize for being unable to speak because of the nervous black panther sleeping by his side. Which is not to say that there was a black panther sleeping by his side: he just looked as if there were."

"Snow floated down every once in a while, but it was frail snow, like a memory fading into the distance."

I'm currently reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, about which perhaps more later.

I also started a Netflix subscription and I've been watching various things I've been told to see by people who are more film-literate than I. Despite the inherent appeal of its being mentioned in a Dan Bejar lyric, I'm afraid I didn't like Fitzcarraldo all that much. Maybe proper appreciation of it depends on having seen other Herzog films? On the other hand, I really enjoyed The Seventh Seal. The scene in which Death is cutting down a tree into which an actor has fled felt very familiar. Has it been mimicked or parodied in something with which I would be familiar? Maybe it was just the actor's plea "My performance?," and Death's reply, "Canceled. By death," which calls to mind the line "Death cancels all engagements" in Zuleika Dobson.

I also watched Kubrick's Lolita, which I thought was done well. Of course, the novel is much better, but the movie is in many ways true to the spirit of the book, and Peter Sellers as Quilty is entertaining. Nabokov wrote the screenplay, although much of what he wrote was cut. Given that the film had to satisfy censors, I think it turned out rather well.

Anyhow, Netflix is pretty nice, and recommendations of movies I should see are welcome, although my list is already terribly long.

Apologies for the rambling in this post, but I wanted to get something up on the page. We're rapidly approaching the one-year mark here at Gnostical Turpitude, so maybe I'll get around to finishing my take on the best albums (and assorted other things) of 2004, depending on how much free time I have this week.

Posted by Matt at January 26, 2005 10:53 AM

Twilight Zone moment--I was just listening to Virgin With a Memory.

Posted by: susan at January 26, 2005 11:41 AM

...and I'm just reading Strange and Norrell, though that can't be too uncommon right now.

I enjoyed the Wind-up Bird Chronicles, but I haven't felt motivated to read anything else by him very strongly, so couldn't have been too impressed.

And I'd like to see the Bergman sometime, if only to understand one of the fictional movies in Infinite Jest (I believe it was Premarital Agreement of Heaven and Hell) a little better - a man plays p*ker with the devil with tarot cards for his soul.

Posted by: Paul at January 27, 2005 01:11 PM

Hi Paul,

Apologies for the "p*ker" requirement; my attempts to stop comment spam haven't been as successful as I'd like. I need to take the time to set up a better system someday.

Infinite Jest is still one of those things I always intend to read but never get around to. What do you think, should I tackle Gravity's Rainbow or Infinite Jest first?


Posted by: Matt at January 27, 2005 02:59 PM

I found the spam guard more amusing than annoying, so no worries.

I'm biased toward IJ. All of the times except one that I've tried to read GR I'll be really liking it but 100 or so pages in I'll just have gotten my fill. I think I need to just start somewhere in the middle next time I read it so I don't keep covering the first chunk. And while I often pick up IJ and just read a section or two of it, I also read it cover to cover again and again, which I don't with GR. Anyway, talking about IJ has reminded me that there's been a reader's guide for it written now - I'll have to check it out and see if its any good.

Posted by: Paul at January 28, 2005 10:13 AM
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