Friday, July 24, 2009

A book, a movie and other random thoughts

So, with all the moving about and unpacking of seventeen boxes of knick knacks and random wires, I've been behind on the reading and watching of new movies lately. On the other hand, we have absolutely no reception on our tv in here (even with a fancy digital to analog converter box of the future), so I have been rewatching all the old standards about fifty times a day. If I didn't have "Super Troopers" memorized before, I definitely do now.

We did finally find our Netflix movies yesterday, though, and watched "The Believer*," which is an uplifting little film about a Jewish Nazi. I learned three things from this movie. Number one, I think that neo-Nazis just like being angry. Otherwise, why live in New York and take the subway, where you're destined to run in to Jewish people and black people and Asian people and all those folks who send you into a murderous rage? You could move to a small Nebraska town and just never ever have to deal with it. Obviously, they have not been attending their yoga and meditation classes.

Second, and I should probably get myself checked out for this, but I still think Ryan Gosling is hot, even when all Nazi'd out. Ok, not a big fan of the swastika shirt, but the shaved head is kind of sexy. Is this a problem I should worry about?

Third, it turns out there are movies that can have an ending that I will not ruin for you, but I will warn you is not all puppy dogs and light, but is about the best of any possible world you could imagine for the character anyway. That's vague, but you should watch it because you won't cry and get as depressed as you might think you will. On the other hand, if you're like me, you will have dreams that night about killing people and then wandering the streets naked.

Your book recommendation this week is much less disturbing, even though the author died of heroin-addiction-related illnesses before his novel was published. It's called "2666," and it's by Roberto Bolaño. For this week, I just recommend the first section: "The Part About the Critics," mostly because that's the only part I've read yet. This first part is about four academics (three men, one woman) who all translated the work of a German author called Archimboldi into their own languages (English, Spanish, Italian and French) and wrote other critical essays on his work, and thus met at boring academic conferences. The woman and the French and Spanish men each carry on ill-fated relationships, including at least one threesome, before they travel to Mexico to find Archimboldi, whom no one has seen in years, but they hear he's hanging around some rural area where a lot of young ladies are being killed. While the French and Spanish man chill in Mexico, the English woman goes back to Italy and starts shit up with the other man and thus ends part one. There's some other shit that happens too probably.

So, try it, you'll like it. It has some old standby themes of narrator unreliability, the inconstancy of man and the role of the external in identity construction. That sounds smart, right? It's also written very straightforwardly (for example, he'd never use the word "straightforwardly" probably) and pulls you into the story very quickly. So get on that and get back to me.

*Not to be confused with the magazine, which I have a subscription to, and enjoy explaining to people trying to sell me magazines over the phone, since it's actually a literary magazine and has nothing to do with God or Jesus or Nazis either.


  1. OH MY GOD! You left out a critical detail. I think the reason you feel the need to be so convincing about the ease of this book is because it's huge-gantic! I vaguely remember seeing it laying on your coffee table and it was bigger than the Twilight books with much smaller print (if I remember correctly). So unless it is juvenile fiction it looks like a life sentence of a book. That' probably the real reason for the "666" part of the title. You get to page 666, and the book will float around all evil like and laugh at you all evil like and tell you that you will be reading it for all of eternity.

    Or it'll fly by and be a good read. I'm just guessing here.

  2. Becky, your critic on the novel made me believe that "2666" is the next book that I have to read (of course, after what I am reading these days).

    I'm at an airport, and I almost laughed out loud while reading your blog.

    And, oh, BTW, I will watch the movie too. Hehe.

  3. Saturday: It sounds to me like you're making excuses rather than getting out there and buying the book. I'm "reviewing" it in sections so that losers like you will not be intimidated. Little did I know that you would be SO afraid of reading...

    Theresa: You should try to catch up with where I am and let me know what you think!