Monday, September 17, 2007

I enjoyed A Killer Life: How an independent film producer survives deals and disasters in Hollywood and beyond by Christine Vachon with Austin Bunn a lot. I picked up her first book a couple of years back because she wrote about the making of Velvet Goldmine, but found her conversational writing style and passion for making interesting movies appealing, so I was happy she'd written another, covering her further struggles to shepherd offbeat and often difficult films into the marketplace. There's a lot in the book about her longstanding professional relationship with Todd Haynes, whose movies I love, and it was fascinating to read about the behind the scenes work Vachon does. She describes the changes over the years in how Hollywood deals with independent films and how many of the production companies have been folded into the various studios and how that affects the filmmakers and the films themselves. She does a good job of laying out the nuts and bolts of production and doesn't romanticize the life of a producer, but her love of and commitment to making independent movies always shines through.

Shannon Hale's first adult novel Austenland was a short, cute story of Jane, a woman in her early thirties, who is perhaps a little too obsessed with the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice. So much so that it has begun to impede her ability to have a relationship because no one she meets, you see, is quite like Mr. Darcy. When a great-aunt leaves her a trip to Austenland, a sort of Jane Austen themepark, in her will, Jane seizes it as a chance to finally get this whole thing out of her system. I thought it was a fun idea and enjoyed it, even if it was slightly less substantial that I wanted.

This weekend I finished Spaceman Blues by Brain Francis Slattery which I checked out based solely on a review I read that compared it to The People Of Paper. While not as structurally playful or varied as that work, Spaceman Blues does have a similar tone and Slattery's writing style is reminiscent of Plascencia's. In this book Wendall goes in search of his lover Manuel, who has disappeared without saying anything to anyone. Manuel had always been something of a mystery, but Wendall discovers much more than he anticipated, uncovering Manuel's vast connections to various criminal enterprises, all the while being chased by four men in purple raincoats who are determined to kill him and others. I really, really enjoyed it, especially once I had a chance to sit with it for a couple of hours and immerse myself in the language and story.

And then yesterday I read Burning Bones by Christopher Golden and Rick Hautala, the next in the Body of Evidence series. In this entry, Jenna and her friends are faced with an unexplainable series of burned bodies. The series is still enjoyable, but certain things are starting to bug me. I think I'll hold off on talking about those until I finish the last three books though.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I spent the holiday weekend watching Doctor Who and reading the next five Body of Evidence thrillers by Christopher Golden: Thief Of Hearts, Soul Survivor, Meets The Eye, Head Games, and Skin Deep. They were all pretty entertaining, although when read one right after the other, they definitely test one's credulity. I mean, I love medical zebras as much as the next House fan, but Golden was really reaching in Skin Deep. Meets The Eye and Head Games were my favorites of the group, especially the latter book, where we find out more about Dr. Slikowski and Jenna is back at home on vacation, facing that inevitable realization that you've moved on and are growing apart from childhood friends.

Oh, and I'm completely and utterly in love with Doctor Who. It's my new favorite show. At least until Friday Night Lights comes back on.

Last night I broke one of my self-imposed reading limits and stayed up late to finish All Emergencies, Ring Super by Ellen Emerson White, which I'm about 90% sure I read years ago. I didn't remember a thing about it, but I'd get deja vu every other chapter or so from certain lines of dialogue or a particular scene or character. I loved it, of course. It's from the author of one of my top five YA books of all time (Life Without Friends) and her wit and humor easily made the transition to an adult mystery story. It features Dana, a building super and former actress who begins investigating a suspicious building fire when one of her at-risk students asks her for help. Emerson doesn't shy away from the strong consequences of Dana's inquiries, and her climactic scene has genuine fear and tension amid the laughs.


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