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The Wednesday is Too Much With Us

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, a day late (maybe not a dollar short).

What I've Finished Reading

I bought The Disaster Artist on impulse and finished it in about a day. It's a largely sympathetic account of Tommy Wiseau and the making of The Room, according to the book's subtitle "the greatest bad movie ever made." I'm not sure what I think of it. I liked it enough to be completely uninterested in stopping until I was done. One of the blurbs on the back calls it "the most honest book about friendship I've read in a long time," and I was surprised to find that I thought so, too.

Also finished: Proust's Way! I enjoyed it so much that I'm going to keep it for a while, which means it can't count toward my Mount TBR goal. That's ok! It's hard to say how much Shattuck's "field guide" would help someone reading Proust for the first time - I appreciated the diagrams of major characters & locations, relationships, and the intersections of time and space, but I wonder if they might create the impression that Lost Time is more intimidating, or harder to follow, than it actually is. But I'm one of those people who can't learn anything from a chart, and can barely learn anything without one.


Before I say goodbye to Generation of Vipers, my favorite sentence in the book:

I have seen the unmistakable evidence in a blue star mom of envy of a gold star mom: and I have a firsthand account by a woman of unimpeachable integrity, of the doings of a shipload of these super-moms-of-the-gold-star, en route at government expense to France to visit the graves of their sons, which I forbear to set down here, because it is a document of such naked awfulness that, by publishing it, I would be inciting to riot, and the printed thing might even rouse the dead soldiers and set them tramping like Dunsanay's idol all the way from Flanders to hunt and haunt their archenemy progenitrices - who loved them - to death.

"Blue star" means having a son or daughter in the military, and "gold star" that the military son or daughter has been killed, and Wylie is making a perfectly good point, somewhere in here, about the ghoulishness of wartime sentimentality, but why such a tease, Wylie? If he isn't going to spill any deets, I'm going to have to assume this hideous example of the American soul at its worst is just another case of Humans Behaving Badly At Funerals, one of our many tales as old as time and hardly worth crawling out of a grave for.

Since I've been giving A Single Man short shrift, despite really liking it, here's an interesting article on the differences between the book and a recent movie adaptation by Tom Ford. I'm torn between sympathy with Ford's overidentification with George and regret that he chose to express this identification by turning everyone into a fashion plate.

What I'm Reading Now

When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer. A science-fiction novel from 1932! Co-authored by the guy who will later bring you Generation of Vipers! Here a couple of rogue planets are about to collide with Earth, destroying everything on it! This being a Philip Wylie book, several characters are on hand to muse about how we all totally deserved this divine judgment for having bad taste in movies and pig-headedly trying to have revolutions and all the rest of it.

We first learn about this impending catastrophe when a black box containing glass photographic plates is brought by courier from Cape Town to New York. A man sits in a paneled room full of game trophies and says, "Strange to think there will be no more lions." Soon we learn that a cabal of scientists is busy inventing space travel so they can save a carefully chosen selection of the world's population. But it's TOP SECRET and they don't have room for everybody, so don't tell the plebs! Oh, and our POV guy, Tony, can't marry his girlfriend - or even touch her! - because there might have to be a mandatory breeding program later. This seems like nonsense to me. Even if we grant that there has to be a mandatory breeding program (which I don't; it just sets a bad precedent for your future space humans), isn't that all the more reason why Tony and Eve should have their fun while they can get it? We'll see what happens, I guess.

Tony has a "Jap servant" named Kyto who seems to be a game attempt to include a funny-talking foreigner without being too racist about it. Kyto is deferential because it's his job, but not cringing or stupid, and his language is florid and odd but not "broken" in the way you might expect on seeing a character introduced as a "Jap servant" in 1932. He's not quite a distinct character, but neither is anyone else at this point.

What I Plan to Read Next

Yesterday I went to the library to get Room at the Top and some Agatha Christies, but discovered I'd left my card at home. Maybe today I'll try again.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
sallymn
Aug. 11th, 2017 03:19 am (UTC)
Sis keeps telling me to try Proust (she read it when she was learning French, the smartypants). One of these days....
evelyn_b
Aug. 11th, 2017 01:26 pm (UTC)
Recommended! If you're not feeling up to a full 4000 pages of gossip and insomnia, you can read the "Combray I" or "Swann in Love" sections of Swann's Way as standalones, or just read all of Swann's Way and call it a day.

Did your sister read it in French? I'd love to, but it's hard and I'm lazy.
sallymn
Aug. 15th, 2017 12:23 am (UTC)
Yes, she read it in French. She has learned both French and German, and reads quite a bit in both.

Me, I claim three languages: English, bureaucratese and gobbledygook.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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