Eve: “Yasmine. She’s Lebanese. I’m sure she’ll be very famous.”
Adam: “God, I hope not. She’s way too good for that.”
An elite indifference lurks at the heart of Only Lovers Left Alive (2013), Jim Jarmusch’s anti-love story between an unlikely pair of ancient vampires Adam and Eve, played by a criminally underfed Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton.
I read the first several miniature chapters of George Saunder’s Lincoln In The Bardo with some misgivings. I knew and loved Saunders from Tenth of December and was accustomed to his style, but the overbearing nature of epistolary literature has always rubbed me the wrong way. And this was a whole novel of that? Very hard to grab onto, yet the reviews glowed and gushed. So I pushed on.
I considered myself a science fiction writer all the way through my first novel, Pareidolia. With portals, time travel, impossible rooms, and recovered alien artifacts, there’s no way it could be anything else.
I figured I ought to have a glancing familiarity with my genre, so I assigned myself a long reading list, starting with Frankenstein and ending with the hottest new sci-fi novel of the moment. It didn’t go well.
I started reading Robert Bolaño’s formidable novel 2666 last month, and I’m sure it’ll take me another month to get through it. I don’t read nearly as much as I should, which sometimes makes long novels a pain in the ass to get through. But not this novel. I’m savoring every minute of it.
[Update: I re-watched Willy Wonka three years after writing this post and have a few more thoughts. I don’t know why I assumed it took place in England; it must have been the Dickensian last names that threw me, along with the quintessentially English schoolteacher. But none of the other kids (or Charlie’s family members for that matter) have English accents. I can’t pin down exactly where the story is supposed to take place, but I guess it must be somewhere in America, which makes Wonka’s nationality less intrusive. (I understand it was filmed in Germany, but that doesn’t help explain the plethora of American accents.)
It’s been a truism for years now that playlists have supplanted albums in a serious way. Music comes to us in dribs and drabs, of varying genre, popularity, and sound quality. Our iPods are less like a well-organized bookshelf of CDs and more like a garage filled with worn boxes of 45’s and cassingles.
I fell in love with movies like Session 9 and the 1999 remake of House On Haunted Hill quite accidentally. I didn’t realize that my love of this horror sub-genre was even alive in me. I think up until the point when I saw Session 9 in 2007, had I been pressed, I would have said that my favorite flavor of horror movies was really anything with a priest.