Thursday, January 10, 2008

That good ol' resilience of the human spirit and stuff

Lust, Caution by Eileen Chang
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
NOW READING: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

OK, so I'm done randomly picking up books upon which this awards season's films are based. I think. As previously mentioned both Lust, Caution and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly are tiny books, so reading them in, like, an hour each was no feat. And I do so like to read books before I see the movie! So now I have to go see those two movies.

We DID see yesterday -- at long last -- The Kite Runner. I found myself more and more looking forward to it as the day went on. It's one of those books that I still don't think is perfect or anything but taught me so much about Afghanistan (and, well, kites!) and really held my attention; as it settles in my memory I've grown more and more fond of the story. I thought the movie did a superb job of staying true to the book while leaving things out. I get angry at movies that do NOT stay true to the book when they leave things out. I'm not saying you can ever exactly reproduce a book on the screen but my point is exactly that: of course you cannot. The onus is on you to be faithful to it knowing it won't be the same. Some people seem to miss that point.

Anyhoo, I liked The Kite Runner film as well. The kids really were quite good. And by the way, I totally commend Paramount and all the effort that went into moving the four child actors from Afghanistan to the United Arab Emirates to keep them safe. I think Paramount did all they could/should do. I think it's pretty pathetic that the boys or their families would have to fear any sort of reprisal for making the film. In Afghanistan, the U.S., or anywhere, I wish religious and conservative people could just chill out and let others live their own lives. Who made you the judge, the punisher? Who said vengeance is OK? Then again, this very question is confronted in the book/film, in what I thought was hands down the most powerful scene while I was reading. I even had to stop and take a breather on the plane after I read it. I refer to the stadium scene of course. Anyway, kudos to Paramount and everyone who helped with that. (Here's an article about moving the boys, very interesting...)

So NOW, back to Infinite Jest! Have I mentioned that I really like it? I am on page 130. In a normal book, this would be a significant chunk, but Infinite Jest being so...infinite, it is a drop in the bucket. I have already spent time with loads of quirky characters in their bizarre situations. He does this amazing thing where he plunges you in and out of these various people's lives, and each time a new bit starts you don't know if you're going to revisit some athlete/druggie/spy you've already met or discover someone new, but you never feel lost. You do, however, feel very very amused.

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