Books are a uniquely portable magic. ~Stephen King
Welcome to Fran’s latest updates on the literary / theater / writing / cinema scene.
Oct. 4 at 2:00 p.m. Yoojin Grace Wuertz author of EVERYTHING BELONGS TO US will be speaking at Glen Cove Library.
Oct. 26 at 7:00 p.m. Author Daniel Paisner and The Art of Ghostwriting at Bryant Library in Roslyn.
Oct. 27. 2:00 p.m. Behind the Camera: The Art of Great Film Directing at Syosset LIbrary.
The Brooklyn Book Festival was as exciting as ever. So many authors, numerous programs each hour, but alas I could not clone myself. My good friend Linda accompanied me so we were able to share observations about the panels we attended separately. We were closed out of several, but the positive of that is “Look how many people love books.”
I enjoyed the National Book award recipients commenting on the validation the award afforded them: they hoped, primarily for their parents who didn’t seem too enthused about their choice of becoming writers. When called about the reward, Karan Mahajan’s (THE ASSOCIATION OF SMALL BOMBS) family responded with “Never heard of it.” Laurie Halse Anderson’s (ASHES) family previously said, “Don’t you want to go to nursing school?” and a when Monica Youn (BLACKACRE) told them she was becoming a poet, they spoke as if she had a breakdown and just kept saying, “Shhhhh.” I loved a line that Laura uttered, “Artists are meant to lead culture, not follow it.”
One of the issues author’s confront when writing fiction based on history is how much to balance the two? Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (A KIND OF FREEDOM) commented “Don’t let the spirit of creative space be overwhelmed by the factual.” Many writers agree, the story comes first.
The presentation I looked forward to most was the pairing of playwright Lynn Nottage (RUINED, SWEAT) with Colson Whitehead (THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD), both Pulitzer Prize winners and recipients of the MacArthur Genius Awards. Both talked of writing about the Idea of America and the power dynamic…discovering it’s different permutations a la Gulliver’s Travels.
Earlier in the month I enjoyed a Music in Film program with Richard Knox. Beethoven’s opening to the 5th Symphony (DA DA DA DUM) is the most widely used melody in many films and Beethoven described it as “Fate knocking on the door.”
Quotes from a variety of NY TIMES articles that resonated for me:
Thrity Umrigar : Literature is about empathy.
The musician and composer, Henry Threadgill:
I always read before bed. I’m in the library a lot….What I like to read is mystery and science books. Mysteries, I’ll read the great writers like Agatha Christie and Dashiell Hammett. I like them because music is a mystery, and reading these books gives you a lot of ideas about how to lay things out. That’s what makes mysteries interesting, right? The way the thing’s laid out.
I never speak to what my work might mean. If I could, I would write pamphlets instead of novels. And if I offered what the work means, I would be wrong. The work is smarter the I am. Art is smarter than us.
Continuing to recommend:
IMPROVISING OUT LOUD: My Life Teaching Hollywood How to Act by Jeff Corey and Emily Corey. Jeff Corey (1914–2002) was an American stage and screen actor and director who became a well-respected acting teacher after being blacklisted in the 1950s. This is a beautifully written personal story of grace and integrity seeped in an overview of 20th century film and theater. My daughter Michelle Cohen helped “birth” this special memoir.
DOLL’S HOUSE PART 2 (Again, wonderful)
Michael Moore on Broadway THE TERMS OF MY SURRENDER (Excellent)
ME THE PEOPLE The Trump America Musical (Eh )
LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING:
THE BAND’S VISIT
LOOKING FORWARD TO READING:
FOREST DARK by Nicole Krauss
DINNER AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH by Nathan Englander
A HOUSE AMONG THE TREES by Julia Glass (Excellent)
MOONGLOW by Michael Chabon (NF)
SLAUGHTERHOUSE 5 by Kurt Vonnegut (Very Good)
TALKING PICTURES:How to Watch Movies by Ann Hornaday (Informative)
THE BOOK OF JOY: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton (Inspiring)
THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO by Mitch Albon (Wonderful especially on Audiobooks)
HIDDEN FIGURES by Margo Lee Shetterly (Illuminating)
MIDNIGHT IN THE BRIGHT IDEAS BOOKSTORE : a Novel by Michael Sullivan (OK)
BEARTOWN by Fredrik Backman (Engaging especially for Hockey Fans or Sports Fanatics)
WHO IS RICH: a Novel by Matthew Klam (Well written angst)
THE SENSE OF AN ENDING by Julian Barnes (Compelling)
YOU DON’T LOOK YOUR AGE AND OTHER FAIRY TALES by Sheila Nevins (Fun, OK)
POPULAR: The Power of Likability in a Status- Obsessed World by Mitch Prinstein (Very Informative)
THE BURNING GIRL by Claire Messud (Fair)
A MAN CALLED OVE by Frederik Bachman (Poignant, Funny, Charming)
NF = Not Finish
The best books are those that insinuate themselves into your experience: they reveal an important truth or provide a profound sense of kinship between reader and writer. Searching for, identifying, and discussing these truths deepen the reader’s appreciation of the book. SEATTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
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