Friday, October 17, 2008

I should still get to bed on time, though.

I've started reading in bed again lately, and I've noticed that when I stay up late reading a book, I never wake up feeling as horrible as when I stay up late on the computer. I think it's because the light from the monitor keeps my brain jumpy after I've gone to bed. Putting a book down seems a gentler transition to sleep.

Richard Russo's Bridge of Sighs is this month's book group selection. It's pleasant enough, but I really hope I want to spend 528 pages with these characters. That I checked does not bode well. It's like looking at my watch during a movie...

... which I didn't do even once during Burn After Reading, the newish Coen brothers caper starring John Malkovitch, Tilda Swinton, George Clooney, Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt. Malkovitch plays a pompous ass washed up CIA analyst who loses his job... you can't fire me, I quit... and starts living in his bathrobe, drinking too much, and writing his memoirs, a cd of which is found on a locker room floor by two cash-and-brains-poor gym employees (Pitt and McDormand, both funny), who try to sell it to the Russians (of course! Wouldn't you?). Affairs are had, schemes are schemed, entanglements ensue. As happens with other Coen brothers films, I laughed out loud in places nobody else did, and sometimes didn't laugh when everyone else did. Weird. At any rate, engaging wackiness, good performances, go see it.

What's entertaining you these days, or keeping you up late?


  1. Richard Russo is one of my favorite authors and a genuinely nice guy. "Straight Man" is one of my favorite books ever.

  2. computer monitors are generally too close and wear out your eye muscles faster

  3. I just read Bridge of Sighs and didn't want it to end.

  4. I finished Sighs just in time for my reading group meeting to discuss it.

    I think it was a beautifully written novel. I also think it could have been cut by a third-ish.

    Not everyone in our group loved it, but there was a ton of stuff to talk about, and to me that's more valuable than gushing over how great it was. We didn't even get to its central questions, including whether we choose who we are, or if we play out roles that are largely predetermined by our parents and upbringing. It's an old but compelling problem.

    Russo does seem a genuinely nice guy, as well as a terrific writer. I'd definitely read more of his work.