This is my window. Or my windows—the view from my living room, where I sit and write. Might not seem very inspiring. I wish I could offer green mossy lava, roaring waves, a glacier mountain top. I do have other spaces—in an abandoned powerstation, a favorite fisherman’s cafe by the harbor, a summer house on the arctic circle—but this is my honest view, what I really see most of the days. This house was built in the 1960s when people were fed up with lava and mountains; they were migrating to the growing suburbs to create a new view for themselves. The young couple who dug the foundation with their own hands dreamed of a proper garden on this barren, rocky strip of land. They dreamed of trees, flowers, shelter from the cold northern breeze. What is special depends on where you are, and here, the trees are actually special. They were planted fifty years ago like summer flowers, not expected to live or grow more than a meter. The rhododendron was considered a miracle, not something that could survive a winter. It looks tropical, with Hawaiian-looking pink flowers; Skúli, the man who built the house and sold it to me half a century later, took special pride in it.
I am not a great gardener. We are thinking of buying an apple tree, though they don’t really thrive in this climate. I would plant it like a flower, not really expect it to grow, and hope for a miracle. —Andri Snær Magnason [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle
on Aug 9, 2013 -
Happy Thomas Pynchon rumor day! [LAtimes.com]
"What's that, you say? America's most reclusive author, Thomas Pynchon, appeared in the news Friday -- not once but twice? Why, yes, yes, he has, surfacing in two unconnected rumours. Conspiracy? Pynchonian? Maybe we should henceforth designate Jan. 4 as Thomas Pynchon Rumor Day." [more inside]
posted by Fizz
on Jan 5, 2013 -
Lily, the caretaker's daughter, was literally run off her feet...
Today is the feast of Epiphany, the last day of the traditional Christmas season; the day also when the Misses Morkan held that grand affair, their annual dance, in James Joyce's "The Dead." [more inside]
posted by Iridic
on Jan 6, 2012 -
Leonard Michaels' "The Zipper"
: Rita Hayworth is never seen disrobed in the movie, though it is threatened more than once. The atmosphere of dark repression and mysterious forces – the mood or feeling of the movie – might be destroyed by the revelation of her body. It scared me as she began her striptease dance in the nightclub. I didn’t want everybody to see her body, or even to see that Rita Hayworth had a body. [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Sep 5, 2011 -
would be one of the choicest blogs around if he updated more, but I suppose I can settle for what there is. If you've never read it, you'll know how good it is when I tell you about a few of the coolest posts: an inquest
on "left-brained" literature, a short review
of John Williams' Stoner
, an appreciation
of the great Shohei Imamura and three part coverage
of the ultimate film, Béla Tarr's Sátántangó
posted by colinmarshall
on Oct 19, 2008 -
The Guardian has compiled a list of their top fifty arts videos
, the majority being from either rare or obscure sources and uploaded onto YouTube.
posted by djgh
on Aug 30, 2008 -
I first read "Ask the Dust" in 1971 when I was doing research for "Chinatown". I was concerned about the way people really sounded when they talked, and I was dissatisfied with everything else I had read that was written during the '30s. I wanted the real thing, as Henry James would say. When I picked up Fante's "Ask the Dust," I just knew that was the way those kids talked to each other—the rhythms, cadences, racism.
on adapting John Fante
's novel for the big screen
. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Mar 4, 2006 -
Did The Wizard of Oz inspire Lord of the Rings?
"The first film version of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz was released in the summer of 1939, less than a month before World War II officially began. Though started as early as 1937, The Lord of the Rings was largely composed during the war years, but not published until somewhat later. Therefore, it is by no means impossible that J.R.R. Tolkien saw the magnificent MGM movie before he wrote most of his magnum opus. Could Oz have influenced his tale somehow, consciously or unconsciously?"
posted by Joey Michaels
on Apr 7, 2005 -
Everyone is talking
about Clint Eastwood's new movie, Million Dollar Baby
). What you may not know however is that the movie was based on a short story in a book by the name of Rope Burns: Stories From The Corner
by the late F.X. Toole (aka Jerry Boyd). The book by the way was called, "...the best boxing short fiction ever written," by James Ellroy
of L.A. Confidential fame. Back in 2000 Toole gave an amazing interview
on Fresh Air about spending the last 20 years of his life as a cut man and the last 40 years of writing while trying to overcome his fear of rejection before getting his first book published at age 70.
posted by pwb503
on Jan 18, 2005 -
makes you want to pick up a great novel
and consume it in one long gulp. It’s a love letter to literature and literacy, a bibliophile’s dream film, dedicated to the joys of fiction and the passions of those who need books like they need food, water and air." (The Dallas Morning News)
posted by rushmc
on Aug 13, 2004 -
The Dance of Death.
Die Totentanz: A German-language site
spotlighting, for example, the dance of death in literature
, graphic art
. For those, like me, whose German is not so good, this
page offers an English-language history of the phenomenon, and the Catholic Encyclopedia has an article
too. See also Holbein
's Dance-of-Death; Lübeck
's Dance-of-Death; and umm, this
posted by misteraitch
on Jul 3, 2003 -
Alexandre Dumas on film
This AP/CNN article says Dumas’ books make good movies, but aren’t being read as much as they used to be. Do the changes the movies make improve the books, or would more faithful adaptations be better?
posted by kirkaracha
on Feb 2, 2002 -
Police Boycott "Harry Potter"
Police in Penryn, PA (near Harrisburg) have refused to direct traffic at a YMCA event. The police claim that because the YMCA reads "Harry Potter" to local children that they are promoting witchcraft. Fire Police Capt. Robert Fichthorn says "I don't feel right taking our children's minds and teaching them (witchcraft). As long as we don't stand up, it won't stop. It's unfortunate that this is the way it has to be."
posted by terrapin
on Jan 24, 2002 -
Don't make Hunter mad.
Hunter S. Thompson doesn't think the production company that optioned The Rum Diaries
is doing a very good job. And he tells them. Man, does he tell them.
posted by cfj
on Mar 10, 2001 -