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    Wednesday, January 23, 2008

    Miscellaneous: Grab Bag

    Oscar nominations. They’re out, and here’s all I have to say: if “Falling Slowly” from Once doesn’t win Best Original Song, somebody’s getting a letter.

    Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates (1961). A modern classic I am only now coming to. It deserves its reputation; I was well and truly staggered. Yates’s story of stultifying suburban life and how the lies we tell ourselves can poison others blazed a trail that novelists have been following for decades.

    The Colbert Report. Tuesday night’s show, with “Stephen Colbert” dipping into Stephen Colbert’s family history and a closing Gospel number, is a must-see. Colbert has always walked a high wire, but the WGA strike has removed his net. He has yet to stumble.

    Miracle (2004). I don’t know how I missed this movie about the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. I’m a sucker for inspirational sports films, it acknowledges my alma mater as a college hockey powerhouse, and I revere Kurt Russell as the acme of American manhood. A recent mention from Kung Fu Monkey corrected my oversight.

    Art in the Blood, by Craig McDonald (2006). Not too long after I raved about McDonald’s debut novel Head Games it was nominated for an Edgar, due presumably to my endorsement. I can also recommend this collection of interviews with some of the leading lights of contemporary crime fiction. McDonald knows how to ask questions, and includes a wide range of writers. Lots of insight to be gained here.

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    Read The Collected Stories of Richard Yates. Among the finest pieces of short story art in American lit. Worth of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Cheever. And Yates help start a young Max Allan Collins on his career.


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