A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New on the Bookshelves

I receive maybe a dozen books a week from publishers wanting a review. A leaning tower of January titles stands precariously across the room from me. Well, I can't review or even read most of them, but I figure what I can do, now that I've got this blog thingie, is to list the books I've been sent that are coming out in the week ahead.

This doesn't mean, of course, that these are the only new books coming out. Just the ones that I've been sent. So here's what you'll find in the bookstores this coming week.

Bang Crunch: Stories, by Neil Smith (Vintage; January 8)

The Christian World: A Global History, by Martin E. Marty (Modern Library; January 8)

Day: A Novel, by A.L. Kennedy (Knopf; January 8)

Homecoming: A Novel, by Bernhard Schlink (Pantheon; January 8)

The Painter of Battles: A Novel, by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (Random House; January 8)

Vienna Blood: A Novel, by Frank Tallis (Mortalis/Random House; January 8)

This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, by Drew Gilpin Faust (Knopf; January 10)

The Senator’s Wife: A Novel, by Sue Miller (Knopf; January 11)

I’m Looking Through You – Growing Up Haunted: A Memoir, by Jennifer Finney Boylan (Broadway; January 15)

Kyra: A Novel, by Carol Gilligan (Random House; January 15)

Gambling With My Vote

In addition to dithering over Obama vs. Clinton (or maybe Edwards), I've also been procrastinating on filling out my ballot because of the state initiatives. Those of you not in California don't need to read the rest of this entry, but like most people who live here, I dread studying the ballot initiatives. And like a lot of people, I tend to vote no if I don't understand what's at stake. Also, as Kevin Drum often argues, voting no is a way of telling the legislature to do its job and stop passing the buck to the voters.

But now it turns out that voting no is exactly what the proponents of Propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97, which have to do with Indian gaming, want you to do. Patty Fisher, the Mercury News columnist, explains why in an excellent column.

Tricky bastards.