From the University Press of Mississippi, a collection of Eudora Welty's book reviews which I whipped onto my Kindle recently in hopes of educating myself on how to review books. Welty's intelligent, compassionate, funny, and insightful reviews appeared in the NYT Review of Books, the NY Post, Sewanee Review, and other publications between 1942 and 1984. Just thinking about the tectonic shifts in literature and American culture during those four decades is kind of mind-boggling. Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, Colette, Isak Dinesen, E. B. White, E. M. Forster, J. D. Salinger, Annie Dillard -- the list goes on. Check it out.
Earlier this week, Colleen and I went to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", the extraordinary movie based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I loved it. Colleen not s'much. (I was sitting there choked in tears at the end of the three hour film, so I only vaguely remember her saying something about "watching paint dry.") I want to see it again, so I'm trying to get the Gare Bear to go with me this weekend, but I won't be surprised if he reacts the same way Colleen did. The movie is long. And odd. It requires patience and a complete suspension of disbelief that modern audiences simply aren't trained for, so you've got to be in the right mood for it. The same is true of the short story, though the story and script have very little in common -- at least superficially. The story is very Fitzgerald (though it's not an example of his best writing, IMHO), and the setting -- Baltimore during the industrial revolution, Spanish Americ