Thursday, January 30, 2003

Detective Monks and a Killer Virus

The Name of the Rose is wicked good. I'd be really interested in whether the preface is fact, or just something Umberto Eco added to the story, because it is for all intents and purposes a Sherlock Holmes book. I'm sure anyone who's ever read it knows this, but I was still highly amused.
1. The detective/monk is named William of Baskerville. (Hound of the Baskervilles)
2. The tale was written down by his young assistant. (Watson)
3. Brother William has a habit of chewing on a certain root, which leads to him being manic and indefatiguable sometimes, and lethargic and misery-ridden other times. (Holmes and his coke habit)
4. Brother William likes to startle people with his remarkably astute observations. (This is just obvious)
I'm only about 40 pages in, but not only am I enjoying the plot, I'm also enjoying the "Where's Waldo" aspect of watching out for other Holmes references. In the movie, Brother William is played by Sean Connery, and I must admit I'd just love to see that. Not only that, but the story is set at the monastery of Melk, which I happened to visit on my first trip to Germany (Remember it, BackinBlack? Wasn't it the one with the terrific view where everything was coated in gold? If we DID go there, BackinBlack probably has a lot of pictures, since I believe in the week we were abroad he took eleventy-billion roles of film...)

I'm also reading The Stand again--the uncut version, which apparently has, like, a hundred more pages than the first publication. It's a lot scarier than it was the first time I read it, due to the historical/contextural lense I'm viewing it through. See, basically, the US military developed this terrifyingly contagious, extremely deadly disease for biological warfare, but there was an accident, it got out, and it wipes out something like 90% of the world's population in about a week and a half. Right now, I'm still in the first few chapters, and there's all kinds of military cover-ups and manipulations of the media. Very creepy.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

"Try getting reservations at Dorsia NOW!": "American Psycho" by Bret Easton Ellis

This is not an easy read. This is not a book for reading on a bench in the park on a sunny afternoon. This is a book that will torment you and stress you out and make you sweaty and neurotic. It is not necessarily chronological. It is gory and in places utterly revolting. You will probably not like a single one of the characters. There will be pages and pages where the narrator describes in excrutiating detail everything he eats, everything he wears, everything he uses in the shower. It is possible that you will hate the narrator.

That said, it is an amazing book and I love it. It is a bloody take on the rampant materialism and declining morality of the 1980s. It makes an excellent companion piece to 'Fight Club.'

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Lord of the Rings: The Quick Version

"And we walked through a field. And then through a forest. And then to the mountains. Then through the mountains. How spooky are these mountains? Pretty spooky." -- The Bearded Prophet