For the past few weeks, my children have been driving me nuts. Now they’re both in school (the four-year-old is at pre-school, but still, she’s out of my hair for a few hours a day), and I can read stuff without getting up every five minutes to see what mischief they’re up to!
I’m zipping way my through Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock ‘n’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood by Peter Biskind. I started it yesterday and I’m about 60 pages in. I’m often more fascinated by behind-the-scenes tales of things than the things themselves, and this is no exception. Biskind is writing about the late 1960s and 1970s in Hollywood, when talented filmmakers like Scorsese, Coppola, Spielberg, and Lucas helped bring down the studio system and liberated movies from an old-fashioned ethic. As much as I like movies like Bonnie and Clyde, The Godfather, Taxi Driver, and Chinatown, I love reading about all the shit that went on to get them made, and this book has it in spades. So far, Biskind seems a bit too smug about how wonderful the Sixties and Seventies were in terms of revolutionizing movie-making, largely glossing over earlier pioneers (Welles and Hitchcock spring to mind, but there are many others working in the 1940s and 1950s who didn’t fit the studio system mold) even though he mentions them, showing he knows about them. But that’s okay, because as I well know, historians often believe their period of study is the only one worth mentioning. I mean, isn’t sixth- and seventh-century France the only time period that matters?
I have a ton of comics to read, as well. I divide my trade paperbacks into “those I need to blog about” and “those I don’t,” and I have a bunch of both to read. I recently picked up 40 back issues for about 40 dollars thanks to a 70%-off sale at Atomic Comics (celebrating Marvel’s 70th anniversary), and I got a bunch of Marvel trade paperbacks as well. So I have “Demon in a Bottle” to get to, and those Walt Simonson Thor Visionaries aren’t going to read themselves! I’m so far behind on trades I want to review on the blog that I haven’t even read Darwyn Cooke’s The Hunter yet, and that came out quite a while ago. I finally sucked it up and bought No Pasarán volume 1 on Amazon after waiting for the NBM web site to have new copies of it (they solicited it last year but it never arrived; when I checked out their site, where I’d like to send my money, it was “sold out” and it has been since). And there’s my usual assortment of magazines to read. I just read an interesting article about Engelbert Dollfuss, the Austrian dictator who was murdered by the Nazis in 1934 (and who is a hero to the Christian Falangist Party of America, whose web site I found while Googling him, but I’m definitely not linking to it, as they kind of freak me out), and now I’m digging through the latest issue of mental_floss. I’ve mentioned my love of mental_floss here before, and I’m always so happy when a new issue shows up in the mail. The gutsiest world leaders, in case you’re wondering (and who doesn’t love the brass balls on the cover, showing the two hemispheres of the world?), are Lula da Silva, Brazil’s president; Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor (getting felt up by Bush without belting him should qualify her for this list automatically); Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s president; Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s president; and Ma Ying-jeou, Taiwan’s president. No, I don’t know why they were selected – I haven’t read the article yet.
What’s on your reading list for the week?
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