What are you reading?

by chuckofish

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“These days, Clarissa believes, you measure people first by their kindness and their capacity for devotion. You get tired, sometimes, of wit and intellect; everybody’s little display of genius.”

–Michael Cunningham, The Hours

This is so true, don’t you think?  The Hours, which I read over the weekend, is full of such truth. I liked it very much.

I remember going to see the movie when it came out back in 2002 and liking it very much. There was some major mis-casting, but I liked Meryl Streep as Clarissa a lot.

meryl

“Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.”

Not surprisingly, I liked the book better.

Indeed, there are not many instances where the movie is an improvement over the book. Ben-Hur (1959) comes to mind.

Some movies actually measure up to the book: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) does. And although the author did  not think so, I think Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) is as good as the book.

This would make an interesting blogpost topic no doubt, but…back to what I’m reading.

I picked up Malcolm Cowley’s And I Worked at the Writer’s Trade off a shelf at home–I think it was my father’s copy from 1977–and started that. I like reading about writers. Cowley is one of those guys who knew everybody and has a lot to say about them. He spent most of his career as a literary critic and editor and never really made it as a fiction writer himself. He did win a National Book Award for this book, writing about other writers.

I seem to remember thinking that he had a little chip on his shoulder, that he always managed to cast some aspersion on whomever he is writing about, that he makes himself more important than he probably was. But I have not found that to be the case reading this book now. Perhaps I am thinking of Exiles Return which he wrote in 1933 and then revised in 1951. Perhaps he had mellowed by 1977 when he wrote And I Worked at the Writer’s Trade. We do tend to do that, don’t we?

So what are you reading?