Friday, June 22, 2007

Reading Selections Change Course - Again

It's a good thing that I don't have to be as decisive about my reading as I do a lot of other things in my life, and as such I didn't feel the slightest bit of guilt when I headed to the library today to pick up a few things. I'm sure these quick changes are representative of how quickly my mind jumps around, but I will say that I've gotten better in recent months about starting a book and actually finishing it (as evidenced by my recent reading of The Road).

Half of today's read was the result of a guest op-ed in today's Washington Post about the recent honors accorded Salman Rushdie ("Knighthood for a Literary Lion"). Despite all the coverage of Rushdie in the past twenty years, I had never taken the time to try and read any of his books. After reading the piece in today's Post today, however, I decided to give Satanic Verses and Midnight's Children a shot; after a cursory flip-through of each book, it appears they're going to be challenging, but I'm looking forward to that.

The second half of today's new read was more the result of being compelled to head to the biography section. I intended to see if there was anything available on Orson Welles, whose career has interested me since my recent viewing of the movie RKO 281, the story of the creation of Citizen Kane and the interplay between Welles, William Randolph Hearst, and Hollywood executives (highly recommended, by the way). Instead, Elie Wiesel's All Rivers Run to the Sea -- the first volume of his memoirs -- jumped out at me.

Wiesel is someone who has fascinated me for quite some time, but I have never taken the time to read any of his work. I'm not sure why; perhaps it's because I tend to get so emotionally involved in what I read that I wasn't sure I would be prepared enough for the level of grief, pain and sadness I would be exposed to in his writing. Perhaps it was because that period of history didn't hold any interest for me until now. Or perhaps, I wasn't ready for it then, but I've been led to it now - and the timing means there's a reason I'm supposed to be reading this (and everything else before me right now).

As I move through the book, I'll probably post random thoughts; I'm sure it would engender some great discussion.

4 comments:

rdl said...

adding Wiesels' to my list; i also alwyas wanted to read him.

Kristen said...

I've only read "Night" by Elie Wiesel, but I was young and I would like to read it again because I don't think I got the full impact of it at the time.

Salman Rushdie is one of my favorites! I loved Midnight's Children (I have a well-worn copy in my desk at work) and I also enjoyed Satanic Verses. Years ago, I also really enjoyed a collection of his short stories (Haroun and the Sea of Stories, I believe). I'll be interested to see what you think of Rushdie when you get to him.

Dave said...

Matt, I'm going to pursue the Welles thread here. I haven't yet had a chance to view RKO 281 but there is a pretty nice documentary on Disc 2 of my Citizen Kane set that covers much of the story that this film re-enacts. If you want to get into the later stages of Welles' career, you really need to get a chance to view the "F for Fake" DVDs put out by Criterion. The second disc has a film called "Orson Welles: One Man Band" that is largely made up of clips from several of his unfinished and unreleased projects. The guy really had a hard time of it as studios consistently proved reluctant to fund his work and give him the creative control he sought. Since I really don't understand the film biz, it puzzles me that so much utter schlock was produced on film year after year while Welles was alive but somehow he couldn't get the support he needed. He had his eccentricities, of course... Probably he was just ahead of his time. No, not probably - certainly!

Anyway, I thought you might enjoy getting a little more info on the guy. I just got my "Third Man" DVD the other day - haven't taken the time to watch it yet but probably will sometime within the next week or so, with the holiday and a few days off in my schedule.

NoVA Dad said...

Dave, thanks for the recommendations. I've added the "F for Fake" set to my Netflix list, and they should be arriving soon (unless something else comes up that makes me want to juggle the order of my list). I agree about Welles being well ahead of his time; I think that, if he were alive and active today, his work would be much more appreciated by modern filmgoers than it was by those of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.