Stuff I’ve Been Reading

— Farran Smith Nehme (a friend) has written a gigantic essay called “Bluebeard at the Movies,” about movies where women marry men who turn out to be BONKERS. So many references, so many films!

— Farran, again, with a gorgeous essay about Orson Welles’ voice. This is in conjunction with Criterion’s release of Welles’ doomed-yet-not masterpiece The Magnificent Ambersons, which Welles – of course – narrates.

— Two pieces on Bernardo Bertolucci. I was too busy to note his passing. His movies mean so much to me, and the commentary around him has been … unsatisfying … in the extreme. So two pieces were written in the wake of his death I need to point out:

1. Dan Callahan’s thoughtful remembrance of him for Ebert.

2. An essential essay from Stephanie Zacharek about Last Tango. Must-read.

— I’m behind in my Tana French reading. Starting to catch up now. Reading The Secret Place, and reveling, yet again, in her prose. If you haven’t read her work yet – about the Dublin Murder Squad – then I really can’t recommend it highly enough! I believe she has since come out with two more books, one in the series and one stand-alone, so there’s a lot to look forward to. Much has been written about Tana French, and why she is so good, why she is better than other people writing in this murder-mystery genre. It’s not just her commentary on contemporary Ireland – in that, I think she is even better than Banville. Her Broken Harbor was, in my opinion, THE book on the “Celtic Tiger” and its downfall. She’s excellent on Ireland, but she’s also excellent on emotion, character, sensory observations, mood, subtext. I’m blown away. And she came out of the gate strong with In the Woods. She’s one of my favorite writers writing today.

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