Tuesday, October 21, 2008

in like a lion, out like a lamb

My goodness. Been a while with some actual "writing," huh? I knew we'd been busy, but a quick skim of our accounting software proves how busy we've been -- a whirlwind. So busy, that I have movie reviews I haven't been able to word balloon yet.

Each night for the past few nights I've been cracking the new Sarah Vowell book, The Wordy Shipmates, which has proven to be...very wordy. Its not lacking in her trademark charm, but it is lacking in chapters, proving to be a hardbound essay rather than a book to easily digest in installments.

I own all her other books, and much like David Sedaris, I'm finding something lacking in her new work. The same could be said for Kurt Vonnegut, but he just passed away and his latest collection wasn't necessarily concocted with his involvement. I'll even throw Chuck Palahniuk in the "Disappointed by Recent Efforts" category (I can't rave about Rant, and am slow to pick up Snuff). I keep wondering why this is happening, and I keep thinking that "talent is front loaded."

The amount of years talent lingers may be in question, but I think we can all agree that even Spielberg and Lucas have tapered. In fact, I think if Stephen King hadn't been hit by a van, he may not have bounced back in every way (of course, not every King book has been a winner -- even the early years have losers). Does a personal tragedy equal a creative reboot?

I think the same can be true for comics as well -- Frank Miller's early work is rightly revered, and his personal re-invention with Sin City has been hailed by others, but his singular directoral debut with Will Eisner's The Spirit looks like absolute trash. It resembles a poorly-made Sin City imitator and not a tribute Eisner's creation.

Maybe J.D. Salinger was onto something.


morten_g said...

Sarah Vowell was really funny on the daily show. What's her best book?

kyle-cummings said...

I think ASSASSINATION VACATION and PARTLY CLOUDY PATRIOT are her two best books, because they're almost like dryly hilarious educational memoirs.

PortugePunk said...

I agree that The Spirit looks a lot like Sin City even maybe like a copy-cat.... and not as good... but I'm still gonna see it...

And regarding Stephen King books... after finishing book 7 of his Dark Tower series, I quite literally yelled at him and threw the book across the room where it hit a wall and fell to the floor. Now it's in a pile of stuff I want to use for firewood. I was so mad.

kyle-cummings said...

I think King has always, for the most part been in better in the short term. His novellas and collections are usually better than his novels, because he has a repeat problem of lackluster or confusing endings (see: CELL, DREAMCATCHER).

I think THE STAND will, erm, stand as his semminal work.