Monday, January 12, 2009

Patience Problems and The Final Solution

As we last left off, I picked up and began reading "Last of the Mohicans", which I had defended reading to a co-worker who recommended that I put that down and instead read a Robert Ludlum work, "The Matarese Circle". Unfortunately, not only did I need to resume reading a few books for research, but there were other contemporary novels that I was much more eager to read as well as me not really being in the mood for classic romanticism. I'm up to my upstairs neighbor's neck in books that I want to attack right now, but I have hard time believing that reading 15 books at once will get me any progress. Reading has to share my time with other things. Patience! I'm always eager to read the book version of films before they come out in theaters. Not because I want to compare the two, but because I'm usually that eager to get to know the story. But anyway, now I'm reading "The Final Solution" by Michael Chabon.

I had been reading about this author before and his stories sounded like they would be interesting. He is perhaps most famous for two of his works: "Wonder Boys", which was a 1995 novel and a 2000 film starring Michael Douglas and Katie Holmes-Cruise-Alien-Hubbard, was about a college professor's quirky and complex journey to finish a 2,611 fiction manuscript as a follow up to his previous hit novel. Chabon's other hit was called "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay", a New York Times Bestseller which many have called one of the key literary feats of 2000 as well as being nominated for PEN award. It's about the lives of Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay, a Jewish artist and a Jewish writer respectively, through the beginning, middle and end of World War II. It's one of those books that's named after the sentence "From the author of" on every single work that Chabon follows up with, until you are convinced to stop beating around the bush and just go pick it up to see what the artful hype is about.

However, "The Final Solution" is a more low-key, measly 166-page novella about an old man who decides to help a little boy, a German-Jewish refugee, find his missing parrot. The true identity of the old man is never said in plain words, but it is heavily hinted that it's indeed Sherlock Holmes. The title of the book references both Arthur Conan Doyle's short story "The Final Problem" and the plan of Nazi Germans to commit genocide against European Jews. This definitely grabbed my attention more than anything else, if only because I love the character and a film about him by Guy Ritchie starring Robert Downey Jr. and (I think a miscast) Jude Law is coming out this November.

In the few pages I've read, it's pretty good. Chabon is not an accessible author, as he peppers every sentence with about 2-3 words that you'd probably have to look up in the dictionary or take a few moments to define within the context of the sentence, but he's done his job in immediately interesting me in who this boy and his parrot is.

As always, I'm up to my neck in books that I'd like to finish and films I'd like to watch (films that haven't been released yet). Such books as:
-"Hannibal Rising" by Thomas Harris, a prequel to the main three Hannibal Lecter novels
-"Live and Let Die" by Ian Fleming
-"The Caves of Steel" by Isaac Asimov
-the last two Harry Potter books (I was pissed at the end of the 5th one)
-"Twilight" which I'm not hyped or excited for but want to read to see what's grabbing everyone.
-"Pygmy" by Chuck Palahniuk, one of my favorite authors.

Some films that look great are:
-"9", the gothic stop animation/CGI film
-of course "Sherlock Holmes", as I've already mentioned
-"Public Enemies", the Great Depression-Era gangster film by Michael Mann (Collateral) with Johnny Depp and Christian Bale
-"The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus", the fantasy film by Terry Gilliam starring Christopher Plummer and partly Heath Ledger before he passed away, but now features as replacements Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. My curiousity is very arrested by this film: the story of a 1,000 year old theater troupe leader who, after making a deal with the devil, has the ability to show people their own imaginations through a magical mirror.
-I suppose many think "Watchmen" should be on this list. I think that film will suck, as I am not a fan of Zack Snyder's work and I don't really see a way to squeeze this graphic novel into a film. But I am curious.

Bollocks. Here's my resolution for 9002*, this will truly be the year of Progress!
*done on purpose.


  1. Arigato Samurai!
    You have this amazing talent of 3D writing.
    Your posts have so many angles and facets and pack so much information in such a small space. It makes for a wonderful reading each time but it makes it so hard to comment.
    I just came back from my vacation and I am trying to get back with the people I admire.
    I just want to say hi and wish you a 2009 full of accomplishments and success!
    Be loved!

  2. Good luck with the reading.

    I just pile them all on my nightstand and hope I get through them!

    (not very effective I know)!

    ps. just read every third chapter of Twilight and you'll get the gist of the novel ...

  3. Don't Feed The PixiesJanuary 15, 2009 at 3:36 AM

    The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is also on my to-do list - though Gilliam's more recent films haven't been as good as his earlier works. I'm quite interested to see Che (part one) and Frost/Nixon (although the fact that its a Ron Howard film does put me off)

    You should read whatever exites and interests you regardless of what anyone else thinks. I've recently discovered Ian Rankin (crime fiction, mostly based in Edinburgh, Scotland) and love the density of the plots

  4. [...] 22, 2009 at 1:09 pm (Literary, Mystery) (Books, Literary) As written about on my other blog, author Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Wonder Boys) has recently [...]


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