Thursday, June 02, 2005

50 in 05: Mystic River and Will in the World

The smell of deadlines is in the air, so I haven't been good about blogging lately. I'll try to catch up on a few of the books I've finished lately:

#15: Mystic River by Dennis Lehane: It's the sort of book that you read because of the plot, because of what it's telling, and not how it's told. But the moral seems to be that kids are killing kids because of video games. No kidding:

"Sean looked into the bloody face of Jimmy O'Shea and what he saw there scared the shit out of him. There was nothing there. Probably never had been. The kid wouldn't pull the trigger because he was angry or because he was scared. He'd pull the trigger because Sean was just a six-foot-two video image, and the gun was a joystick."

Ugh. Skip it.

#16: Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, by Stephen Greenblatt. On the other hand, this is an excellent book--the best I've read in a long time, and one of the best non-fiction books I've picked up period. It's a lot of conjecture and what-ifs, but it goes into the life Will Shakespeare led, what he was doing when he was writing some of his plays--who Falstaff was based on, at least partially, what the deaths of Christopher Marlowe and Will's son Hamnet meant to him and how they can be seen reflected in his work. Will's religion, or lack of it, his brushes with the scheming politics of his day, what set him apart from other writers, both then and now. Anyone who likes Shakespeare (and if anyone *doesn't* like Shakespeare, it's because they haven't seen it done well), or anyone who is a writer, would appreciate this book. I kept putting it down to take notes. It led me right into reading Richard III and writing a play about Los Bros Booth, Edmund, Brutus, and John Wilkes. I can't recommend this one more.

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