Thursday, March 3, 2011

Book of the Month, March 2011

I love books. They're fun, educational, and you may learn some new and interesting curse words.

When I interviewed Susan Orlean a couple of years ago, she mentioned her admiration for "New Yorker" writer Joseph Mitchell (pictured). I had never heard of him, but since I love Orlean's stuff--she just finished a new book on Rin Tin Tin--I made it point to find Mitchell's stuff.

Last year, I was in a used bookstore in Poughkeepsie, NY when I found Mitchell's "Joe Gould's Secret," which is about a legendary NYC vagabond/bohemian who has spent years working on an all-encompassing work called "The Oral History."

I just finished the book--Mitchell's, not Gould's--which is divided into two parts: Mitchell's profile of Gould and the aftermath. Both are exquisitely written and show that part of good writing is good reporting. Mitchell chased down Gould's associates, took copious notes (seriously, I don't know how he captures such long quotes), and spent lots of time with his subject. What you get is a tender look at a self-created, malleable personality who somehow defines New York.

The book was made into a movie, starring Stanley Tucci (as Mitchell), Ian Holm (as Gould), Steve Martin, Hope Davis, and more. So, I need to add that to my never-ending Netflix queue.

Thanks literature for leaving me hopelessly behind in my movie watching! Damnit!

Read in peace.

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