I haven’t read much in the last week or two, and before that was not reading much that really excited me (other what I’ve already posted). I have allowed myself to become addicted to a television show (Grey’s Anatomy) and have been watching it on DVD – between that, work and having a life, not much reading going on. Pretty unusual.
I saw the movie Watchmen when it was in the theater (the best friend is a huge Jeffery Dean Morgan fan, and I am a big comic book geek). We were both horribly disappointed and irritated that we’d wasted money and time on such a bloody, violent, depressing and (most important to me) pointless flick. I can do without the blood and violence, but that wouldn’t be enough to turn me off of a movie. And I am fine with depressing and meaningful, or pointless and fun. But depressing and pointless – well, that’s a load of crap. I had been meaning to read Watchmen because it was highly lauded by critics – surprising for a graphic novel. After seeing the movie, I was compelled to read the book and find out what the movie had screwed up on.
Alan Moore’s graphic novel is much, much better than the movie based upon it (a movie that Moore refused to be affiliated with because he didn’t believe it would work). But I still didn’t like it very much. I’m pretty sure that if I hadn’t seen the movie, I would have had a different reading of the book, but it’s too late for that now. The book has three or four sub-plots that are completely missing from the movie and added much to the point Moore seemed to be trying to make – that you cannot do evil things and not become evil. The comic book is as violent and bloody as the film, but in comic-book form, the impact of the violence is more cerebral and less disgusting. The book was compelling (while the film dragged on) and while still be depressing, at least was not pointless. There is a lot of irony and contrasting of stories that is completely missing in the movie. The character of Dr. Manhattan is much more developed in the book, and there is some fascinating stuff about the nature of time and experience that adds much to the backbone of Moore’s concept. All in all, the book was enjoyable, if not something I would highly recommend.
I also read Kaye Gibbon’s The Life All Around Me by Ellen Foster – follow-up to her first hit novel Ellen Foster. Ellen is a girl who’s lost her mother and somehow manages to stay driven and positive in the face of abuse, crushing poverty and racism in the South. Both books are written in the first person. I remembered liking Ellen Foster, so I picked up the sequel (written a decade or two later) when I saw it for $3. TLAAMbEF was not the powerhouse the first novel was, but those who loved Ellen from the first book would probably enjoy seeing what came next.
I recently got a gig reviewing books for a newsletter/website called BookBrowse.com – soon I’ll get paid (a tiny bit of money) to review new books! My first book is The Children’s Book by A. S. Byatt – and it’s due in two weeks, so I had better get back to reading soon!