Some largely unsuccessful Christmas shopping, as should soon become plain….
– Ah, the fine art of convincing yourself that someone on your list would like nothing more than to receive the very item that makes your own materialistic little heart skip a beat. This is all well and good if you come to your senses before presents are exchanged, keep the desired object for yourself (if I must), and venture out again in time to find something more apropos. Or if, like me and Terry, your target’s taste and your own largely converge and you have a track record of successfully exchanging enthusiasms. If you could see at once all of the fabulous presents I’ve ever received from Terry, you would know in a flash who had given them. They positively shout Terry, and by now they whisper Laura too.
– A super-trivial matter, but I do not like movie editions of novels and avoid them whenever possible. I suppose they are good for book sales, and I suppose this is insupportable snobbish purism on my part, but a picture of Nicole Kidman on a book cover, for me, degrades the book’s bookiness. It robs the object of its own integrity, turning it into an advertisement for a separate, and often unrelated and lesser, thing. Yes, I am someone who inordinately prizes books as objects, why do you ask? During the summer I caught the early trailers for the upcoming P.D. James-based Children of Men and picked up a copy in the nick of time–the new editions festooned with Clive Owen’s lovely but transient mug apparently didn’t hit stores until this month. (For the record, I liked what I read of the book, got off track with it, but plan to return to it following more pressing reading projects).
– Thanks to space constraints and uncertain dedication, I’ve never started a DVD library in earnest. But I had a blast last weekend at the local Tower Records going-out-of-business sale. The pickings were slim, but that only served to heighten the fun of painstakingly panning for DVD gold. (I spent all of my allotted time in the movie section, never getting around to scanning the CDs, which were even more deeply discounted.) My efforts didn’t go unrewarded. I gave a happy start when the title of one of my favorite films, Kicking and Screaming, popped out, but of course, alas, it was not the twenty-something-slacker flick but the naught-something-soccer flick that was available. Silly, really, to think I’d find anything from the Criterion Collection here, but hope does spring recklessly. In the next row, however, a single copy of Mr. Jealousy, Noah Baumbach’s follow-up feature to Kicking, as of yet unseen by me, surfaced as if in slight compensation for the false alarm. Don’t worry–I don’t expect it to be good or anything! But I doubt it’s devoid of merit, either, and for only $6 I’ll satisfy a longstanding curiosity. By the end of the hunt, I held five DVDs: Mr. Jealousy, the Robert Towne-directed Tequila Sunrise, John Sayles’s Sunshine State, the 1969 Faulkner-based Reivers, and a favorite from last year, Red Eye. Could the demise of Tower Records mean the (modest, eclectic, uneven) beginning of the movie library I’d previously only desultorily contemplated? People on whose Christmas shopping lists I appear, take note!