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Ebert on ... writing

By Asides, Blogging and Literature

Roger Ebert writing about writing (and speaking) at his blog:

The novel [McCarthy’s Suttree] is written entirely with that attention. You haven’t even started it until you’ve started it the second time. After weeks of depression, hopelessness and regret, realizing the operation had failed and I would probably not speak again, after murky medications and no interest in movies, television, books or even the morning paper, it was the bleak, sad Suttree that started me to life again. Spare me happy books that will cheer me up. I was fighting it out with Suttree. I didn’t want a condo in Florida. I wanted a fucking basket of coal.

Is it me or is Ebert writing better than ever?

Update: Posted before I’d read all the comments. Read those too.

The Celluloid Circus

By Cinema, Literature and Reviews
The Celluloid Circus cover   They say to never judge a book by its cover.

In addition to filling for Graeme Tuckett on Nine to Noon whenever he gets a better offer, I’ve been reviewing some books. Last Friday I had the great pleasure of talking to Lynn Freeman about the wonderful history of New Zealand cinema exhibition, “The Celluloid Circus” by Wayne Brittenden.

The RNZ downloads tend to disappear after a week so I’ve taken the liberty of archiving it here. Courtesy of Radio New Zealand:

Celluloid Circus Review — Nine to Noon 14 Nov 2008

It really is a lovely book and I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone with an interest in New Zealand social history (or sitting in rows in the dark).

It's the same wherever you go

By all blacks, Asides, Literature and Sport

It’s the same wherever you go — that desperate search for a pub when the All Blacks are playing. Even if you are Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

We meet the irrepressible Anglican archbishop and Nobel Prize winner Desmond Tutu, stranded in San Francisco and looking for a bar that might broadcast the rugby game … (the 1995 World Cup Final)

[John Carlin’s new book, “Playing the Enemy”, reviewed in the New York Times]

Review: “Two Little Boys” by Duncan Sarkies

By Audio, Literature, Music and Wellington

Two Little Boys cover This morning I hustled across town to Radio NZ House on The Terrace to review Duncan Sarkies’ new novel “Two Little Boys” for Nine to Noon. You can click here (for a week at least) to listen to what Kathryn and I had to say. As is often the case when I’m doing something for the first time (or for the first time in a long time) it was not a 100% satisfactory performance but I’ll let you be the judge. It is a good book, though, and I recommend it to you.

And when you’ve listened to the review (only 6 minutes and 23 seconds, although it felt a lot less…) you can listen here to the song that inspired the title of the book. This version features not only the legendary Rolf Harris (who made it famous) but also Liam O’Maonlai from Hothouse Flowers. This version is from a 1993 ‘Stop the Killing in Northern Ireland’ charity/protest album called Peace Together:
[audio:|titles=Rolf Harris & Liam O’Maonlai — Two Little Boys (mp3)]

As good a description of art as any...

By Asides and Literature

Satirist George Saunders speaking at the Brooklyn Academy of Music back in January:

He aims to “take his reader by the shirt and fling him; you send him 15 feet and you’re done. And I don’t think it’s in your power to control what he’s feeling as he’s flying through the air.” 

I first heard of George Saunders when he was interviewed by Jesse Thorn at The Sound of Young America. I am now on a mission to find and read as much as I can.

[via Gothamist]