Friday, January 15, 2010

Pulp Fiction

No, I still have not finished that huge book about the history of Europe after WW II. Yes, I intend to finish it, and yes, it did start to get better (after a long sleepy stretch) when we got to Solidarnosc and the fall of the Wall. But, no I don’t feel required to finish it quick.

So instead, I’ve started inhaling my third page turner in a month. First, I burned through Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister. Which confirmed my thing for bookish babes with something to hide, and which changed up so many times in the last fifty pages that I’m still not sure who killed the big brother or the gangster. Then I polished off Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, otherwise known as the first James Bond book. That included a torture scene which was incomprehensible to me beyond the fact that Bond’s private parts took quite a beating. I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Last night, I went to Vienna’s only late night bookstore (it stays open until 9 pm), and had almost decided to leave sans purchase, when I thought I could at least sit down and look at some picture books. I ended up sitting down with my old friend Stephen King. Got sucked (ouch) into Salem’s Lot, most probably because it starts off with a premise which must be very appealing to me: a man on the run with a child. It totally got me a year ago when I snorted Firestarter (which is much better than the movie) (though George C. Scott as a Native American assassin with a pony tail does have to be seen to be believed.) In Salem’s Lot, the prologue focuses on a man and a boy who is not his son, but then it switches to (I think) their back story. We’ll see.

But even though the legions of movies based on his books mostly all suck, I think Stephen King must be the happiest guy on the planet. He rolls over in bed, and presto-chango, he’s written another best-seller. And when you read it, you can tell he had a ball writing it. He reminds me of something Paul Leary of the Butthole Surfers once told me about their music. He said, ‘Well, our music is like Jiffy Pop—it’s a lot more fun to make than it is to eat.”

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