1. Mark Haddon, who wrote the appealing autistic detective story The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is in the poetry business now. LitKicks approves of this entirely, although Ranting Ed has found evidence indicating the new book may not be so great. We’ll have to find out for ourselves.
2. I am trying to think of a way to claim that great gangster films are literature, so that I can announce here the sad news that actor Chris Penn was found dead in his Santa Monica home. One news outlet refers to him as Chris Penn, actor in “Footloose”, but he is no such thing; he is Chris Penn, actor in “Reservoir Dogs.” He played the cheerful and chubby son of head gangster Joe, a key role in that film’s brilliant ensemble cast.
Here’s why I think the best gangster films are literature: even though nobody’s done it yet, someday some theatre producer will discover that these films can be reinvented as stage drama. I know it seems impossible to imagine “Reservoir Dogs” without Steve Buscemi or, say, “Dog Day Afternoon” without Al Pacino, but in fact these films had great scripts that enabled these actors to excel, and different actors might be able to discover entirely new interpretations of their characters if anybody were to attempt to produce them on stage. Fifty years from now, somebody will prove me right on this point. Or maybe next week.
3. The Morning News is interviewing Bret Easton Ellis, NPR is interviewing Kurt Vonnegut, Maud Newton is considering Mark Twain and BookForum is unearthing Harold Brodkey. All in all, a good week for stuff.