The Pile-Up

  • I’ve started reading Kevin Starr’s Coast of Dreams (due for publication in September 2004 by Knopf), the latest volume in Starr’s underrated California Dream series. While I remain a fan of Kevin Starr, the big surprise here is not the volume’s 700 page length, but the less scholarly tone than its predecessors. The chapters are surprisingly short and snappy, without the ambition or all-encompassing portraits we’ve come to expect. This time around, Starr’s opted for a more anecdotal flavor. This isn’t as disappointing as it sounds. But given Starr’s ebullience and lifelong devotion to his material, my feeling so far is that the tome could have been more substantial. Perhaps, as Starr suggests himself in the preface, a book chronicling 1990-2003 is a bit premature. Or perhaps Starr’s histories (or any history for that matter) work more effectively when they are removed from present events. I have a few more ideas why, but they will have to wait for my forthcoming review in a few months.
  • Stephen Policoff has weighed in at Mark’s and he has some horror stories about his first novel, Beautiful Somewhere Else.
  • The California Supreme Court has ruled that a teenager’s poem about a shooting at another school was not a crime. The Academy of Arts might want to pay attention to these little things called precedents.
  • The latest literary property to be at risk? John Buchanan’s.
  • Michael Cunningham has gone Hollywood. Not only did he write the film adaptation for A Home at the End of the World, but he’s dyed his hair blond. At 51.
  • It’s subscription-only, but Variety is reporting that Neil Gaiman is in negotiations to make his directorial debut with an adaptation of Death: The High Cost of Living. Gaiman writes, “Well, things are getting closer, and there may well be something that we can announce at San Diego. Or not. (Blinks innocently.)”
  • Turning 30 No Cakewalk for Many Women. It ain’t exactly easy for us dudes either, but we’ve passed the stage of acceptance and we’re well on the way to putting our twenties behind us in a week and a half, thank you very much. Dave Chappelle probably has the most compelling reasons why.
  • And new to the blogroll, Chekhov’s Mistress.