Friday, July 21, 2006

Things to do with the summer's hot reads.

- This week, I read an article that said there's not yet been a breakout hit, top-of-the-bestseller-lists summer beach read yet. Supposedly, booksellers like me are nervous because there's been no next big thing, like last year's HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE or THE HISTORIAN, to whet our appetites for the written word. (Granted, a friend of mine wrote a New York Times bestseller that's outselling John Updike's latest, so I personally think it's been a great summer for books.) Anyway, THE MEMORY KEEPER'S DAUGHTER - which I've not read - is selling consistently, in spite of a plot that sounded to me like an old soap opera. Some people think it might eventually be as big as Sue Monk Kidd's THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES, which I sell all the time to the book club yentas. Of course, my pick for this year's big summer book is Scott Smith's Mexican vacation nightmare novel, THE RUINS, which already has gotten great reviews from Stephen King and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Of course, a rave from the latter usually doesn't signify much ...) I picked it up earlier this week, and I can't wait to jump into it. I hear THE RUINS is the sort of book that grips you and must in one eight-hour sitting. My store keeps selling out of it. Expect big things.

- Now, I didn't like M. Night Shyamalan's last movie, THE VILLAGE. In fact, I fucking hated the damn thing. The only good things to come out of THE VILLAGE were Bryce Dallas Howard and the yearlong argument I had with Chris Brandon over just how much that movie sucked. Hell, I'm still angry about THE VILLAGE's bullshit ending. Today, Shyamalan's follow-up movie, LADY IN THE WATER, hits theaters, and it's apparently based upon a bedtime story he told his daughters. From what I hear, it thankfully doesn't have a twist ending. But I also hear that it sucks. Ba-a-a-ad. Sucks worse than THE VILLAGE. I mean, the fairy tale movie apparently sucks like it's the illegitimate demonspawn of GIGLI and ISHTAR. Over on Ebert's site, the guest critic calls it "a poorly written, stiffly directed, audience-insulting story-without-a-cause." Hell, even the AJC's Eleanor Ringel Gillespie gave it an F. Maybe now Night'll just go away.

- I didn't like Kevin Smith's last movie, either. But I imagine that CLERKS II, which allowed Smith to return to his roots, is a hell of a lot better than JERSEY GIRL.

- MONSTER HOUSE looks entertaining. The preview made me laugh, at least.
- I still haven't seen AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. Every time I could've seen it, I talked my friends into watching THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, which I've now seen three times. Somebody let me know if I'm missing something by skipping the mastery of Al Gore's PowerPoint presentation altogether.
- I feel fat. I need to exercise.
- My friend (or friend-of-a-friend) Erik helped design some of the special effects for MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND. Last month at a wedding, I kept asking him how they managed to throw the live shark through a window in the trailer.

- Lots of people keep asking me to STRANGERS WITH CANDY, but I never watched the show. Would I like it, not knowing much about the show?
- About a half-hour after I arrived in Savannah last week, while Lupo and I were walking his nervous dog Mr. Jones, I tripped over a stick and banged my arm on the sidewalk. I was mostly fine, except for one bleeding scrape on my arm, but Lupo immediately jumped into "nursing mode," led me back to his house, found three bottles of Neosporin and some giant bandages and did his best to patch me up with care. After dressing my wound, Lupo said that reading the MAISIE DOBBS books had helped prepare him for my injuries. I've been walking around all week with this wicked cool bruise on my right arm. The bruise reminds me of when I was a kid, for I was always ridiculously banged up, bruised, covered in poison ivy, bitten, stung, sunburned or otherwise hurt. Thus, by the time I was 7, I avoided going outside at all. Instead of playing in the yard, I sat inside on the couch and memorized the babysitter's TV GUIDE. I wouldn't meet any kids in my neighborhood until my little brother brought them into the house for cookies and Kool-Aid. Sometimes, they'd stare at me from the kitchen while I sat in the dark, watching TV, and ask my brother who I was. Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, my bruise. Anyway, Lupo's excellent at applying bandages. THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: Did you have a good childhood or a bad one? What do you miss most about being a kid? What do you regret doing (or regret not doing) when you were younger? Would you relive your childhood if you could?

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