So I finally went to see Midnight in Paris last night. Partially to stop hearing gasps from all my friends when I admitted that I had not seen it. They know me well; it was exactly my cup of tea. From the lengthy opening shots of Paris' limitless beautiful monuments and street corners, the stage is set for magic and the movie delivers.
For those who don't know: Gil (Owen Wilson), a Hollywood writer with aspirations to become a novelist, is on vacation in Paris with his soon-to-be in-laws and materialistic fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams). While she shops and hangs on the words of a pedantic old college friend (Michael Sheen), romantic Gil prowls the streets, dreaming of his favorite writers from the 1920s doing the same.
I guess I won't say more in case you haven't heard what happens next (I had) but let's just say that if you enjoy modernist art and literary references, you won't be disappointed (and hey, you read this blog, so signs point to yes on that account!). Readers who don't want to see The Help this weekend should check this one out. Anyone else seen the film?
Here's an interesting idea: Macmillan’s audio division has launched a summer campaign to encourage book clubs to listen to rather than read their picks. Nearly 50 book clubs in 30 states have participated. Per a Macmillan press release:
Reading groups are discovering different ways to fit in their monthly picks: on headphones while exercising, in the car during a long drive or on their daily commutes, or while multi-tasking around the house. Wherever they choose to listen, book clubs will come together with a whole new dynamic to add to the traditional reading group discussion: Did listening add to the experiences of the book? How well did the narrator "fit" the characters' personas?
Does your book club ever make a point to listen to audio books? Does that experience enhance your discussion? Let us know in the comments section.
By the way, in other audio book news, Woody Allen has recorded audio versions of his essay collections, which are now available for purchase on Audible.com and iTunes. Don't think for a second that Allen is much of an audio book spokesperson, though, as he is quoted in the New York Times as saying that he "hated every second" of making voice recordings. (In jest? It's hard to tell with Allen.) "There is no substitute for reading," he said, "and there never will be. Hearing something aloud is its own experience, but it’s hard to beat sitting in bed or in a comfortable chair turning the pages of a book, putting it down, and eagerly awaiting the chance to get back to it."