In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb can forgive

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Can You Ever Forgive Me? comes from a place of understanding and love that few other biopics do, and it makes this difficult character a…

Thumb halloween poster

Halloween

Do you know the biggest sin of the new Halloween? It’s just not scary. And that’s one thing you could never say about the original.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives

Finding Salvation in Sin City

There is a large electric billboard in the Las Vegas airport, right above luggage area 3, which flashes the following messages, one after another:

Live Sharks!

Las Vegas Museum of Natural History!

Hands-on for Kids!

Thus it was with a certain anticipation that I returned to the airport, after three days in the unreal city. I was ready for any strange new sight - but there before me in the terminal was a branch of Waterstone's Booksellers, as reassuring as a village rectory.

In the Vegas airport?

Advertisement

You can spot a Waterstone's at 100 paces. The shelves, painted British Racing Green, reach up to the ceiling, the books are and there are real books on them: a full shelf of poetry, for example, right across from the $1 poker machines.

Most airport bookstores specialize in John Grisham, soft-core porn, crosswords and books that tell you How to Live Forever, Become a Millionaire, and Get Lots of Sex. Waterstone's has the complete poems of John Donne.

It is harder to get me past a bookstore than a drunk past a saloon. I bought Robertson Davies' new novel and a collection of poems by Charles Bukowski. On the flight back to Chicago, rummaging through the bag, I found a copy of something called "Op. Cit.," described as "The Waterstone's Newsletter."

As I read it, my eyes grew wide. This is not your average bookstore newsletter, filled with promotional chatter. It defies convention by daring to tell the truth and have opinions. I was so startled by its contents that I looked again at the cover, to be sure it was not an April Fool's joke. Here is some of what it has to say: "We sell a lot of bad books. And more than likely, you've bought one. . . . This past year's The Bell Curve outdistanced them all: A bad book compounded by bad press. Science aside, The Bell Curve was a fairly boring read." On I Want to Tell You, by O. J. Simpson: "Here's what this bookseller thinks about it: The book is a piece of trash; paying O.J. 1 million bucks to help pay Johnnie Cochran is a sick joke; and Little, Brown, of all people, should know better than to associate themselves with such a sleazy enterprise." Sleaze on the shelves: "Look, we do what we can, but with publishing now substantially in the hands of showbiz slickers, trust us, it's going to get worse."

Elsewhere in "Op. Cit." is a list of what Waterstone's thinks are some of the best books now in the stores. By the time I got to it, I was ready for it.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Netflix’s Terrifying, Moving The Haunting of Hill House is Essential Viewing

A review of Mike Flanagan's new horror series based on the Shirley Jackson novel, The Haunting of Hill House.

Always Leave 'Em Laughing: Peter Bogdanovich on Buster Keaton, superheroes, television, and the effect of time on movies

Peter Bogdanovich, film historian and filmmaker, talks about Buster Keaton, the subject of his new documentary.

Why The Godfather, Part II is the Best of the Trilogy

A look back at one of the best films of all time.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus