Art Austin Books Film

media bits, &c.

  1. For a lesson in how to take a perfectly decent series and ruin it in the last installment, see X3. Or, rather, DON’T. Ugh.
  2. Last night we went with some visiting friends to the Paramount Theatre, where we saw The Maltese Falcon. I hadn’t seen it since I was little, and I’d forgotten how funny it is and how purely great Bogart is in it. T. thinks Peter Lorre’s Joel Cairo must have partly inspired Andy Serkis’s Gollum.
  3. I’ve added Perfect Stars to my blogroll, because everyone should appreciate its delightfulness. I like the Dorian Grey and Oscar Wilde strips the best, though they’re all lovely and weird.
  4. Via T.: Cate Blanchett is going to play Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes’s next movie. A Todd Haynes film is probably one of the only things that could lead me to be interested in Bob Dylan — plus, you know, Cate Blanchett.

And finally, a book question: help me list novels set during the Great Depression in the US? So far we’ve come up with books by:

  1. Steinbeck
  2. Faulkner (As I Lay Dying, Snopes trilogy)
  3. Cormac McCarthy, part of the Border trilogy
  4. Philip Roth, The Plot Against America
  5. Frank Norris (whom I’ve never read)
  6. John Dos Passos, maybe? (again, I’ve never read him)

And, in light of my botheration about the NY Times list several weeks ago: can you point me toward any good novels set in the US Depression written by women?


  1. Well, thanks for the link and the kind words about Perfect Stars! If you like Dorian and Oscar, then this is quite the weekend for you, Dorian last Friday, and Oscar on Monday!

  2. UK depression novels by women – ? early Mary McCarthy (and retrospectively The Group, works of Dawn Powell. Idea that Alison Lurie’s Only Children may be set then. Also, walloping great family saga by Rona Jaffe, title of which eludes me, part of which takes place in Depression.

    Am much stronger on UK novels of period!

    Think Norris was an earlier period than 30s.

  3. X3: Completely agreed. I did get to elbow Melissa a few times and whisper, “Big gay love!” but those were pretty much the only redeeming moments.

    Depression book: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. I know there must be more; will ponder.

  4. Newbs: You’re very welcome! And yes, I was delighted to see Oscar today.

    oursin: Many thanks for the UK recs — and I’ll have to check on Frank Norris, as that one was T.’s suggestion and I’m clueless.

    annElise: Harper Lee! Of course. Must admit, shamefacedly, that I’ve never read To Kill a Mockingbird. Will add it to the summer reading list. (And yeah, even the fabulousness of Ian McKellen in the opening scene couldn’t save X3. Sigh.)

  5. Ooops! McCarthy and Powell etc are in fact US writers, but I can provide a few UK ones if required (m and f)

  6. oursin: Ah, I see! US novels are great at the moment, but I may pester you about UK ones later. Thanks again!

    T: Should I read Norris anyway? You’ll have to tell me more about his books.

  7. If memory serves, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand covers that time period, though I wouldn’t call it a Depression Era book per se. Still, might give an interesting outlook if you haven’t read it yet. Also, Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel.

  8. Nephele: Thank you for the titles! I haven’t read Ayn Rand, and everything I know about her writing is absorbed from pop culture and probably wrong, so I ought to check out the book one of these days.

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