(Apologies for the lateness. I had the flu.)
Have you heard there's a big new movie coming out?
I won't go into it too much, because if you have children, or a television, or you're one of the millions who loves the series, or you possess any of the senses, you probably know that The Hunger Games is opening at the end of the week.
Although I had nice things to say about it over the holidays, I'll refrain from discussing it in this Media Monday, lest you suffer from Hunger pangs. Or loss of appetite. Or maybe you don't care either way. This post will remain a Hunger-free Zone.
Still, it's nice to see a book get so much attention. As Young Adult Books Editor at Amazon, Jessica Schein said the other day, "There are books we all love, and books we can't put down, and then there are books that morph into cultural events." Well put, Jessica.
The New York Times takes us to court in this Sunday's Book Review. A review of Dale Carpenter's Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas tells us that "Dale Carpenter’s Flagrant Conduct is a stirring and richly detailed account of Lawrence v. Texas, the momentous 2003 decision that overturned Bowers." The reference is to "Bowers v. Hardwick," a 1986 Supreme Court decision that is largely seen as a key ruling against the privacy of homosexuals. Reviewer David Oshinsky writes that the book "tells the story through the eyes of the major players — the plaintiffs, arresting officers, attorneys, judges and prosecutors — most of whom were interviewed at length. The result is a book that turns conventional wisdom about Lawrence on its head. Indeed, the readers most likely to be surprised by Flagrant Conduct are those who think they already know the basic outlines of the case."
Kevin Boyle calls Raymond Bonner's Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong "mesmerizing," describing first the grizzly 1982 murder that sets up the case, then describing the man who was sentenced to death for the crime, eventually telling us that this capital case, like so many, "was shaped by the fearsome combination of race and class." For years, the case was in and out of court. "Then, in the summer of 1993, [the] file ended up in the hands of Diana Holt, a law student working as an intern for the South Carolina Death Penalty Resource Center. And the case’s trajectory suddenly changed." Boyle that we watch as Holt "peels back the prosecution’s omissions, manipulations and deceits, and tries to uncover what really happened in Dorothy Edwards’s home on that brutal weekend in 1982. It’s a marvelous move: in Holt’s relentless investigation, Bonner has found a way to turn this sad, sordid story into an utterly engrossing true-crime tale."
The Vanishers, our top pick for the March Best Books of the Month graces the Sunday Times this weekend (it seems like this book has been on Media Monday a lot lately, but then again it is one of the best books of the month). The Times says, "The darkly comic world of Heidi Julavits’s latest novel contains warring psychics, missing people who’ve deliberately vanished themselves, twisted avant-garde filmmakers, absent mothers, striving academics, plastic surgery enthusiasts, Sylvia Plath obsessives — and the people who love to hate and pursue all of them. Beneath this hyperactivity, the novel deals, fundamentally, with the “economics of revenge” and a daughter’s search for her mother. It is told in Julavits’s signature style: sharp-eyed, sardonic, hilarious."