This weekend I took in the latest documentary concerning the life of our 16th President. Being raised in the Land of Lincoln of Lincoln I have more than a passing interest in President Lincoln. Despite being such a public man it surprising there are still things unknown about him. There are rumors surrounding his sexual orientation. There is a lively debate as to the roll Lincoln’s opposition to slavery really played in his decision to go to war. Now we have the question of whether or not he did indeed battle the undead and if so when did that battle begin and end.
Ordinarily when I talk about a movie I will warn the reader if I am going to spoil some part of the movie by writing about it. I do so as a courtesy for the benefit of those who have not yet seen the movie. In this case we all have a general idea of the story from history. There are parts of the movie I found I little far fetched. Yes, it seemed odd that Mr. Lincoln survived being hit by a thrown horse in a stampede and survived. Yes, Mr. Lincoln does seem to become a little overly proficient at killing vampires with an axe. However in all presidential documentaries one would expect some level of exaggeration. It is after all the victors of wars who write our history (as is pointed out in The Ruler of Demons). Does it really matter if a young Lincoln could chop down a tree with a single swing of his axe? The story and the lesson maybe more important than the historical accuracy. Besides the tall tale is as American as Paul Bunyun and icecream on apple pie.
It is also interesting that silver is becoming well excepted as a weapon against vampires. I do not remember silver being a weapon in the original Dracula by Bram Stoker (His real first name was Abraham). It is used in this movie as well as a number of other vampire movies. The theory behind silver being a weapon in this movie appears to relate to the story of Judis being paid in silver for the betray of Christ.
I would have liked to see a little more of Lincoln’s life riding the legal circuits practicing law. I would have also liked to see more of his life as a politician. I would expect that the halls of Congress were filled with the undead even in the 1800’s. Yet, the President lived such a rich life that I understand there is not enough time in a move to capture it all.
This was not the best movie of the summer so far. Yet, is was not a bad movie either. The premise may have been more entertaining than the movie itself. In politics I often wonder if given politicians are demons in disguise. Can we truly know whether there are not a few Senators who are not among the undead. It is good to know that one of our greatest presidents could recognize evil and stop it. It is also good to know that a great orator was not just good at talking but good with an Axe.
I like to read but I don’t have enough time to do so as often as I would like. I also enjoy books on compact disc. Since I drive a lot I listen to books as often as I read them. I tend to gravitate towards horror and dark mysteries. In this blog I want to discus some books I have read or listened to recently that are not my regular fare. Maybe the cover caught my attention or I picked something at random from the shelf. Just as a good chef can sometimes make bad food taste wonderfull (how else can you explain escargo) a good writer can make poor subject matter interesting.
One of the best books I have read lately is The Bone Garden by Tess Garritsen. This book takes the reader back and forth from Boston in the 1800’s to modern times. The description of how doctors were trained in a world without antibiotics or x-ray machines was fascinating. The need to steal bodies for medical studies was also creepy and intriguing. The characters were well developed and surprisingly three dimensional. The description took me back to another time. Most books about the past tend to focus on specific historical events so the reader feels they are looking in on a scene from history. This book was far more trans-formative. I have read one other book by Tess Garritsen that I enjoyed but this was far better. This is among the best novels I have read this year in any genre.
The next book I want to talk about is The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin. This book is filled with everything I hate about a book but I still couldn’t put it down. It was also made into a movie that I didn’t see. The book is about a gay author and radio show performer. It concerns his struggle with loosing his boyfriend. He was dating a man with AIDS who left him shortly before the start of the book. The main character Gabriel Noone is struggling with Jess leaving him when a publisher sends him a galley proof of a book by a young boy. The book was about the boy being abused. Mr. Noone contacts the boy and finds comfort and friendship with him over the telephone. Spoiler Alert. It turns out that the boy may indeed not even exist and the whole thing may be a Hoax. Mr. Noone does not come to this conclusion on his own and seems to remain purposefully ignorant to avoid loosing this non-existent relationship.
I tend to avoid stories about AIDS as well as those concerning depressing interpersonal relationships as their main subject matter. Murder and ritual sacrifice are prevalent in Sam Roberts world but not disease and sickness. At least AIDS is no longer the death sentence it once was. I tend to prefer more action and less depressing introspection in my books. Generally books like The Night Listner tend to be as annoying as a friend who wont stop talking about why his girlfriend left him two years ago. Yet rather then wanting to scream “suck it up and get on with your damn life” I found myself intrigued. The main character Mr. Noone did not wallow in self pity but instead seemed to be on a voyage towards self actualization. Although, he never truly reached that goal. There was something poetic about the writing. His use of language was perhaps more interesting than the story itself.
The next book I wanted to talk about is the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series by Stieg Larrson. I am currently reading the last book The Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest. This is more of the type of book I will normally read. I must confess that one problem with reading a book translated from Swedish is remembering the characters and deciphering the names. One good part of this book is realizing that America is not alone in having corrupt law enforcement and government officials. Most people have already read this series, at least most people who intend to. As such I will skip a summery of the plot and simply point out that a find the characters in this series to be interesting. The characters have enough idiosyncrasies to make them seem real. The heroes are far from being generic.
I am looking forward to the summer movie season and intend to blog about my summer movie choices soon. I am particularly interested in seeing if the new Batman and Spiderman live up to the hype. I must admit that I did not enjoy the Avengers as much as everyone else did. I like Joss Whedon and the subject matter but the movie came up a little short for me. I did enjoy the Cabin in the Woods a horror movie he co-wrote that came out earlier in the year more. Perhaps my expectations for the Avengers going into the theater was simply too great.
I also intend to blog about some books with subject matter more similar to my own books. Perhaps I will look at one or two from Camel Press. To paraphrase Forrest Gump “Blogs are like a box of chocolates you never know what you are going to get.”