From the Page to the Screen: Revolutionary Road

Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road is a novel that has been lauded by critics and adored by other writers, but it has not garnered the same attention it deserves from readers. Sure, readers keep discovering Yates, but he doesn’t get the same kind of name recognition as other American writers like John Updike and John Cheever. But finally a film production of Revolutionary Road will be hitting the big screen this December, and it’s already generating Oscar buzz.

Directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty), and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in their first film together since their blockbuster turn in Titanic, Revolutionary Road the film will delve viewers into Yates’ view of 1950s American suburbia: a veritable wasteland where broken dreams are marked with paving stones. Leo and Kate play Frank and April Wheeler, a young couple with two children who yearn for life beyond the confines of their quaint Continue reading “From the Page to the Screen: Revolutionary Road”

Parenting in the Wired Age

Parents today have so many networks and resources available to them. It can be daunting, but it can also be reassuring.

There are so many decisions to make, so many styles to choose from. Do you breastfeed or bottle-feed, or both? What bottles should you use? Cloth or disposable? Co-sleeping or crib? Those first months as a new parent can be so overwhelming. What helped me? Books and blogs.

Reading about how other parents made the decisions they made, how they prepared for birth, grew into their mother or father roles, and what informed their choices around parenting helped me not feel so overwhelmed or alone.

But one thing that I didn’t expect as a new parent was Continue reading “Parenting in the Wired Age”

Too Much Coffee & Lots of Books: Missing the Gilmore Girls

The Fall 2008 TV season has begun, and while there are many new and returning shows that look interesting, all I can think of is how much I miss The Gilmore Girls.

Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, the show centered around the mother-daughter duo of Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and her namesake daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel) in the fictitious Stars Hollow, Connecticut, and ran for seven seasons (2000-2007).  The writing was witty and densely packed with one-liners and countless pop culture and literary references.  Stars Hollow was an idyllic hamlet filled with off-beat, quirky characters that could be charming and exasperating in equal measure. The dialogue was quick and, at times, as biting and razor-sharp as the old screwball comedies of the ’30s.  But the heart of The Gilmore Girls was the relationship between Lorelai, a stylish and scrappy single-mom, and her brainy, bookish daughter, Rory. Much depth and angst was provided by the true Gilmore matriarch, Lorelei’s wealthy, imperial mother, Emily (Kelly Bishop). The acting of Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel and Kelly Bishop was also consistently overlooked (Entertainment Weekly often said they were outright snubbed) when the Golden Globes came around, which is Continue reading “Too Much Coffee & Lots of Books: Missing the Gilmore Girls”

Julia Glass: Book Group Darling

When Julia Glass’ first book, Three Junes, came out in 2002 and won the National Book Award, it became a book group trailblazer. Book groups everywhere rejoiced in a new author of contemporary fiction whose writing was fresh and confident and featured complex, memorable characters. You’d think that would be easy to do, but it isn’t. There is a reason that books like Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake become bestsellers—because readers hunger for the kind of books that sweep them in and give them something to think and talk about.

Julia Glass’s second novel, The Whole World Over, also became a book group staple. Set in New York, it features Greenie, a baker and chef who moves to New Mexico with her son, to cook for a Republican governor; Alan, the psychologist husband Greenie leaves behind; Walter, the gay owner of Continue reading “Julia Glass: Book Group Darling”

Boxed Sets: Finding a Playlist in a Box

While I have an extensive CD library, and spend a fair amount of time and money on music, I generally don’t shell out the cash to buy box sets. But I stop by my local indie music store, Easy Street, fairly often to peruse their shelves to see what’s new.

Not familiar with box sets? They are usually collections of an artist, an era, a genre or of a label’s recordings. They are a great way to revisit or familiarize yourself with bands, musicians or music styles. The box set anthologies out there are like your favorite mix tape (or CD or Playlist, as the case may be)–an assembly of hits and hidden gems that will keep you humming or even singing along American Idol-style in your car or living room.Two of my favorite box sets of late have been Left of the Dial and The Brit Box.

Left of the Dial: Dispatches from the 80’s Underground is a collection of indie college radio hits. It takes me back to my high school years when The Cure, The Smiths and Depeche Mode were always on in heavy rotation. It was a time when I stayed up late to watch 120 Minutes on MTV to see videos from Robyn Hitchock to Julian Cope to New Order. I can relive these days Continue reading “Boxed Sets: Finding a Playlist in a Box”