Thursday, August 31, 2006

August 2006 books

The Devil Wears Prada
Lauren Weisberger

Great book! Quite different than the movie, so I was glad I saw the it first, then read the book, then saw the movie again. (Which I loved for the second time, it was even better!) So many people say it is based on Anna Wintour at Vogue, but I have no basis for comparison so I'll leave that one to those in know. The Andy Sachs in the book a lot bitchier and vindictive than in the movie. There were more characters who played pivotal roles and I enjoyed reading about them. Miranda was completely over the top. Merryl Streep's Miranda was just that touch softer and more believable. If the book Miranda does exist and it is based on Anna Wintour, I shudder for those who work with her. I'm looking forward to reading Weisberger's next book.

Bag Babies (A Play)
Allan Stratton

Set in the early 90's, this play is a restoration comedy about the nouveau riche and the homeless in Toronto. There are some really interesting devices used her, the rich speak in rhyming couplets, and the poor speak in prose. There is the breaking down of the 4th wall with the poster boy for the homeless, Uncle George, speaking directly to the audience. The poetry is clever and the farce is hilarious, but it is all masking the real problems of poverty and rich guilt. I would love to see it in production to really get a feel for it. I was a teenager in the early 90s (so somewhat self absorbed) but I still remember the economic and social climate. The subject matter is timeless in that all periods witness discrepancy between the rich and the poor but the play itself has somewhat outdated references. I believe that it could be tweaked a little and still draw audiences. I will ask Allan next time I see him if he has heard of any possible revivals for any of his plays. He is really into his novels these days, but there is a possibility.

The Nanny Diaries
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus

I've read a few reviews that have compared this book to The Devil Wears Prada, stating that this book is the superior of the two, based on it's writing. I didn't find that at all. I enjoyed the Nanny Diaries, but mainly for it's depiction of Park Avenue appartments and all other references New York than the daily functions of a Nanny. The kid was funny and Mrs. X was unbelievably insensitive, but it didn't really grab me. The writing was good and I didn't have to fight to get through it, which is why I'm going on to read the duo's next novel, about a recent college grad working at her first entry level job. I just love to read about New York...oh and visit there too!

The Phoenix Lottery - A Play
Allan Stratton

Having already read the novel version of The Phoenix Lottery, it was easy to read the play. It would be interesting to have read or seen the play without the background of the novel though. The lottery's prize is to be the person to torch a priceless Van Gough and the fame and noteriety that come with it. Not to give away too much of the plot, there are ghosts, spirits, a cardinal, a performance artist, a Baffin Island bush pilot, and a rich family. Personally I prefer the novel, simply because the story is more fleshed out. Like any play I read though, I would love to see it in production.

Papers (A Play)
Allan Stratton

Really interesting concept of two brilliant wordsmiths who fall in love but aren't able to communicate that love. They try and try but aren't able to articulate their feeling until it's almost too late. It's also a play within a play within a play which is very cleverly done. Another one I would love to see in production, but that's par for the course.

Lipstick Jungle
Candance Bushnell

Basically, Sex in the City, but the women are in their 40s and have way more money than the SATC girls. It's a good read. I liked her other books, Sex in the City, 4 Blondes, Trading Up and Lipstick Jungle is being made into a television series, so that should be good. I love books about NYC as I've mentioned many times :) so this was a good read.

As a footnote to the post on this book, I just read that they are casting Melissa George (a 30 year old who looks 25!?!) to play Nico O'Neilly, who is supposed to be in her early 40s. Even with Botox and money for anti aging procedures, Nico would NOT look 25. I also read that Candance Bushnell has pulled out (or been dismissed) as the writer and who ever is in charge of the casting is seriously on crack. They have cast another really young man as Mike Harness. I was really hopeful for this series, but if they keep on casting so young, I will be giving it a pass.

Joggers (A Play)
Allan Stratton

Definitely wasn't expecting this one. It's very creepy and plays on your emotional fears just enough to set you on edge, but keep you glued to the page, or if you were in the theatre, on the edge of your seat. Some very disturbing ideas in this one, and there are a lot of inferences to be made. I think it is really well written.

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