Saturday, March 15, 2008


I have a confession to make...

This week I started reading a book.

Yep. A real book. And it isn't work related! It's not something somebody wants me to adapt. It isn't research for an original script. It doesn't purport to improve my writing, my personality -- or my cat.

It's one of those compilations of bound and covered paper you read -- for pleasure.

Now, those who've been reading this space for a while will recall that I can't recall the last time I read a book. Too much script and proposal writing and reading had just taken over.

It wasn't always that way. I used to read two or three books a week. Most Sundays I'd pick up the NY Times, sift out the "Review of Books" and read it cover to cover, making a list of titles that looked interesting. Then it was off to a book store or library to find one of those titles.

When I moved to LA, I noticed most bookstores had a huge pile of the "Review of Books" at the counter and once asked a clerk how much it dictated what they sold.

"Most of our customers don't buy books." he said, "They just buy that so they can pretend they've read the books."

I soon discovered he wasn't kidding, meeting far too many movie people whose opinion of a particular novel exactly paralleled the NY Times reviews -- right down to a favorite scene or passage.

So, what inspired me to finally read a book?

Actually it was an invitation I received to check out a new website that debuted this week called promises to deliver insight and information on books, writers and the process of writing; including a regular one hour video discussion with several authors on their latest works. And boy does it deliver!

The debut features one of my favorite writers, Richard Price, Academy Award nominee for "The Color of Money", writer of the novels and screenplays of "The Wanderers", "Clockers" and "Freedomland" among others. Price also wrote several episodes of "The Wire" and his new novel LUSH LIFE has just been published.

Listening to Richard Price talk about his work process and why he writes what he writes is nothing short of enthralling.

Joining he and moderator Daniel Menaker (former Editor-in-Chief at Random House) are mystery writer Colin Harrison, deputy editor of Harper's Magazine and the author of BREAK AND ENTER, BODIES ELECTRIC, MANHATTAN NOCTURNE, and AFTERBURN; Susan Choi, winner of the Asian American Literary Award for Fiction for THE FOREIGN STUDENT and 2004 Pulitzer Prize finalist for AMERICAN WOMAN -- and the guy who convinced me to start reading again, newcomer Charles Bock, whose debut novel BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN is a current best seller.

Initially uncomfortable being interviewed, Bock's talents quickly begin to shine through and before the video was done I was checking to see if the "Chapters" up the street had a copy. They did -- and so far my instincts are right. This is a book I can't put down. may just be new the online equivalent of the NY Times "Review of Books". I know it'll be a place I go to find new books and to learn more about their authors and the process that brought the story to life. If you have an hour today, pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit back and click the above link to check it out.

And if you don't have the time or an interest in reading or writing, take two minutes to enjoy Comedian Bill Hicks' take on people who don't read books.

Either way, enjoy your Sunday.


Yaz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark W said...

Mr. Henshaw ... two things ... Keep up the great work , I always look forward to your posts.
Thanks for the reminder on Bill Hicks ... man, is he missed.

Cunningham said...

I'll have the 32oz...I'm trying to cut down.

Brandon Laraby said...

I'd never heard of Bill Hicks until I saw this video - I started poking around the other clips that were attached to it.

Damn! He was one funny man. I'm watching more of his stuff on Youtube right now.

Thanks for the introduction, Jim!

mark w. said...

If you exclude Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor and George Carlin, Bill Hicks was the NUTS in the eighties, as they say.