Books 6/21/05

I just finished Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope All Story collection, a smorgasborg of stories from the Zoetrope All Story journal, never before printed fiction, and original essays on film. From the introduction (and not because I have an encyclopedic knowledge of Coppola, which I don’t), Coppola created the Zoetrope All Story literary journal to encourage short story writing, and to cultivate short stories that could be turned into films. He has the belief, which I have to agree with, that the short story medium is the easiest to translate to film, because it’s all there- the characters, the set up, the resolution; a whole little world. Novels tend to have too much information, but short stories are just about right.

The stories in this collection are excellent. Standouts include Step Men by Lucia Nevai, a quiet meditation on family and how death brings us together that reminded me of Judd Winick’s beautiful Road Trip; Her New Life by Emily Perkins, which read so much like a film that I could swear I’ve actually seen it; and Fair Warning by Robert Olen Butler, about an auctioneer who finds herself being bid on.

The essays are equally good, David Mamet’s on how the summer blockbuster is like a state fair is especially enlightening.

I’d like to see almost any of the stories in this collection made into films, I’d go see them. And now I’m going to have to start getting Zoetrope All Story. Curse you Francis Ford Coppola!

Current total: 42
Just Finished: Francis Ford Coppola’s Zopetrope All Story edited by Adrienne Broedeur and Samantha Schnee
Next Up: Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor

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